Gabon: on behalf of the father, the son and the coronavirus

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While churches are still closed due to Covid-19 in Gabon, discontent is mounting among believers. And within the clergy.

The ways of the coronavirus are as impenetrable as those of the Lord. Scientific or not, very smart who can say, with certainty, if a second wave of infections will be effective in the countries most affected by the virus and if the continent will still remain largely spared. The most secular do not forget that it was a religious gathering - in the church La Porte ouverte Christian, in Mulhouse, in February - which had tipped France into the pandemic and exported the infection to certain African countries. .

For practicing believers, and especially followers of "charismatic" movements, a place of worship would rather be a breeding ground for healings, echoing the health miracles of Christ ...

In Gabon, this September 26, the Minister of the Interior, Lambert Noël Matha, and his colleague of Health, Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong, nevertheless reaffirmed that there was "no opening of churches planned" on the weekend in question. A direct response to the decision of the Federation of Charismatic, Pentecostal and Revival Churches of Gabon to reopen places of worship from the 27th.

Bishop questioned

The government announcement preceded the apparent overthrow of the Bethsaida Church. Bishop Jean-Baptiste Moulaka will be questioned there this Sunday in front of the faithful who will say that the day's activities were less akin to worship than to a disinfection session ...


As in many countries, the depression linked to the first social distancing measures has given way to some annoyance in Gabon. Like a drop of water that overflows the chalice, the persistence of restrictions feeds a rebellion that would undermine the sacrosanct principle of secularism and therefore the primacy of the laws of the Republic over those of religion.

And the arguments to rain, from the most statistical to the most politicians: the 54 proven Gabonese deaths due to Covid-19 (for around 8 official infections) would not justify such a commotion in the health fight; some provinces no longer have active cases; some positive tests would overestimate the actual activity of the virus; the popular masses would use effective prophylaxis that the "westernized" authorities would snub ...

A hidden political agenda?

Provocative, some say they admit religious distancing, on the condition that vehicles are also prohibited throughout the country, in order to anticipate fatal road accidents. As for the more political who see noon at their militant door, they claim that the gatherings of the ruling party would violate the rule of caution imposed on the churches.

Driven by a hidden political agenda or not, the authorities recall that negotiations on the conditions for the reopening of places of worship continue over the course of health statistics and that "a gradual easing of restrictive measures initiated on June 30 is continuing for all sectors of activity affected ”. And is not the omnipresent God found outside his temples?

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