How France helped Gabon leader Bongo in 'fake birth certificate' scandal


Gabonese president Ali Bongo is seeking a second term of office in elections due in August in the former French colony, where the economy is bled by rampant corruption, a legacy of his father Omar, for decades a key French ally in Africa. But the legitimacy of Ali Bongo’s rise to power in 2009, and his bid for reelection, is thrown into doubt over suspicion that his birth certificate is a fake, and that he is in fact an adopted Nigerian, for the constitution of Gabon prohibits naturalized citizens from running for the presidency. Mediapart has gained access to a document showing the French presidency has stepped into the controversy to announce the certificate is “authentic”, despite growing evidence to the contrary. Fabrice Arfi reports.

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Gabonese president Ali Bongo came to power in elections held two months after the death of his father Omar Bongo in June 2009 at the age of 73. The vote was marred by fraud allegations and the result was strongly contested by the opposition.