Obiang, the world’s longest-standing president, desires to increase his 43-year rule within the oil-rich Central African nation.
On Sunday, Equatorial Guinea will maintain elections wherein the world’s longest-standing president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, will search to increase his 43-year authoritarian rule, marked by alleged rights abuses and corruption.
The West African oil-producing nation of about 1.5 million individuals has had solely two presidents since independence from Spain in 1968; Obiang and his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema who he eliminated in a coup in 1979.
The 80-year-old Obiang, all the time elected with greater than 90 p.c of votes in polls worldwide observers have questioned, is vying for a sixth time period in opposition to two different candidates: Andres Esono Ondo and Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu.
Parliamentary and native elections will probably be held on the identical time.
Oil and gasoline manufacturing accounts for about three-quarters of revenues within the OPEC member state. However output has dwindled in recent times to about 93,000 barrels per day (bpd), from about 160,000 bpd in 2015 as a result of maturing fields.
Though the tiny Gulf of Guinea nation has seen main investments in infrastructure, critics say below Obiang, oil wealth has lined the pockets of his entourage, who flash luxurious life whereas a lot of the inhabitants dwell in poverty.
Obiang can be accused of muzzling dissent and freedom of expression. The federal government has denied the accusations.
Protests are largely forbidden, media is closely managed, and it’s not unusual for political opponents to be arbitrarily arrested and tortured, rights teams say.
Intimidation has elevated within the run-up to the polls, activists say, with authorities concentrating on civil society teams and critics of the regime.
In September, safety forces raided the headquarters of a banned opposition celebration – the one one with a seat in parliament – and detained at the very least 100 of its members.
“On Sunday, individuals will solid the vote the federal government expects them to, since you can’t freely converse up your thoughts in Equatorial Guinea,” human rights activist Tutu Alicante informed Reuters.
“No matter It Takes”
Repression earlier than the vote has offset efforts by Obiang to enhance his picture overseas, the newest seen in a transfer to abolish the dying penalty earlier this 12 months.
“He’s washing his face in entrance of the worldwide neighborhood,” mentioned Amnesty Worldwide’s Senior Campaigner for West Africa Marta Colomer.
Alleged corruption has additionally tainted Obiang’s tenure regardless of a number of pledges to extend transparency.
His son, Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who observers see as a possible successor, was convicted for embezzlement by a French court docket in 2020.
Property that international powers say he purchased with ill-gotten good points embrace a crystal-covered glove worn by Michael Jackson, an armoured Rolls-Royce limousine and a yacht.
Each father and son have constantly denied wrongdoing.
If re-elected, Obiang will face new challenges. The economic system was hit by COVID-19 and though the conflict in Ukraine has boosted demand for non-Russian oil it has additionally introduced a pointy rise in meals costs.
“The opposition doesn’t stand an opportunity,” Alicante mentioned. “He’s going to do no matter it takes to not go away energy.”