Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Bongo, Omar
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

(El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba)(bông'gō), 1935–2009, Gabonese political leader, president of Gabon (1967–2009), b. Albert-Bernard Bongo. He entered the civil service (1958), became minister of information and tourism in 1966, vice president in 1967, and then succeeded to the presidency. He created a one-party state (1968) and was reelected in 1973, 1979, and 1986. His rule provided stability and attracted foreign investment but also led to corruption, including wealth for the president and his family, and political repression. Protests forced him to reinstate a multiparty system in 1990. Bongo was reelected in 1993 and 1998 in elections generally regarded as unfair by observers; he triumphed over a divided opposition again in 2005. He died in office.

His son, Ali Bongo (Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba), 1959–, b. Alain Bernard Bongo, succeeded him as president in 2009 after an election that the opposition denounced as fraudulent. Ali Bongo served as foreign minister (1989–91) and defense minister (1999–2009) as well as a deputy in the National Assembly before running for president. He was reelected in 2016, and the results were again denounced as rigged by the opposition.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Gabon: Bongo, Omar, and the One-Party State, 1967 to the Present
Encyclopedia of African History

Omar Bongo (b.1935) became president of Gabon on November 28, 1967, following the death of President Léon M'Ba, who had selected him for that...

See more from Credo