Equatorial Guinea’s 80-year-old leader Obiang, seeks to extend 43-year rule


Equatorial Guinea president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, will seek to extend his 43-year authoritarian rule, as the country prepares to hold its presidential elections on Sunday.

Parliamentary and local elections will be held at the same time.

The 80-year-old Obiang is vying for a sixth term against two other candidates -Andres Esono Ondo and Buenaventura Monsuy Asumu.

Obiang’s rule has been marked by alleged rights abuses coupled with increased intimidation in the run-up to the polls, with authorities targeting civil society groups and critics of the regime.

Various human rights groups allege that protests are mostly forbidden, media is heavily controlled, and it is not uncommon for political opponents to be arbitrarily arrested and tortured,

Meanwhile, intimidation has increased in the run-up to the polls, activists say, with authorities targeting civil society groups and critics of the regime.

Alleged corruption has also tainted Obiang’s tenure despite several pledges to increase transparency.

Although the tiny Gulf of Guinea nation has seen major investments in infrastructure, critics say under Obiang, oil wealth has lined the pockets of his entourage, while most of the population lives in poverty.

The West African oil-producing nation of about 1.5 million people has had only two presidents since independence from Spain in 1968 – Obiang and his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema whom he ousted in a coup in 1979.

If re-elected, Obiang will face new challenges, with a declining economy hit by COVID-19 and a sharp rise in food prices.

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