Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea, who has been in office for 43 years and is running for a sixth term, announced his candidacy on Thursday.
President Francisco Macias Nguema, who was in charge at the time of independence and whose leadership resulted in a vast exodus and thousands of fatalities, was deposed by Obiang, 80, in 1979. The general elections will take place on November 20.
The president told a rally that his party had chosen him to run “because I am the symbol of peace that reigns in Equatorial Guinea”.
Obiang heads an authoritarian regime in Equatorial Guinea. He has been widely accused of corruption and abuse of power. Under his rule, Equatorial Guinea continues to have one of the worst human rights records in the world.
In marked contrast to the trend toward democracy in most of Africa, Equatorial Guinea is currently a dominant-party state, in which Obiang’s PDGE holds virtually all governing power in the nation and almost all seats in the legislature.
The constitution provides Obiang sweeping powers, including the right to rule by decree, effectively making his government a legal dictatorship. Obiang has placed family members in key government positions.
Obiang, who reportedly favours his son Teodoro Nguema to succeed him, was born in the town of Acoacán (Mongomo district, Wele-Nzas province), belonging to the colony of Spanish Guinea, on the current border with Gabon, within the Continental Equatorial Guinea. Son of the Gabonese Santiago Nguema Eneme Obama and María Mbasogo Ngu.
He was the third of ten brothers, among whom are also the National Security Delegate Armengol Ondo Nguema and former National Defense Minister Antonio Mba Nguema. Obiang’s parents emigrated from Gabon to avoid paying capitation taxes and take advantage of the good economic situation in Spanish Guinea. After the death of María Mbasogo Ngui, Obiang and his brothers were raised by his father and his new wife Carmen Mikue Mbira.