In a small African country of approximately 1.5 million people, one man holds the record of the longest-serving president anywhere in the world, excluding monarchs. At 80, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for the past 43 years. Interestingly, he had won another term of seven years after he was declared winner of last week’s election.
“The results of the general election solemnly proclaim His Excellency Obiang Nguema Mbasogo President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for a term of seven years”, Faustino Ndong Esono Eyang, the head of the electoral commission, stated.
Obiang, who has been in power for most of his life, had the support of at least 15 parties, including the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), which is his party.
The ruling party, alongside its coalitions, won all the seats in the country’s senate and all 100 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, which is the country’s lower house.
An election without a known opposition
When elections are done in every country of the world, results are announced for both the winners and the losers. However, the case in Equitorial Guinea is quite different. During the announcement of the election result, the percentages of votes gotten by the country’s opposition parties were not announced. Rather, winners were declared for the various seats and opposition candidates were left to guess how many persons voted for them.
The president was accused of arresting members of opposition parties before last week’s election while other opposition parties formed an alliance with his party. The arrested opposition members were accused of conspiring to commit attacks in the country’s capital of Malabo and its second-largest city Bata.
Despite the unanswered questions regarding the election, Jean Marie Ngondjibanganté, an election observer, said: “The opposition talked about small irregularities, which is what we have seen on the ground. But these irregularities, imperfections, are not such as to mar the overall good conduct of this November 20 election.”
With another term of seven years, Obiang will now remain the country’s leader until he is 87, and by then, he would have ruled the African country for 50 years.
Preparing the heir to the throne
As a prince takes over from a king after his death, so has President Obiang prepared his son to take over from him whenever he is tired of being the country’s president. The current vice president of Equatorial Guinea is Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. He is not just a vice president but also a son of the incumbent president and probable successor.
While announcing the family’s election victory, the Vice president said: “The PDGE wins the presidential, legislative and municipal elections with 94.9% of the validly cast votes. This has been reflected in the final report presented this Saturday by the National Electoral Board.”
Many people in the country believe that Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is being groomed by his father to take over the country’s leadership should anything happen to him in power or if he decides to step down.
A threshold of 93% of valid votes
Apart from being the world’s longest-serving president, Mr Obiang Nguema Mbasogo also holds another record that no other world leader can attempt to break. Should there be a Guinness world record for the president with the highest percentage of votes in any country, he would be the sure recipient as he has never won an election without winning 93% of the valid votes.
For every election he has contested, Obiang’s win is not often the issue but the percentage of votes he gets. It is almost impossible for any leader to win an average of 95% in six elections, but the African man has done it.
Little wonder Dr Joaquinito Maria Alogo de Obono, a citizen of Equatorial Guinea, wrote: “It would be better to continue in power by publishing a simple presidential decree and saving the money spent for elections without mystery: 94.9%… our country is the mockery of the entire world, what a pity.”
Since the country gained its independence from Spain in 1968, it has had only two presidents, the first being an uncle to current president Obiang. Obiang forcefully removed Francisco Macias Nguema in a coup in 1979 and had since remained in power.
Obiang had survived several coup attempts, and for many living in the country, they had known only one president, and the next one they would know would be his son.