Sunday, April 24, 2016

Obiang set to become Africa's longest ruler

Africa’s longest-serving ruler, Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, looks set to win a fresh seven-year term. Obiang initially took office in a 1979 coup, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then rapidly dispatched before a firing squad. He has since acted to preempt any new putsch, regularly claiming to have quashed attempted coups and building a fortress state policed by security personnel in every public nook and cranny.

Obiang captured 95% of the vote in last presidential election. The elections have no chance of being free and fair.  The main opposition Progressive Party of Equatorial Guinea is banned and its leader Severo Moto won’t be on the presidential candidate ballot.

For all of the wealth Equatorial Guinea’s natural-resources generates, the country remains one of the world’s poorest with three-quarters of its fewer than 1 million people mired in poverty. The U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 reached a settlement with Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the Equatorial Guinea president’s son who is seen as his potential successor, forcing him to sell a $30 million mansion in Malibu, California, a Ferrari and various items of Michael Jackson memorabilia, that he purchased in the U.S. “with the proceeds of corruption.” It also ordered that certain other assets of his, including a Gulfstream Jet, would be subject to seizure and forfeiture if they are brought into the U.S.

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