Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, the Republic has been ruled by three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democraticconstitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. The small population density together with abundant natural resources and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with the highest HDI in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Minkébé National Park is a national park in the extreme northeast of Gabon. It covers an area of 7,570 km². The WWF recognized it as an area needing protection as early as 1989 and has been actively working towards protecting the forest since 1997. The park was established as a provisional reserve in 2000 but the Minkébé National Park itself was officially recognized and established by the Gabonese government in August 2002. It is recognized as a critical site for conservation by the IUCN and has been proposed as a World Heritage Site.
The Fang people once inhabited the Minkébé area but on becoming a protected area the park now has no permanent human population. The name Minkébé derives from the Fang word 'Minkegbe', which means 'valleys' or 'ditches'. Historically, the park was under former French army control in the 1920s.
In 1960, then President M'ba reshuffled the government without consulting Parliament. When Gondjout filed a motion of censure he was charged with attempting a coup d'état and sentenced to two years in prison. Following his release, M'ba appointed him to the largely symbolic post of President of the Economic Council, in part to silence the threat he represented.
Gondjout served as Minister of State during the abortive 1964 Gabon coup d'état but was acquitted of all charges during his subsequent trial. He lived outside public view from his 1966 acquittal to his death on 1 July 1990 and there is little record of his life during this period.