| 2 December 2022, Friday |

Equatorial Guinea president to run again to extend 43-year rule

President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest-serving leader, will fight for re-election in November, his party declared on Friday, possibly extending his 43-year reign that began with a coup in 1979.

According to rights groups and international powers, Obiang’s leadership has been distinguished by torture of political opponents, fake elections, and corruption. Obiang disputes the allegations.

Under him, the West African country has become increasingly reclusive and reliant on oil and gas, which provide about three quarters of state revenues. The money lines the pockets of those close to the president while the majority of the nation lives in poverty, rights groups say.

His son, Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, a jet-setter with a love for parties, fast cars, and jewelry, and who was convicted of embezzlement by a French court in 2020, said on Twitter on Friday that his father had been nominated to run again “due to his charisma, leadership and political experience”.

A new term will bring new problems. COVID-19 and a reduction in oil prices hampered the economy, but the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing need for non-Russian oil and gas may assist boost development.

Poverty is still widespread. That was seen last year when a series of explosions at an army barracks leveled a section of the seaside city of Bata, killing around 100 people and prompting a humanitarian response from former colonial power Spain.

  • Reuters