Gabon Interim PM Raymond Ndong Names New Government

Interim Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima of Gabon announced his new government team on Saturday, including military figures and ex-ministers from the regime of ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, but none of the main opposition figures.

Ndong Sima named a 26-member cabinet two days after General Brice Oligui Nguema, who led the August coup against Bongo, appointed him as head of the transitional government.

Oligui has not specified a timeline for returning to civilian rule.

Ndong Sima, a 68-year-old economist educated in Paris, served as Bongo’s prime minister from 2012 to 2014 before becoming a critic and running against him in the 2016 and 2023 presidential elections.

His appointment, announced on state TV, was made in a decree on Thursday by the new strongman, Oligui, who was sworn in as interim president on Monday.

Ndong Sima had left the main platform of the former political opposition, Alternance 2023, which brought together several opposition leaders behind a common presidential candidate, Albert Ondo Ossa.

Neither Ondo Ossa nor any other leading figures in the coalition, such as Alexandre Barro Chambrier of the Rally for the Fatherland and Modernity (RPM) or Paulette Missambo of the National Union, were named in the new government.

Former National Union member Paul-Marie Gondjout, who left the party in 2022 after internal disputes, was appointed justice minister.

Under the transitional charter, no member of this temporary government will be able to stand in the next presidential election, but there is nothing to prevent Oligui from taking part in that race.

Members of civil society were also named in the government line-up, including economic analyst Mays Mouissi, who becomes the new economy minister.

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Three of the ministers who served under Bongo retain places in government.

Camelia Ntoutoume-Leclercq is retained as education minister. Hermann Immongault, the foreign minister under the previous government, becomes an interior minister, and Raphael Ngazouze, previously in charge of vocational training, takes over the civil service portfolio.