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EGYPT: Gabon election sparks further fear of a Mubarak dynasty

September 10, 2009 |  8:13 am


Three months after his father's death, Ali Bongo, the son of Gabon's former president Omar Bongo, beat two opposition candidates to become the West African country's new head of state Saturday.

The idea of a politician succeeding his father as president after a long-term reign sounded very familiar, as well as worrying, to many in Egypt.

With presidential elections looming on the horizon and the meagerness of political opposition before the ruling National Democratic Party, or NDP, many are already concerned that the son of current President Hosni Mubarak, Gamal, who became head of the party's policies committee in 2002, would take his father's post in 2011.

Gabon's dynasty experience has been mentioned by a number of columnists, who publicly wondered over the last few days about Egypt's future after Mubarak. 

Al Destour chief editor Ibrahim Eissa wrote that Gamal Mubarak's biggest dream would be if the "Gabon experience" of electoral succession repeats in Egypt.

Eissa said that unlike what happened for Bongo, any successful takeover by Gamal Mubarak would only come to pass during his father's life, as the younger Mubarak can lose most of the support he has in and outside the party upon the president's death.

Fahmi Howeidy, of Al Shorouk, sarcastically wrote that Egypt should have been paid royalties for the Gabonese political script, stressing that preparing for a succession is something the Egyptian regime invented a few years back before Omar Bongo came up with plans for his son.

Both Eissa and Howeidy agreed that similar to elections in Gabon, the Egyptian government is already putting in place a number of "fake" opposition figures who would easily lose to Gamal Mubarak when elections take place.

Another writer, Ahmed Atta, speculated about succession becoming a general trend in Africa, noting that Laurent Kabila Jr. and Faure Gnassingbe came to power in the Democractic Republic of Congo and Togo, respectively, in the same manner as Bongo.

Atta said that like Gamal Mubarak, presidential sons Karim Wad of Senegal and Saif Al Islam Moammar Kadafi in Libya are all tipped to become their countries' next leaders.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Gamal Mubarak. Credit: Agence France-Presse