Gabon: Opposition leader refuses post in new cabinet

AP News
Posted: Sep 12, 2015 10:00 AM

LIBREVILLE, Gabon (AP) — A leading opposition politician in Gabon on Saturday refuted a government statement saying he would join the new cabinet, calling instead for the president's ouster.

President Ali Bongo's government announced on Friday that Jean de Dieu Moukagni Iwangou, president of a coalition that has been pressing for a change in leadership after nearly 50 years of rule by the same family, would be the new minister of state for agriculture.

But Moukagni Iwangou said in a Facebook post Saturday that he will not accept the appointment.

"I said no, no, no and no to entering the government," Moukagni Iwangou said later at a press conference. "My refusal must be your refusal to this regime, which has humiliated us and must be removed."

Moukagni Iwangou said in the Facebook post that he would focus instead on ensuring that "inclusive dialogue" takes place before a presidential election expected next year while following French investigations into the Bongo family's assets.

Ali Bongo became president of Gabon in 2009 following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ruled the oil-producing country of about 1.5 million people for more than 40 years.

In 2010, France's highest court authorized a probe into Omar Bongo's assets. Transparency International and Sherpa have accused Omar Bongo and other African heads of state of using their nations' riches to buy property and goods in France while their compatriots remain impoverished.