In a twist of fate that could make even the most seasoned globetrotter envious, Gabon’s ex-president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, ousted after a questionable election, has been granted a golden ticket to see the world by the very people who pushed him out of office.
Bongo, who had ruled the nation for an impressive 14 years, found himself confined to his swanky residence following a military coup on August 30. The coup, executed with all the finesse of a magician’s disappearing act, occurred shortly after Bongo’s party declared him the victor in an election that the coup leaders kindly described as “fraudulent.” No rabbits were pulled out of hats, but some votes seemingly vanished into thin air.
But here’s where the plot thickens, and perhaps takes a page from a travel brochure: General Brice Oligui Nguema, the spokesperson for the coup, stepped up to the mic and declared, “He has freedom of movement… and can travel abroad if he wishes.” It’s as though they’re offering him a deluxe vacation package with a “Get Out of Gabon” card.
Bongo, the former ruler who found himself under house arrest quicker than you can say “electoral controversy,” is now being told he can pack his bags, book a flight, and jet off to international destinations of his choosing. It’s almost like he won a contest he never entered, where the grand prize is the chance to see the world, all expenses paid.