Gabon An­nounces New Gov­ern­ment from Mo­rocco Af­ter Failed Coup

THISDAY - - INTERNATIONAL -

Gabon’s prime min­is­ter an­nounced a new gov­ern­ment in a video mes­sage recorded thou­sands of miles away in Mo­rocco, where ail­ing Gabonese Pres­i­dent Ali Bongo is re­cov­er­ing from a stroke.

Re­cently ap­pointed PM Julien Nkoghe Bekale gave de­tails of the reshuf­fle in footage broad­cast late Satur­day on state tele­vi­sion, less than a week af­ter the coun­try foiled an at­tempted coup.

Gabon has been with­out ef­fec­tive gov­ern­ment for months since Bongo suf­fered the stroke in Oc­to­ber dur­ing a visit to Saudi Ara­bia.

A new cabi­net was also an­nounced on Satur­day evening by pres­i­den­tial sec­re­tary JeanYves Teale in an­other video mis­sive recorded in Mo­rocco. No sig­nif­i­cant changes were made to ei­ther the cabi­net or the gov­ern­ment.

Gabon’s con­sti­tu­tion states that min­is­ters must take their vows be­fore the pres­i­dent — but in Bongo’s length­en­ing ab­sence it is un­clear how, when and where the cer­e­mony will take place.

On Mon­day rene­gade sol­diers stormed a state ra­dio sta­tion to call for an up­ris­ing while Bongo was abroad.

Se­cu­rity forces cap­tured the rebel chief and killed two of his men at the broad­cast­ing of­fices in the cap­i­tal Li­bre­ville, restor­ing calm to the city af­ter hours of up­heaval.

How­ever, ques­tions re­main over the bal­ance of power in the West African na­tion where po­lit­i­cal change has been neg­li­gi­ble for more than half a cen­tury.

Brice Lac­cruche Ali­hanga, head of the cabi­net since 2017 who is re­port­edly close to first lady Sylvia Bongo, re­tained his post in the new line-up.

Ali Bongo, 59, is the son of Omar Bongo, who be­came head of state in 1967 and died in June 2009, leav­ing a legacy of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

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