GARBON LEADERThe speaker of the senate in Gabon has been sworn in as the country’s interim head of state, following the recent death of President Omar Bongo. Under the constitution, Rose Francine Rogombe, an ally of Mr Bongo, must organise elections within 45 days.

On Thursday, Mr Bongo’s body will be repatriated from Spain where he had been undergoing medical treatment. Access to the internet in the oil-rich nation remains cut off, but the state’s borders have been reopened. Ms Rogombe was sworn in at the International Conference Centre in the capital, Libreville, on Wednesday morning, a day after her appointment was confirmed by the constitutional court.


  • Led Gabon for 42 years
  • Kept close economic and political ties with France
  • Oil money means Gabon officially one of richest countries in Africa
  • His son is defence minister
  • His daughter was his chief of staff
  • He denied corruption charges in French courts
  • Introduced multi-party elections in 1993 – opposition complained they were not fair

“I swear to devote all my strength to the good of the Gabonese people, with the aim of promoting its well-being and protecting it from all harm, to respect and defend the constitution and a state of law, and conscientiously to carry out my duties and to be fair to all,” Ms Rogombe said.

Before she took the oath, a minute’s silence was held in the memory of Mr Bongo, AFP news agency reports. The death of the 73-year-old president, who was Africa’s longest-serving leader, was announced on Monday. The government said Mr Bongo, who had led Gabon since 1967, had died of a heart attack, hours after saying he was alive and well.



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