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Gabon Court Rejects Call for Health Check of President

LIBREVILLE, GABON, A Gabonese court has thrown out a bid by opposition activists to force President Ali Bongo Ondimba to have medical checks to see whether he is still fit to rule.

The court in Libreville rejected the request as "inadmissible," according to the ruling seen Saturday by AFP.

Only the government or the two chambers of parliament had the power to go to the Constitutional Court to get a ruling removing the president from power, it said.

But the activists behind the legal bid denounced the ruling.

"This judgment reinforces our doubt about the capacity of Ali Bongo to still carry out his presidential duties," activist Marc Ona, who leads one of the groups behind the bid, said.

Bongo spent five months abroad in Morocco, recovering from a stroke he suffered Oct. 24 while visiting Saudi Arabia.

During that period, he returned to Gabon twice, his long absence stoking concern about a power vacuum. A brief attempted coup by renegade soldiers in January was quickly ended.

But on his return to Gabon at the end of March, some opponents of the president called for a judicial inquiry into his state of health.

Thursday's court decision appears to have blocked that bid.

Ali Bongo has ruled the oil-rich central African country since 2009, following the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who had ruled since 1967.

Source: Voice of America