Gabon’s President Ali Bongo is recovering well after being hospitalised in Morocco, his prime minister said after the two met in the capital Rabat.
The 59-year-old president, who fell ill on October 24 at an economic forum, arrived in Morocco last week following a month’s treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia for an illness that has not been officially revealed.
“The head of state is doing fairly well, the process of his rehabilitation is evolving very quickly and positively,” Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet said in Libreville late Tuesday.
Ngondet had previously travelled to Morocco accompanied by senior officials to visit Bongo in hospital.
“The head of state is conscious, he recognises who he is speaking to, he can see well, he speaks well, his voice is good,” Ngondet told reporters.
He said the officials were “reassured” following the meeting.
Public television in Gabon late Tuesday broadcast a silent video of the meeting between Bongo, Ngondet, Vice President Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou and the head of the constitutional court, Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo.
The footage follows the release on Monday by Morocco’s royal palace of a handout picture which it said showed Moroccan King Mohamed VI with Bongo at the hospital.
The prime minister’s announcement follows more than a month of speculation over the health of the Gabonese president.
After a long silence, the Gabonese presidency admitted last month that Bongo was “seriously ill” and had undergone surgery.
The lack of official news recalled the secrecy surrounding the death of Bongo’s father Omar Bongo in 2009 after decades at the helm.
Ali Bongo was narrowly re-elected president in 2016 after beating opposition challenger Jean Ping by a few thousand votes following a poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.
Opposition figure Jean Eyeghe Ndong on Wednesday dismissed Ngondet’s assurances, calling for professional medical bulletins on Bongo’s health.
Doctors are “the most appropriate people” to assess the president’s condition, said Ndong, head of the Coalition for the New Republic backing Ping.