Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
|“||What right does the opposition have to criticize the actions of a government?||„|
|~ Obiang in a 2006 interview with Der Spiegel.|
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (June 5th, 1942 - ) is the current president of Equatorial Guinea, having first seized power in 1979 after deposing and executing his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema.
Ruling the country as a totalitarian one-party state under the banner of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang's regime has been accused of corruption and human rights abuses and is regarded as one of the worst dictatorships in the world, with some going so far as saying that he is a worse dictator than Robert Mugabe. Since 1991, Obiang authorized the multipartidism. The constitution of Equatorial Guinea was written in his favor to give him indefinite rule, and he instills a substantial cult of personality within the country's media. Many forms of media are subject to heavy censorship, and many political prisoners, mostly political opponents, are either killed or tortured.
Since the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, Obiang has the distinction of being the second-longest current ruling non-royal head of state in the world, behind Paul Biya of Cameroon, and is also the longest-serving president in the history of Africa.
Born into the Esanguii clan in Akoakam, son of Santiago Nguema Eneme and María Mbasogo Ngui. Obiang joined the military during Equatorial Guinea's colonial period and attended the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, Spain. He achieved the rank of lieutenant after his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, was elected the country's first president. Under Macías, Obiang held various positions, including governor of Bioko and leader of the National Guard. He was also head of Black Beach Prison, notorious for severely torturing its inmates.
After Macías ordered the murders of several members of the family they shared, including Obiang's brother, Obiang and others in Macías' inner circle feared the president had become insane. Obiang overthrew his uncle on 3 August 1979 in a bloody coup d'état, and placed him on trial for his actions, including the genocide of the Bubi people, over the previous decade. Macías was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad on 29 September 1979. A new Moroccan presidential guard was required to form the firing squad, because local soldiers feared his alleged magical powers.
Obiang declared that the new government would make a fresh start from Macías' brutal and repressive régime. He granted amnesty to political prisoners, and ended the previous régime's system of forced labor. However, he made virtually no mention of his own role in the atrocities committed under his uncle's rule.
Several opponents have accused him of cannibalism and also has tortured people and lead unlawful killings. He and his family live very rich and lavish lifestyles, hogging massive amounts of money from acts of corruption and allegedly appropriating public funds and oil revenue. Although Equatorial Guinea has among the highest GDP per capita in Africa of around $34,000, many of the country's population lives in extreme poverty due to severe wealth inequality and greed.
In July 2003, state-operated radio declared Obiang "the country's god" with "all power over men and things." It added that the president was "in permanent contact with the Almighty" and "can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell." He personally made similar comments in 1993. Macías had also proclaimed himself a god.
Obiang has encouraged his cult of personality by ensuring that public speeches end in well-wishing for himself rather than for the republic. Many important buildings have a presidential lodge, many towns and cities have streets commemorating Obiang's coup against Macías, and many people wear clothes with his face printed on them.
Like his predecessor and other African dictators such as Idi Amin Dada and Mobutu Sese Seko, Obiang has assigned himself several creative titles. Among them are "gentleman of the great island of Bioko, Annobón and Río Muni." He also refers to himself as "El Jefe" (the boss).
In an October 2012 interview on CNN, Christiane Amanpour asked Obiang whether he would step down at the end of the then-current term (2009–2016) since he had been reelected at least four times in his reign of over thirty years. In his response, Obiang categorically refused to step down at the end of the term despite the term limits in the 2011 constitution.