Equatorial Guinea’s ruling party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), has re-elected President Teodoro Obiang-Nguema as head of the party for an indefinite term.
This political development means that the 74-year-old leader could potentially become president of the Central African oil-producer for life.
He is one of the continent’s longest-serving leaders having ascended to power in 1979. His political peers are Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso – all three came to power in the same year. Sassou, being the only one who had a 5-year break from the presidency.
PDGE’s founding president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is the president of the PDGE for an indefinite period.
Dos Santos has announced his presidential retirement and that he is not going to be on Angola’s ballot paper in upcoming polls. He, however, remains the leader of the ruling party. Sassou won a new five-year term in March last year and is allowed to contest again after the current term.
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Here are 10 top facts about the man who could potentially be Equatorial Guinean president for life.
1. His full name is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Born June 5, 1942.
2. He has a military background that saw him receive training in Spain having joined the country’s army in the colonial period.
3. His uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, was elected the country’s first president after independence from Spain in 1968.
4. Teodoro deposed his uncle in a bloody coup on August 3, 1979; before taking over the reigns in Malabo.
5. He is the founder of the ruling party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) and has represented it as presidential candidate in all presidential polls – always winning by a landslide. The party was founded in 1986.
“PDGE’s founding president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is the president of the PDGE for an indefinite period,” said Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro, party general secretary confirmed after a party Congress.
6. He ruled the country for three-years before he led a transition into civilian rule under a new constitution. He won his first seven year term in 1982 when he stood as the sole candidate.
7. He has since won landslide reelections in 1989, 1996 (when other contestants were allowed), 2002 (with 98% of votes), 2009 (polling 97%), the most recent reelection was last year where Obiang got 93.7% of the votes. The next poll is due in 2022.
8. Since his assumption of office, the country has had nine Prime Ministers. Teodoro established office of vice-president in 2012. His son, Teodorin Obiang, was appointed second vice-president along with vice-president, Ignacio Milam Tang.
9. He served as President of the African Union (A.U.) for the year 2011. Taking over from ex-Malawian leader, Bingu Wa Mutharika, another ex-leader took over from him, Benin’s Thomas Yayi Boni.
10. The government has been accused severally of abusing the rights of opponents and especially the media. His son faces corruption charges in Paris after a French prosecutor opened a probe into wealth of three African presidential families – Gabon and Congo Republic the other targets.
As president, he promoted his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang to the position of Vice President in charge of defense and security, according to a decree read on state television late last year.
“In accordance with the Basic Law of Equatorial Guinea, I appoint his Excellency Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue Vice President of the Republic,” the decree of President Obiang read.
Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa’s largest oil exporters, but most of its 740,000 inhabitants are said to be living in poverty.