Sick Gabonese President Set to Extend Family Rule to 55 years in Third term bid

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has announced his candidacy for re-election in a speech delivered to supporters and broadcast live on his Facebook page. Bongo, who succeeded his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba, after his 41-year rule in 2009, narrowly won the previous election in 2016, defeating rival Jean Ping by a margin of just 5,500 votes. However, Ping alleged electoral fraud.

In 2018, Bongo suffered a stroke, which led to a lengthy period of recovery and raised concerns about his ability to lead the country. The opposition questioned his fitness to govern during his absence. The Bongo family has faced criticism for their long-standing control over Gabon, with opponents branding them a “dynastic power.”

While the opposition has been unable to unite behind a single candidate for the upcoming presidential election, around 15 candidates have announced their intentions to run. In April, the Gabonese parliament amended the constitution, reducing the president’s term from seven to five years. Certain sections of the opposition have criticized these changes, particularly the elimination of the second round of voting, claiming that they were designed to facilitate Bongo’s re-election.

As the election approaches, Gabon is poised for a highly contested political contest with multiple candidates vying for the presidency and concerns surrounding the ruling family’s continued hold on power.