After 36 years in office, Equatorial Guinea President wants new 7-year term


Africa’s longest-serving ruler, Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, plans to run for a new seven-year term in the oil-rich country with an abysmal rights record.
73-year-old Nguema, who has spent 36 years in power, Tuesday announced he had won the support of the ruling party to run for a fresh mandate in 2016.
No date has been fix for the election.
His Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) won 99 of 100 parliamentary seats in the last 2008 general elections while Obiang took over 95 percent of the vote in the 2009 presidential poll.
He is one of eight African leaders who have been in office for more than a quarter-century, and one of two to have ruled since 1979 along with Angola’s Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who was elected in September that year.
Obiang overthrew his uncle Macias Nguema on 3 August 1979 in a bloody coup d’état
Speaking during a broadcast on Tuesday, he said that there was “too much delinquency” in the tiny West African state, Obiang said the country would have “to cut the tendons of thieves.”
The government, he added, would hold a referendum on the death penalty due to “international pressure to abolish the death penalty”, but it would be up to “the people to decide.”
Human rights organisations regularly criticise Obiang’s iron-fisted rule. The government has been accused of violently oppressing political opponents, civil organisations and the media. It is also accused of widespread corruption.
The discovery of oil in the 1990s ushered in vast wealth funding lavish purchases by the Obiang family but has not trickled down to the citizens who grapple with low life expectancy, high child mortality rates and little access to basic facilities.
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