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Forty years and Counting: the Endless Reign of the Obiang Dynasty
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, addresses the 13th plenary meeting of the 68th session of the General Assembly, General Debate

Forty years and Counting: the Endless Reign of the Obiang Dynasty 

Initially hailed as a beacon of hope, Teodoro Obiang oversaw an economic boom thanks to oil and gas reserves, making the nation wealthy per capita. However, critics argue that this wealth hasn’t benefited the population, with widespread poverty and allegations of the ruling family benefiting personally from the nation’s resources. 

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has served as the second President of Equatorial Guinea for over 40 years. Following his 1979 military coup, overthrowing his uncle, President Macías Nguema, he established an undemocratic family rule called the Obiang dynasty. 

He holds the record for the longest-serving president in any country and is currently the second-longest consecutively serving non-royal national leader globally, after Paul Biya in Cameroon. 

President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea faces accusations of authoritarianism, human rights abuses, and corruption. Human rights groups like Amnesty International have condemned his government for suppressing dissent, arbitrary arrests, torture, and limiting freedom of expression, silencing journalists, activists, and opposition figures. Despite these allegations, the Obiang family maintains some international legitimacy due to the nation’s significant oil reserves, which they strategically use to secure alliances and deflect criticism. 

Concerns arise over the succession plan within the Obiang dynasty, with Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue who is the president’s son, and also the Vice President of the country since 2016, being groomed as the heir, raising questions about the perpetuation of an undemocratic family rule. He held various government roles under his father’s regime, starting as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and later becoming “Second Vice-President” responsible for defense and security in May 2012. He was further promoted to First Vice-President in June 2016. 

Equatorial Guinea’s future is uncertain as the Obiang family clings to power despite international calls for reform and an end to corruption. The nation’s wealth remains untapped for its people, highlighting the need for inclusive governance. Whether the Obiang dynasty will prioritize its citizens over self-interest remains uncertain. 

Without meaningful reforms, Equatorial Guinea risks perpetuating a family dynasty that stifles democracy and socio-economic progress. The nation’s fate depends on its citizens and the international community, who must demand accountability and work towards a fairer society.

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