Teodoro Obiang Nguema is celebrating 40 years in power as president of Equatorial Guinea. This makes him the current longest-serving president in the world.
It is disheartening that the African political class often makes history for the wrong reasons. There is no doubt that he would get a line or two in the Guinness Book of World Records for his current 4 decades rule.
Ruling a country for four decades certainly exposes the kind of man President Obiang Nguema truly is. Could it be that there is no one else fit to rule Equatorial Guinea in 40 years?
As if ruling for 40 years isn’t enough, President Obiang Nguema is believed to be grooming his 51-year-old son Teodorin Nguema to take over as president of the country after him.
Interestingly, Teodorin Nguema, the son of the 77-year-old president is currently the vice president of the country.
One cannot help but wonder what the African Union has been doing all this while. Why will a father and son rule a country as president and vice-president under their noses?
Equatorial Guinea is a small oil state in central Africa, which many publications term poor, but that is not enough excuse. It is wrong to surrender the fate of the entire nation into the hands of one family for almost a hundred years.
This also further exposes the international community that they only take actions in countries where they can loot resources. Should Equatorial Guinea be a country rich in abundant mineral resources, there is no doubt that more attention would have been placed on its affairs.
Sadly, the Nguema family has been ruling the country even before the current president took over power 40 years ago.
Teodoro Obiang came into power on August 3, 1979, he and his officers overthrew his uncle, the dictator Francisco Macias Nguema, who was shot two months later.
Since coming to power, he claims to have foiled at least ten coup attempts or assassinations and, at each attempt, Malabo has accused the army, the opposition or foreign powers alternately.
According to AFP, the latest episode to date, Malabo foiled a coup attempt in December 2017. The alleged perpetrators, more than 130 people, including many foreigners, were sentenced in June to prison terms ranging from 3 to 96 years.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the first leader of a country with few resources and treated with sufficiency by other African presidents, benefited from the discovery of oil in territorial waters in the early 1990s.
The maps are reworked, the country is getting richer, and is among the highest GDP per capita in Africa: $19,513 per capita in 2017, according to a UN report.
But this new wealth has mainly been used to finance pharaonic projects, such as Djibloho’s, which alone consumed nearly half of the country’s budget in 2016 to the detriment of education or health.
Life expectancy thus stagnates below 60 years in the country.
Without surprise, Equatorial Guinea is regularly cited by NGOs as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, preferring to invest in luxury private mansions in Europe.
The president’s son, Teodorin Obiang, appointed vice-president in 2012, was sentenced in 2017 in Paris to three years in prison and a €30 million fine in the “ill-gotten property” case, a decision he appealed.
Header Image Credit: Africanews