- At 80, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema is the longest serving president in the world.
- He has been been in power for 43 years and wants another presidential term.
- The US has called for free and fair elections in Equatorial Guinea.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 80, of Equatorial Guinea will seek to extend his presidency to six terms when the country goes to the polls on 20 November.
He is doing this by already closing all land borders shared with Cameroon and Gabon since Monday last week, as the campaign season got underway.
His argument for the move was that he was trying to prevent the infiltration of groups that may try to destabilise his campaign.
His son, chosen successor and vice president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue told journalists that there had been information that there were elements bent on disturbing his father’s stay in power.
Andrès Esono Ondo of the Social Democracy (CPDS) and Monsuy Asumu of the Party of the Democratic Social Coalition are challenging Nguema, whose affiliation, Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), has been in power since 1979 through a coup.
Nguema, the longest-serving leader in the world with 43 years and counting, is in the same league as Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
Both leaders have never been elected with less than 93% of the vote. In 2017, Kagame was re-elected with 99% of the vote, while Nguema registered 93.7% of the vote in 2016.
PDGE is quite dominant in the country, controlling 99 of the 100 seats in the outgoing National Assembly and all 55 seats in the Senate.
Citizens for Innovation (CI) party, the main opposition party in the country, was banned in 2018. Since then it has been operating from exile.
A crackdown on its supporters and suspected officials has been a regular activity for the country’s security forces.
With the election due in just over two weeks, the United States (US) State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US was concerned about the repression of opposition voices.
The United States has been concerned by reports of arrests and harassment of opposition members and civil society, and we urge the government to allow its citizens to freely and confidently express their preferences at the ballot box.
He urged Nguema to honour the country’s international commitments and constitutional principles by supporting a free and fair vote.
According to the World Bank, Equatorial Guinea has the second highest poverty rate in the World with 76.80% of the country’s 1.4 million people living in poverty.
South Sudan has the highest poverty rate at 82.30%.
For this year’s elections, there are 450 000 registered voters.