Staying Power

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					                                                                        THEWORLDTODAY.ORG MARCH 2009
                                                                                                                                        PAGE 27
 EQUATORIAL GUINEA
 Adam Roberts, OF THE ECONOMIST, IS AUTHOR OF THE WONGA COUP, PROFILE BOOKS, 2006




Stayıng Power



One night in mid-February, gunfire
erupted at the gates of the presidential
palace in Equatorial Guinea at 3am.
The motives were unclear but there
was speculation about another coup
attempt. Not the news the president
                                                        y                  OU HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT TO TEODORO
                                                                           Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of
                                                                           Equatorial Guinea, for his staying power.
                                                                           This year marks his thirtieth anniversary in
                                                                           power. That is a longer span, by a whisker,
                                                                           than that of his ally, Zimbabwe’s octogenarian
                                                        ruler, President Robert Mugabe. With three decades under his
                                                        belt, Obiang joins the same league as two other long-toothed,
                                                        serving African leaders, Muamarr Qaddafi of Libya and Omar
                                                        Bongo of Gabon. Obiang, a relative youngster at 66, is one of the
wanted as he prepared to celebrate                      longest-serving heads of state on the planet.
                                                            He will mark the occasion in a predictable way. He will
thirty years in power.                                  not dwell on the nature of his predecessor and uncle, the
                                                        first independent leader of the country, in whose government
                                                        he served in senior roles. Macias Nguema, a genocidal
                                                        tyrant, whose mental state has often been questioned,
                                                        oversaw the near-destruction of his country and the murder
                                                        or expulsion of a large proportion of the population. Nor

                                                                                                  A P P H OTO/J OAO H E N R I Q U E S
THEWORLDTODAY.ORG MARCH 2009
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          will Obiang note precisely how he seized power in 1979: a            infrastructure. The island part of the country, Bioko, now has
          military coup followed by a sham trial and the execution             a road network. A new capital, Malabo 2, is being built near
          of Macias by Moroccan mercenaries.                                   the existing one. Most people remain poor and ill-provided
                                                                               for, with limited access to health care and education, but at
                                                                               least some are beginni
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: NOT FREE OR FAIR Instead Obiang will call a presidential election this year, which he will win by a massive margin, claiming another seven-year term. Mann coordinated a complicated assault which involved a planeload of hired guns brought from South Africa, an exiled Equatorial Guinean, Severo Moto, who would have been imposed as president, and the tacit support of various western governments, notably Spain.
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