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43 years not enough: World's longest-serving Prez, Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, seeks re-election

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaNov 21, 2022 | 15:43

43 years not enough: World's longest-serving Prez, Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, seeks re-election

The laws of the country also make sure that Obiang never gets out of power. (Photo: dailyO)​​​​​​​

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny African country with a population of less than 1.5 million. Its President, the world's longest-serving leader, Teodoro Obiang, has won every single election in the last 43 years overwhelmingly getting more than 90% of votes. Now he is seeking a re-election to extend his tenure.

 

The voting started on Sunday (November 20).

Obiang, 80, appears to be a well-liked ruler. However, the human rights organisations have a different viewpoint. 

 

But, how did he come to power? Obiang seized power from his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema, in a coup in 1979. Since then he has won five consecutive elections. Nguema, whose rule saw thousands of deaths and a mass exodus from Equatorial Guinea, was later executed.

What you sow is what you reap
- Teodoro Obiang

How did he keep his office for this long? The country has a history of what experts call fraudulent elections. The laws of the country also make sure that Obiang never gets out of power. 

  • Opposition candidates have been withdrawing from polls citing fraud and irregularities.
  • Obiang has survived several coup attempts too.   
  • Important political positions are held up by the family members of Obiang. 

What is happening in Equatorial Guinea? According to the UN's Human Rights Watch, Equatorial Guinea is still afflicted by corruption, extreme poverty, and repression under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

The small elite that surrounds the President enjoy extravagant lifestyle made possible by enormous oil earnings, but a sizable percentage of the populace continues to live in poverty.

Misappropriation of public finances, credible claims of high-level corruption, and other grave violations like torture, arbitrary detention, and unfair prosecutions continue to be problems.
- Human Rights Watch

Ironically, the 'Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea'  is the party that Obiang leads.

What is the current situation? Elections are now taking place in the country with Obiang competing against two other candidates. Experts claim that it is very obvious who is going to win.

The two opposing candidates are Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu, who fought in the previous five elections, and Andrés Esono Ondo, an Opposition figure running for the first time.

Photo: A general view of a campaign billboard for Equatorial Guinea President (Photo: AFP)
It is a total fraud, our party would challenge the result in court
- Esono Ondo told Reuters

According to a Canadian news channel, CP24, at a final campaign event in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea, last week, the President shouted to the crowd: "Who's your papa?" He urged voters to keep him in power, warning of the risks of political upheaval.

I am sure that the victory is for PDGE
- Teodoro Obiang, said referring to his party
Last updated: November 21, 2022 | 15:46
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