It has been less than a week since the coup in Gabon. The military coup brought an abrupt end to the Bongo family’s 56-year rule. Former President Ali Bongo remains under house arrest. From there, you unwittingly become a star on social media.
Gabon’s ousted president, Ali Bongo, may have never dreamed that he would achieve another goal at the age of 74. When Ali Bongo was placed under house arrest by coup plotters last week during the coup, he addressed a video message to “all his friends around the world” – telling them to “make noise” because of him.
A few hours later, an edited version of Ali Bongo’s desperate call for house arrest was circulated.
Since then, many memes have emerged from it, people are dancing to it on social media and it has been liked thousands of times.
James Brown, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson
The irony of the story is that Ali Bongo actually wanted to become a music star when he was young. Before taking power in Gabon from his father, long-time ruler Omar Bongo, Ali Bongo recorded an album in the 1970s. This was before the presidential family converted to Islam, and Ali Bongo was still performing as a singer under the name Alain Bongo.
“A Brand New Man” album was produced by funk legend manager James Brown. James Brown has previously performed at Father Bongo’s Birthday Concert. But the Bongo family’s love of music did not stop in the 1970s. Ali Bongo’s mother divorced her father Bongo in the 1980s and she became a singer. Ali Bongo’s sister had an affair with reggae star Bob Marley and brought him to Gabon for a concert. In the 1990s, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, paid a visit to the bongos.
A new ruler, old entanglements
But now the Bongo dynasty, which lasted for more than half a century, has ended along with their love of music. In Gabon today there is another person setting the pace. Coup leader General Brice Olige Nguema was sworn in as interim president on Monday. The new ruler welcomed politically persecuted people into exile and prisons, and promised a new constitution and new elections. However, without setting an appointment.
Even if the coup has fueled hope for better times among the Gabonese people, it is questionable whether this will come with interim President Brice Olegy Nguema. The head of the presidential guard had previously ensured the safety of father and son Bongo and had been part of the regime for years. He is said to be related to Ali Bongo. He still has to prove whether General Brice Olégie Nguema will listen to the concerns of the Gabonese people.
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