On Tuesday, September 19th, the transitional President of Gabon, General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, made his first official visit to Equatorial Guinea. He met with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema to discuss important matters between the two neighboring countries. This meeting holds great significance, considering the historically variable relations between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea during the previous administration of Ali Bongo.
President Oligui Nguema approached this international trip with a sense of gravity, accompanied by five ministers, his secretary-general, members of his cabinet, and the Senate President. Télesphore Obame Ngom, the presidential spokesperson, stated, “This is a fraternal country.
The Equatorial Guinean President is the elder statesman in the sub-region, and it is essential to pay tribute to him and heed his advice.” He went on to explain that the two heads of state engaged in a one-on-one discussion lasting over an hour, during which the Gabonese general aimed to introduce the new leadership and elucidate the country’s current situation.
This pedagogical approach was deemed necessary as the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), led by Malabo, had suspended Gabon following the recent coup. “We must reassure our partners, provide accurate information, and explain the causes. While there have been other coups in Africa, the Gabonese context is different, and the situation returned to normalcy very swiftly,” noted Télesphore Obame Ngomo. He further conveyed Gabon’s reliance on its neighbor to convey this message within the region and seek the lifting of sanctions.
The selection of Malabo as the inaugural destination holds significance, especially when one considers that both Omar and Ali Bongo had chosen to visit France and China during their respective tenures. “If we decide to govern differently, it is only natural. Some Western countries did not welcome the change in power. Consulting with them as a priority would have been imprudent,” remarked the presidential spokesperson.