The Vice President of Gabon, Pierre Claver Moussavou has confirmed that President Ali Bongo who has been in hospital since October has suffered a stroke.
The 59-year-old leader left a hospital in Morocco earlier in December and is recovering at a private residence in the capital Rabat after weeks of silence about his condition. VP Moussavou said President Bongo had suffered a cerebrovascular accident or CVA, commonly known as a stroke.
“Nobody should rejoice over the death or illness of another, those who have never known a CVA, pray to God that they never know one. I would not wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemy” Moussavou said in a speech in Franceville in the south of the country.
Lack of official news after President Bongo fell ill at an economic forum in Saudi Arabia on October 24 sparked speculation the Gabonese leader was incapacitated or even dead. The vice-president was part of a delegation of high-ranking officials who visited President Bongo in Morocco, where he stayed in hospital in Riyadh.
The Bongo family has governed the oil-rich equatorial African nation for five decades and long maintained close ties with former colonial master France. Diplomatic ties cooled after Ali Bongo was elected in 2009 following his father’s death and French authorities launched a corruption investigation into the family’s assets.