Gabon: Raymond Ndong Sima, Opponent of Ali Bongo, Appointed Transitional Prime Minister

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On Thursday, September 7th, General Brice Oligui Nguema, the transitional president of Gabon, appointed Raymond Ndong Sima as the head of government. Ndong Sima, an economist and opponent of President Ali Bongo, assumed the role after Bongo’s ousting by the military just one week before.

At 68 years of age, Raymond Ndong Sima had previously served as Prime Minister under Ali Bongo from 2012 to 2014. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the settlement of salary arrears for civil servants. However, he was dismissed from his position in January 2014. Ndong Sima consistently criticized Ali Bongo’s government for poor governance and even ran against the President in the 2016 and 2023 presidential elections. In the latter election, he initially joined the Alternance 2023 coalition but later withdrew his candidacy in favor of a consensus candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa.

Ultimately, on September 6th, Raymond Ndong Sima resigned from the coalition, citing the “confused situation” within the group. He became a free agent since he was originally an independent candidate. Therefore, his selection by the junta did not come as a surprise.

Raymond Ndong Sima is primarily an economist, hailing from the northern region of the country. He completed part of his education in France before joining the Gabonese Ministry of Economy. Initially a member of the ruling party, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), he later assumed a ministerial role in 2009 as Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.

Break with the PDG in 2015

Two years later, he also secured a seat as a Member of Parliament. Ndong Sima is known for his outspoken nature and readiness to criticize the PDG, leading to his departure from the party in 2015, after which he joined the opposition. Since then, he has been a vocal critic of Ali Bongo’s regime.

In Gabon, General Brice Oligui Nguema, who led the coup on August 30th, just after Ali Bongo’s contested re-election, was sworn in on September 4th as the transitional president. He has not specified the duration of this transitional period but has pledged to hold “free elections” at its conclusion. On Monday, he also announced the formation of a transitional government comprising figures from various political backgrounds.

Soukaina Sghir

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