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Gabon ruling party panel urges clarity over hospitalised president

09 November 2018 8:05 AM
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Senior figures in Gabon's ruling party on Thursday called on the government to clarify the condition of President Ali Bongo, whose hospitalisation in Saudi Arabia has fuelled speculation that he is incapacitated.

The consultative committee of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) said clarity was necessary to "reassure the public" at a time "of wild rumours in the media and on social networks."

While insisting that "vacation of power is not on the agenda", the committee warned lack of information could "promote hatred, division and a deteriorating political climate."

Bongo, 59, fell ill on October 24 during a visit to Riyadh to attend an economic forum.

His spokesperson Ike Ngouoni said doctors there had diagnosed him with "severe fatigue" and ordered bed rest.

A foreign source close to the couple told AFP on Wednesday that Bongo had had a stroke.

Lack of official news - along with memories of the secrecy-shrouded demise of Bongo's father, Omar Bongo, who died in office in 2009 after decades at the helm - has set the rumour mill churning at full tilt.

French-born First Lady Sylvia Bongo, meanwhile, said on social media that she and her family were "particularly touched... by the numerous prayers and messages of support."

She also recently swapped her profile photo on social media from a colour portrait to a black and white shot of the couple.


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