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Gabon: Rose Christiane Raponda, First Woman Appointed Prime Minister

Rose Christiane Raponda, First Woman Prime Minister in Gabon, front middle, in July 2020

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On July 16, 2020, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda, 56, was appointed as Prime Minister of Gabon by the ailing President Ali Bongo Ondimba. She replaced Julien Nkoghe Bekale, who has stepped down after serving in the post for 18 months. She is the first woman to become the head of government in Gabon.

On  February 12, 2019, after the failed coup of January 2019, Rose Christiane Raponda was appointed Defense Minister of Gabon by president Ali Bongo Ondimba. She replaced Etienne Massard Kabinda Makaga, a relative of Ali Bongo Ondimba, who had held the position since 2016. Since the failed coup, President Ali Bongo has been shuffling his cabinet.

 President Ali Bongo Ondimba has not been seen in public for weeks, fueling the speculation about his deteriorating health. AfroAmerica Network Sources in Gabon said that Ali Bongo Ondimba may be making the appointments from an unknow location, most likely outside the country and may be choosing people who will protect interests of his relatives  and his and his later father Omar Bongo's legacy after him.