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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LIBREVILLE538 2009-12-09 05:00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Libreville
Cable title:  

GABON: RULING PARTY LOSING GROUND IN OPPOSITION

Tags:   PGOV PREL GB 
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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLC #0538 3430500
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 090500Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1565
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L LIBREVILLE 000538 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR A/C FOR LISA KORTE
INR/B

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL GB
SUBJECT: GABON: RULING PARTY LOSING GROUND IN OPPOSITION
STRONGHOLD

Classified By: Ambassador Eunice Reddick for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY. Gabon's ruling Democratic Party is on the
verge of losing its only toehold in Port Gentil, the
country's second largest commercial center and opposition
stronghold. Port Gentil's current mayor, Andre Jules
Ndjambe, is likely to be ousted in the next week after losing
the confidence of his own party. By all accounts, Ndjame's
failure to demonstrate leadership during the anti-government
rioting following the announcement of the presidential
election results and mismanagement of local issues made his
continued tenure as mayor untenable. Also, following the
death of Omar Bongo who struck a deal with the opposition
that gave Ndjambe the mayor's seat, Port Gentil's opposition
was ready to flex its muscles and call off the deal.
Unfortunately for the ruling party, Ndjambe's successor will
most likely be opposition party leader Maitre Seraphin Ndaot,
who was popular during his previous tenure as mayor.



--------------------------


The Odd Man Out


--------------------------





2. (C) Port Gentil's current mayor, Andre Jules Ndjambe, is
likely to be removed from his position in the next week,
leaving the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) without a
flagbearer in the opposition stronghold and key commercial
center. Ndjambe was never popular due to his PDG links,
questionable tactics that led to his installation, and poor
performance. Moreover, the ruling party gradually withdrew
its support for Ndjambe after he failed to deal effectively
with the deterioration of the security situation during the
post-election violence that occurred in September. Ndjambe
reportedly fled the city during the violence. Embassy
contacts tell us that the PDG is working behind the scenes to
find a way for it to keep some influence in the city despite
the probable loss of the mayor's seat. Opposition members of
the city council have publically announced they will not
support Ndjambe's budget proposals and are unwilling to work
with the mayor on other projects.


3. (C) Ndjambe's potential removal is popular with the people
of Port Gentil where he is widely viewed as incompetent and
corrupt. Under Ndjambe, little has been done to improve the
infrastructure of the city, and social services such as trash
collection have become inconsistent. Ndjambe is also under
investigation for receiving multiple salaries as Mayor.
Ndjambe's improbable rise as a PDG mayor in a town known for
its anti-PDG sentiments is cause for a number of persistent
rumors, particularly that a deal was struck by late President
Omar Bongo with the opposition that gave Ndjambe the mayor's
office. Specifics include that the PDG negotiated and bribed
a number of leading politicians to support Ndjambe's rise and
the ouster of the more popular, then-serving mayor, Maitre
Seraphin Ndaot.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





4. (C) The opposition will undoubtedly savor Ndjambe's
removal, and Ndaot's return could create a popular and
charismatic opposition leader at a time when the opposition
is rudderless. For President Bongo and the PDG, the loss of
Ndjambe's position means that their influence in Port Gentil
and its important economic centers will drastically decrease
and any government initiative in Port Gentil with Ndaot in
power will become significantly more difficult. In effect,
Port Gentil could become an autonomous city, operating in
spite of leadership and funding from Libreville rather than
because of it. President Ali Bongo has not, as far as we can
discern, entered the fray and asserted the kind of
deal-making initiative wielded by his father. END COMMENT.
REDDICK