Gabon’s President Heading to Morocco for Medical Recovery, Spouse Confirms

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo is leaving King Faisal’s hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this Wednesday(Nov. 28) and will head to Morocco for a recovery period, his wife confirmed on Tuesday.

Sylvia Bongo wrote late Tuesday on her Facebook page that her husband’s health had improved significantly and that he would be transferred to a hospital in the Moroccan capital on Wednesday where he would undergo “a period of convalescence and rehabilitation”.

President Bongo, 59, has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia since October 24, but the Gabonese presidency kept a mystery about the exact cause of his illness.

His absence from his country has fueled suspicions and fake news including a death report filed by a Cameroonian media.

The Minister of Communication and government spokesman Guy Bertrand Mapangou was prompt to confirm that Ali Bongo would fly to Rabat Wednesday. “President Ali Bongo will leave Riyadh Wednesday to go to Rabat. This is his will, that of his wife, the government,” he confirmed.

Sylvia Bongo added in her post that the President will take advantage of this brief period of convalescence to recover his full physical abilities and work on the highest priority files.

According to a source at the Presidential palace, Ali Bongo asked the secretary-general of the presidency, his chief of staff, his chief of protocol and the presidential spokesman to join him in Rabat to work on urgent files.

The government, for its part, has said that the convalescence in Morocco will be short because the head of state will resume work very quickly.

Despite Gabon’s vast oil wealth, a third of its citizens live on $1.25 a day or less.

Ali Bongo Ondimba was elected in 2009, just four months after the death of his father. He has maintained his father’s stranglehold on the country’s opposition and the country’s democratic development.

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