8, March 2019
The Gabonese presidency has dismissed rumours that the ailing president, Ali Bongo, has been replaced by a clone. Bongo, who is currently recovering in Morocco, has only returned to Gabon twice since he became ill in 2018 whiles on an official trip. On both ‘visits,’ he stayed briefly and flew back to Rabat.
Reports had been festering that the president had recruited a look alike to replace him for months while he received medical attention for a stroke in 2018.
Ike Ngouoni, presidential spokesman said: “The President of the Republic was (t) here in flesh, a number of people saw him. He went around the city. “Some of them were able to approach him, observe him, see him. It is totally a hoax. I admire the level of creativity, especially on the internet and their persistence in these rumours,” he told reporters.
The presidency initially said he had been hospitalized in Riyadh for fatigue. The vice-president admitted at a rally that the president had suffered a stroke weeks later. Since October last year, a section of Gabonese have expressed mixed concerns as to the health situation of their president as it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate rumours and the reality.
In January, a failed coup was attempted in Libreville to denounce the president’s absence and establish a “democratic transition.” Bongo is the second leader having to fight cloned rumours, the first being Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari.