- An interim ban has been placed on the activities of about 20 non-governmental organisations by the Gabonese government. The ban order was announced after the NGOs were accused of interfering in the country's politics.
Gabonese Minister of Interior, Andre Mba Obame, said the ban would be lifted provided each NGO clearly briefs his office about its function and structure.
Obame asked the NGOs to venture into politics within the framework of political parties rather than doing politics behind the scenes.
But the NGOs, who grind axe with Gabaon government for diverting huge sums of state resources into political campaigns, vowed to file international legal action in protest. They described the government's planned battle to stamp out corruption and effect reforms as mere rhetorics.
The organisations are divided into four umbrella networks addressing problems relating to the environment, poverty, good governance and fight against corruption.
The government's crack down on NGOs followed the 40th anniversary celebration of President Omar Bongo's rule.
Bongo is so far Africa's longest serving leader today. Bongo wants to run the state of affairs of Gabon until his last breathe and had earlier declared his intention to contest the 2012 presidential polls.
He came to power in 1967 after the death of the former Gabonese President Leon Mba and had introduced one party state until 1991. Bongo has since then been winning elections, the last being in November 2005 when he polled over 79% of the votes to begin a fresh seven-year term in office.
Gabonese leader rubbished an earlier media reports that he was on the verge of passing the leadership mantle to one of his ministers to succeed him to the throne.
"There is no heir apparent. Who says that the succession is up for grabs? I will be a candidate in 2012 if God gives me strength," he earlier said.
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