Ali Bongo Ondimba, born Alain Bernard Bongo on 9 February 1959 in Brazzaville, is a Gabonese politician and the current President of Gabon. He is the son of Omar Bongo, who served as President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. Ali Bongo has been involved in politics for many years and held several key positions before becoming president.
In 1981, Bongo joined the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) and quickly rose through the party ranks. He became a member of the PDG Central Committee in 1983 and joined the PDG Political Bureau in 1984. From 1987 to 1989, he served as the High Personal Representative of the President of the Republic.
In 1989, Bongo was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, succeeding Martin Bongo. He was considered a reformist within the ruling PDG during the early 1990s. In the 1990 parliamentary election, he was elected as a PDG candidate to the National Assembly, representing Haut-Ogooué Province. However, a constitutional amendment in 1991 forced him to leave the government due to the establishment of a minimum age requirement for ministers.
Following his departure from the government, Bongo took up his seat as a Deputy in the National Assembly in 1991. During his tenure, he organized a visit to Gabon by American pop singer Michael Jackson in February 1992. Bongo also held the position of President of the Higher Council of Islamic Affairs of Gabon from 1996.
In January 1999, Bongo was appointed as the Minister of National Defense. He was re-elected to the National Assembly in the December 2001 parliamentary election and promoted to the rank of Minister of State in January 2006 while retaining the defense portfolio.
After the death of his father, Omar Bongo, in June 2009, Ali Bongo emerged as a likely successor. He ran as the candidate of the PDG in the early presidential election held in August 2009. His victory in the election was marred by allegations of fraud and post-election violence. However, the Constitutional Court confirmed his win, and he was sworn in as President on 16 October 2009.
During his presidency, Bongo pledged to fight corruption, promote justice, and work towards the betterment of Gabonese society. However, his rule has faced criticism for alleged human rights violations, irregularities in elections, and corruption within the government. Gabon's economy remains heavily reliant on the export of natural resources, and significant challenges such as high unemployment, limited access to healthcare, and poverty persist.
Bongo's presidency was also marked by a period of uncertainty when he suffered a stroke in October 2018. He was hospitalized and underwent treatment in Riyadh and Rabat. His prolonged absence led to rumors and speculation about his health and raised questions about the legitimacy of his rule. Bongo made a public appearance in August 2019, using a wheelchair, and has continued to carry out his presidential duties.
In January 2019, an attempted coup took place in Gabon by a group of soldiers, but the government successfully regained control. However, some critics have raised doubts about the authenticity of the coup and suggested it was orchestrated to consolidate power.
Ali Bongo has been married twice. His first wife was Sylvia Valentin, whom he married in 1989. His second wife was Inge Lynn Collins Bongo, whom he married in 1994. He has four children, including a daughter named Malika Bongo Ondimba and three sons named Noureddin Bongo Valentin, Jalil Bongo Ondimba.
Date of Birth: 9th February, 1959
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Brazzaville