By Olive Mukahirwa
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, age 80, has been the president of Equatorial Guinea since August 1979. After 43 years in power, he was just re-elected.
According to Faustino Ndong Esono Ayang, president of the electoral council of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang was elected with 98% of the votes, and represents the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (DPGE) and a coalition of 15 other parties. Ayang also noted that Obiang won all 588 local government seats, all 55 seats in the senate, and all 100 seats in the chamber of deputies.
Andrés Esono Ondó, candidate from Convergence for Social Democracy, an opposition party, earned the second highest number of votes, and Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu of the Social Democratic Coalition Party (PCSD) came in third.
Cheers broke out in the hall where members of Obiang’s party had assembled to receive news of the outcome of the elections. However, others in the capital city of Malabo showed little interest in the announcement, according to Agence France-Presse.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorin, is vice president of Equatorial Guinea, and also the son of the president. Following the announcement of the election outcome, he tweeted his belief that the votes confirmed the supremacy of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea across the country.
Obiang took power in August 1979 in a coup d’état against his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema. Human Rights Watch accused Obiang of corruption and the misappropriation of national resources in August 2019. They also accused him of silencing those who oppose his regime, and of violating human rights.
On December 5, 2022, Obiang met with U.S. Ambassador David Roy Gilmour to discuss issues raised by the recent elections. Some voices from the U.S. had questioned the results of the elections, since no American observers were invited, according to the press service of Equatorial Guinea. However, apparently Obiang told Gilmour that from the beginning of the elections season to the end, there was no dissent and no problems, and none of the defeated candidates had filed a complaint in court.
According to the World Bank, Equatorial Guinea has been the third largest producer of oil in Sub-Saharan Africa since 1990, however despite prodigious natural resources, nearly 80% of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives below the poverty line, according to the Bretton Woods Institute.
Justo Bolekia, a writer and professor at the University of Salamanca told AFP that “the history of Equatorial Guinea has been repeating itself for 43 years and is still going on.”
The oil resources in Equatorial Guinea are managed by soldiers – primarily Israeli – who are loyal to the president, according to Le Monde. The president’s personal security is managed by Zimbabwean and Ugandan soldiers.
Obiang claims to have foiled more than 10 assassination attempts and coups against his government during his 43 years in power.