M'Ba, Léon lāôN´ əmbä´ [key], 1902–67, Gabonese political leader. He was a member of the dominant Fang ethnic group. When Gabon became a self-governing republic in the French Community (1958), he became (1959) its first prime minister. In 1961 he was elected as the country's first president, was briefly removed by a coup (1964), and then served until his death. Albert-Bernard Bongo was his handpicked successor.
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