Gabon: Insights Arising from the PDG’s Self-Criticism Forum

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The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), formerly in power, continues its process of introspection. On February 23rd and 24th, six months after the coup d’état, it convened a forum for self-criticism and revitalization. Each of the approximately 300 federations was tasked with convening party members to assess the current situation and propose solutions.

On Wednesday, February 28th, local syntheses are being conducted before being transmitted to the provincial level on Thursday. A comprehensive report is expected by March 12th. Meanwhile, initial trends are beginning to surface.

More than half of the approximately 300 federations participated in the forum. “It was an activity aimed at resuming operations after several months of inactivity. So, we are satisfied,” noted a senior official.

In Gabon, some media outlets have labeled the forum a failure. However, one party official attributes this perception to an orchestrated “violent smear campaign” by the opposition. Nevertheless, he acknowledges logistical and resource challenges in mobilizing party members. “Some prefer to wait before openly aligning with the PDG, given the current context,” he observed. A cadre, who opted to maintain a low profile, remarked that the PDG is “far from its former enthusiasm.” “The party is not in great shape,” he added.

Regarding the promised self-criticism, party members purportedly highlighted the absence of democracy and the concentration of power in the hands of a few. They reportedly demanded the abolition of the position of Distinguished Comrade President, held by Ali Bongo at the helm of the party.

A divergence from the era of the former president and certain former officials currently incarcerated, such as his son Noureddin, is being sensed. “That period is viewed as an unfortunate parenthesis. Party members desire a return to the fundamentals and the governance of the Omar Bongo era, whose figure commands unanimous respect,” disclosed a senior official.

However, a full return to favor seems distant. A cadre maintaining a low profile suggests addressing governance, opacity, vision, and financial management issues first, before deciding whether to remain with the PDG.


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