Senior army officers in Gabon are now authorized to lead a polygamous life in complete peace, in accordance with customary matrimonial practices recognized by the Gabonese Civil Code.
Initially, the Civil Code of 1972 recognized polygamy as a customary matrimonial practice. However, article 40 of Decree No. 1059/PR of 11/24/1976 imposed on soldiers the obligation of monogamous marriage, except with the authorization of the competent authority. Meeting under the chairmanship of President Brice Oligui, the Council of Ministers approved a draft order modifying the Special Status of the military, thus allowing general officers to have several wives. This decision sparked divergent opinions within Gabonese society.
Some consider this a step forward, while others consider it a discriminatory measure. Sidonie Flore Ouwé, former public prosecutor and president of the feminist NGO “Women’s Salon”expresses his indignation at this discrimination, pleading for the democratization of this possibility for all military personnel, and not just generals.
The issue of polygamy and matrimonial rules is complex and often linked to cultural, religious and social aspects. Therefore, debates on these issues may vary depending on society’s values and perspectives.