Thursday, April 12, 2007


El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba changed his name from Albert-Bernard Bongo when he converted to Islam.

If you would like to know how to rule a country for decades then you should consult President Omar Bongo of Gabon. Omar Bongo has been president of Gabon for the past 40 years, and was outdone only by Togo’s late President Gnassingbe Eyadema in terms of longevity of leadership. Not even presidents of Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko and Malawi’s Kamuzu Banda, who proclaimed themselves as presidents-for-life, ruled for so long.
At 4’11’ an African Napoleon Bongo became President of Gabon in 1967. He was just 31 and the world’s youngest president at the time. Bongo was born 1935 in Lewai, a town of the Haut-Ogooué province in southeastern Gabon near the border with the Republic of Congo. Lewai was renamed Bongoville in honour of Bongo’s work to develop the town. He went to school in Brazzaville, and received military training in Chad.

Bongo is currently married to Edith Lucie Sassou-Nguesso. She is the daughter of Congolese president Denis Sassou-Nguesso. President Bongo has more than 30 children - though not all of them with his wife.

Bongo the Family Man

The President and his daughter Pascaline in the plane. Pascaline Mferri Bongo Ondimba was born 1956 served as Gabon Foreign Minister previously and is currently director of the presidential cabinet.

Bongo was married to Patience Dabany whom he married when she was 15 years old in the late 1950s. Omar and Patience divorced in 1986. Together they have a son, Alain Bernard Bongo, and daughter Albertine Amissa Bongo. Alain served as Foreign Minister from 1989–1991, becoming Defense Minister in 1999.

Bongo’s political career kicked off after he won the trust of the father of Gabon’s independence, President Leon Mba. He was appointed the director in the president’s office in 1962, when he was only 27 years old. During a military coup attempt in 1964, Mba was kidnapped and Bongo was held in custody in a military camp in Libreville. Both were rescued by French paratroopers. France, which has huge oil interests in Gabon, has always played a key role in the African country’s stability. The renegade soldiers attempted to install a civilian, Jean Hilaire Obame, as president in order to legitimize their actions. He was in office for just two days, before being forced to return power to the Mba. Having remained faithful to Mba when the military tried to seize power, Bongo was rewarded with the vice-presidency in 1967. When Mba died after a short illness in the same year, Bongo was the obvious successor.

President Bongo ruled Gabon over a one-party state for 16 years, until presidential elections were held in 1993 which he won. However successive democratic election in Gabon have been marred by allegations of rigging.

President Bongo and Edith Lucie Bongo Ondimba, First Lady of Gabon dancing

Now in his 70s, Bongo is showing no signs of giving up. Having changed the constitution to allow a president to serve two seven-year terms, Bongo could be in office until 2012.

On the international stage, the Bongo has cultivated an image as a peacemaker, playing a pivotal role in attempts to solve the crises in the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Gabon he is seen as a charismatic and straightforward figure. He is also popular amongst the Gabonese because his reign has guaranteed stability. He regards the principle of keeping the youth happy as sacred. Like a godfather, he uses his own money to solve the problems of those who call on him. In 2000 he put an end to a student strike by providing about $1.35m for the purchase of the computers and books they were demanding.

President George W. Bush welcomes President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon to the Oval Office Wednesday, May 26, 2004. Photo Courtesy of the United States White House

President Bongo is one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world, with this attributed primarily from the benefits of oil revenue and alleged corruption. In 2005, an investigation by the United States Senate Indian Affairs Committee
into fund raising irregularities by lobbyist Jack Abramoff revealed that Abramoff had offered to arrange a meeting between U.S. President George Bush and Bongo for the sum of US$9 million. Though it is unproven as to whether or not the exchange took place, Bush met with Bongo 10 months later in the Oval Office.More Information Click here
Bongo is claimed to have an $800 million palace with a night club, a banquet hall for 3,000 persons, a bathtub large enough to swim several strokes in, and a panel with buttons that can make lights dim, walls recede, rooms turn, etc.

“Where the man does not succeed the woman always ends up succeeding”. Omar Bongo speaking about the Gabonese woman.


Bongo on a Bicycle

"The most powerful State in the world, which up to now was relatively protected from terrorist violence, is no longer an inviolable sanctuary."

"We do not control the trade of our resources, which are an important factor of prosperity for the dominant nations."

