VIDEO of President Ali Bongo of Gabon as he uses a long stick to walk on his first live appearance in public nearly 10 months after suffering a stroke.

Bongo used a long cane to walk as he attended a military parade on Saturday to mark Gabon’s 1960 independence from France.

Speculation about his capacity to rule the small, oil-rich central African country surged after he suffered the stroke while in Saudi Arabia.

Gabon’s presidency said Monday that President Ali Bongo was “firmly in control” of the country after he suffered a stroke 10 months ago that fuelled speculation about his ability to rule.

The opposition has claimed that President Bongo is unfit to lead after the stroke in October, and his every move is now scrutinised for signs of his state of health.

Bongo on wheelchair

Allies: Robert Mugabe, Gabon’s Ali Bongo(R)

Ali Bongo before stroke