A meeting of Gabon's Court of Appeal to hear a petition over President Ali Bongo Ondimba's fitness to govern after suffering a stroke failed to take place on Monday as scheduled, lawyers said.
Attorneys arriving at the court discovered that all hearings had been postponed until next Monday because "the number of judges is insufficient," said lawyer Anges Kevin Nzigou, representing one of the petitioners.
Days before the appeal, the court's president had been suspended over allowing the Bongo petition to go ahead.
Bongo's health is an acute political issue in the small, oil-rich central African state.
The 60-year-old head of state suffered a stroke last October while visiting Saudi Arabia.
Since then, he has made few appearances and has still not spoken live in public other than a few words made on his return to Libreville in March.
Ten members of Gabon's political opposition, civil society and trade union movement have filed a suit requesting Bongo be assessed to see whether he is medically fit to continue in office.
A lower court dismissed the case in May, saying that only the two houses of parliament, or the Constitutional Court acting at the behest of the government, were empowered to determine whether the president was unfit.
But on August 12, the Court of Appeal said it would hear an appeal by the plaintiffs and set a date for it -- August 26.
Last week, the court's president, Paulette Akolly, was suspended for two months by the ministry of justice, which said she had contravened a decision by the Court of Cassation, the paramount authority in Gabon's judicial system that had been asked to intervene by Bongo's lawyers.
Bongo's attorney, Tony Serge Minko Mi Ndong, said Monday "the Court of Appeal has settled the situation" and "everything is back as it should be."
The hearings that have been pushed back for September 2, "no longer concern us," he said.
In contrast, a campaign group called Appel a Agir (Call to Act), which had launched the drive for a fitness assessment, said in a statement that the hearing was merely "postponed" and should not be affected by Akolly's suspension.
Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who became head of state in 1967 and died in June 2009, leaving a legacy of corruption allegations.
Last week, the authorities ordered a two-month suspension in the accreditation of veteran Radio France Internationale (RFI) journalist Yves-Laurent Goma.
He had reported that Bongo had failed to stand to salute troops during independence day ceremonies in Libreville on August 17.
Gabon's media regulator, the High Authority of Communication (HAC), said his article used "inaccurate information with malicious insinuations... questioning the physical integrity (of Bongo)", and that Bongo had risen during the ceremony "whenever necessary".