Sylvia Bongo, the wife of ousted Gabon President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, has on Thursday, October 12, 2023, been imprisoned.
Sylvia, a Franco-Gabonese, who had been under house arrest since late August when the coup in the Central African country took place, would now serve a prison sentence after being charged with embezzling public funds, and money laundering.
The former first lady has been under house arrest in Libreville, Gabon capital since the August 30 coup that ended the Bongo dynasty’s 55-year reign. According to the coup plotters, the former president and his entourage tampered with the election results.
They accuse Sylvia Bongo and her son, Nourredin Bongo Valentin, of influencing the former president, who has yet to fully recover from a devastating stroke in 2018. They claim that for the past five years, the two have ineffectively governed the oil-rich country and have abused public funds.
Aside Sylvia Bongo, below are other former first ladies who got jail terms
Simone Gbagbo: The wife of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, was a well-known political personality in her own right. Her involvement in the Ivorian political environment, however, resulted in her arrest and eventual imprisonment.
She was found guilty of crimes against humanity and consequently sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for her role in the 2010-2011 post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Although, seven years into serving her sentence, she secured presidential amnesty, and was freed in 2018.
Madikizela Mandela: While her husband, former South African president Nelson Mandela was serving his long imprisonment, which was between 1962 and 1990, she faced constant harassment from the government and its security forces for years. She spent months in jail from 1969 to 1970 and lived in internal exile.
During these years, she was involved in social and educational activities, and she became a symbol of the anti-apartheid campaign. Her reputation was, however, tainted in 1988, when she was enmeshed in an assault and kidnapping of four Black teenagers scandal, one of whom was slain by her chief security.
Afro World News