"But it is important to observe that when Europe or the United Nations impose sanctions that are supposed to be aimed against a certain regime, usually generally millions of people end up being directly punished."

"The world is now aware that the most unavoidable and most dangerous weapon that exists is the blind decisiveness of a man ready to sacrifice his life for an obscure cause."

"The African Union has to act in order to put an end to armed conflicts that undermine the continent, to fight against the devastation caused by AIDS and other contagious diseases, to promote sustainable development of its member states."

"In spite of our poverty and our economic dependence, we do not have to give in, neither because we are sometimes abandoned nor because of the wish of some nations to impose their economic or political models."

"It is not right to associate the fight against international terrorist networks with an imaginary crusade against Islam."

"Globalization, far from putting an end to power diplomacy between States, has, on the contrary, intensified it."

"I am in favor of complete freedom of information and of free access to the new communication tools, in particular the Internet. "

"Information on the Internet must be as free as in the newspapers."

"I'm not aiming for the Nobel Peace Prize! "

More Information
Omar Bongo Official Site
Omar Bongo Quotes from Brainy Quote


Anonymous said...

What struck me most when I visited Gabon, was the poverty of the country, given it has a population of approximately 1.5 million people, and is oil-rich.

I was unfortunate enough to have to sit through a rambling speech that President Bongo gave, surrounded by his Moroccan personal guard.

If you need to pay foreigners to keep you safe from your own people, its time to move on.

Given his height (or lack of it), is President Bongo a pygmy?

In Tanzania, the derogatory term Bongoland is used to denote a place lacking rationale or reason. Having read the things he's said, like calling AIDS a contagious disease (huh???) I wonder if the term Bongoland was inspired by the man.

Africa's curse is this kind of heartless leadership, vacuuming the wealth of his country for himself and his family. Urrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!

Anonymous said...

this is my country and this idiot couldnt do anything during 41 years with a rich country like gabon he is a real idiot the only thing he can do is stealing the money of the country and teach the governement how to do it too.
always saying we got peace bla bla bla do u think gabon can go to war?? pfff i don t know if we go an army.
he is a idiot i say it.

He is so rich i hope the banks will take his money and send it back to gabon.


Anonymous said...

Mrs. Bongo looks very un-happy.
All African first ladies look very angry and scary with all those ugly hair weaves, skin bleaching and over the top designer clothes.
Is there a pretty first lady in Africa?
If so, where?
Look at the black American actress Taraji Henson or the black American pop star Beyonce, and tell us where does that type of beauty and polish exist with these scary African first ladies??
There's only one African woman that's polished , a natural beauty and visually fit to be a first lady in Africa and her name is Liya Kebede of Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

How tall was him by the way?? He really looks short compared to any other politician he ever met indeed. Maria M.

Anonymous said...

Ah, could see in the text now. It says that Omar Obongo was 4'11", which means 1.49 cm. So was he truly a pygmy?? Maria M.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance has no cure. Calling African women scary and ugly is plain stupid. Have you ever visited any part of Africa to make your ill conceived perception?

Anonymous said...

Bongo is gone haven been the youngest president when he took office and the oldest at the time of his death. Could his unwanted death be an example to those other African President?
If death was to be declared as Presidential elections in Africa,Bongo would have been declared "victorious" thank God it is not the case.

Anonymous said...

Bongo considered amongst the richest presidents in the World even though 1.4 million people he ruled for 41 years lacked a square meal; i see him to have been a wicked devil. if peace had been in Gabon though people were tired of him, they were afraid to go to hell through Bongo. His death is an eye opener to other dictators. Who next?

Zahra Haidari said...

I spent my first 9 years in the country. I was friends and classmates with his daughter Oneida. I was treated like royalty in his 800 million dollar palace. Bongo did quite some business with my Dad. Being a child and one of the most fortunate people in this country, I never realized how poor most of the population really is. Its quite disgusting when reading some of these facts. A country with so much money and potential to do so much, as not reached nearly half the success it should have. The general population is starving and living a life of misery, when foreigners like my family, the pakistani, the arabs, the korean, canadian, french and malaysian own most of the money in this country. We lived lives of luxury. I feel awful that the government has not done enough to take care of their citizens. Having close ties to Bongo's kids, their annual spending was colossal! I may go back and do something about it one day..