• Africa’s longest serving leader President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has garnered 99 percent of the early vote count from last weekend’s elections.

    Equatorial Guinea went to polls on Sunday and already Obiang has received a majority of votes in two most-populous areas, according to preliminary results, the government said.

    This is yet another triumph by yet another African leader not willing to leave power for other people despite protests against their leadership.

    In March, President Yoweri Museveni won elections amid boycotts and is now extending his 30-year rule in Uganda.

    Despite calls for boycott in Equatorial Guinea, the elections went on peacefully, according to reports by Reuters.

    Apart from seeking to extend his 36-year-old rule by seven more years, the leader also ignored electoral rule by failing to remove giant posters, a day before the vote. The posters are still plastered around the capital, Bata.

    Oligarchy Rule

    As if having him as a leader for more than three decades is not enough, the people of Guinea also have to keep up with the same family, the Obiang, in various leadership positions.

    Since 1968 when the country got its independence, the Obiang family has been ruling the country. People under forty years have never known any other leader other than Obiang whose poster goes up with new building projects. Obiang overthrew his uncle in a coup in 1979.

    In 2003, a state radio presenter described him as being “in permanent contact with God”, a leader “who can decide to kill without accounting to anyone and without going to hell”, AFP reported.

    While his leadership has been criticized abroad, the president has close allies and family members who fight for him and his ideologies.

    Commenting on the president’s failure to pull down the campaign posters, Obiang’s campaign manager Prudencia Obiang, who happens to be his niece, said only those who are ungrateful for what the president has done would dare call him a dictator, she was quoted by Voice of America as saying.

    During his campaign, the president went ahead to flaunt his leadership and probably the fact that he would win the elections.

    “I am the candidate of the people. Whoever does not vote for me is rejecting peace and opting for disorder,” Mr Obiang told a scattered crowd at a campaign rally at the Malabo stadium.

    But some young voters are not in support of the leader and are disappointed by the lack of alternatives.

    Speaking to Voice of America, 24-year-old university student Essono Sylvestre wondered why the opposition did not complain of the president’s abuse of the electoral code by distributing campaign material even on the day of the election.

    The president’s niece was quick to say that population backs Obiang adding that most people call him the father of the nation because he is a humble and simple nation builder making his country proud.

    Truth be told, the country boasts the highest GDP per capita in Africa due to its success in oil and natural gas production. On the reverse, however, it ranks low in the United Nations’ 2015 Human Development Index. The country was ranked 138 out of 188 countries in 2015.

    Equatorial Guinea is known for corruption and human rights violations; allegations the government continues to deny. According to critics, oil money is piped to a rich elite while much of the country is stuck in poverty.

    According to Reuters, a 2004 U.S. Senate probe showed millions of dollars channeled by Obiang and relatives into the disgraced Riggs Bank.

    Moreover, Obiang's eldest son, Teodorin, has been accused of corruption and money-laundering in the United States and France.

    Jeffrey Smith an international human rights consultant told Reuters that “the headlines announcing Obiang's re-election were likely written long ago."

    "It was inevitable that the ruling party would maintain power, unfortunately to the detriment of the people who have long suffered under callous dictatorship and devastating poverty."

    As the country waits for the obvious final announcement later today (Thursday, April 28), the citizenry will be stuck in another seven years of dictatorship, and possibly many more years of oligarchy ruling as the 73-year old leader recently elected his son, Teodorin, as vice president and likely his successor.


    Image credit: AFP