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Gabonese president appoints opposition members in major cabinet reshuffle

The Gabonese government has included two key opposition figures, in cabinet reshuffle, as part of the requirements from the post-election National Dialogue set up by the President Ali Bongo to bring peace to the country.

The move stressed the government’s commitment to inclusive governance and transparency, as the president in August 2015, surrendered his father’s wealth to Charity.

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo pledged to give his share of the inheritance from his father to charity and said his family was also handing over properties including a villa in the capital and two homes in Paris to the state.

Bongo has led the central African oil producer since winning a 2009 election that followed the death of his father, longtime President Omar Bongo.

Meanwhile, the reshuffle, announced on Monday, saw the August 2016 presidential election candidate Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou of the Social Democratic Party as the newly restored Vice President position.

René N’Demezoo Obiang, the former campaign director of embittered opposition leader Jean Ping and now member of the newly formed Democracy Party was appointed President of the Economic and Social Council.

Other opposition appointments include Estelle Ondo as Transport Minister and Patrick Eyogo Edzang as Water and Energy Minister. They are both at odds with their party, the National Union Party.

All the appointed opposition members took part in the National Dialogue which was boycotted by the major opposition parties.

The heavyweights in the previous government retained their positions including Prime Minister Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet, Communication Minister Alain-Claude Bilie-By-Nze, Minister of Presidential Affairs and National Defense Etienne Massard and Minister of Economy, Régis Immongault.

The government is now composed of 38 members from the previous 40. 26 are men and 12 are women. Opposition leader Jean Ping is still contesting the results of 2016 polls which he claimed he won.

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