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Equatorial Guinea: How the opposition wants to end the Obiang dynasty

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Friday, 15 October 2021 17:35, updated on Monday, 25 October 2021 20:21

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, à Paris, en novembre 2019.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Paris, in 2019. © LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

As the ruling party prepares to nominate Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo as its presidential candidate in 2023 (unless his son Teodorin manages to take the reins), exiled opponents are increasing diplomatic pressure. We reveal the details of their strategy. 

This October, presidential challenger Salomon Abeso Ndong and his close collaborators, including Filiberto Ntuhuhu Mabale, have been busy in Paris convincing their diplomatic partners to raise their voices against Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Their target; the next presidential election, scheduled for 2023.

The president of the Opposition Coalition for the Restoration of a Democratic State (CORED) has met twice, including once on October 13, with Christophe Bigot, head of the Africa and Indian Ocean Directorate at the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Ndong reaffirmed to him that CORED will not participate in the electoral process if Obiang or his son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue ‘Teodorín’ attempt to remain in power.

Withdrawal from the race

The ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) is preparing to nominate its candidate for the next presidential election at a congress scheduled for mid-November in Bata. The head of state, who chairs the group, is the natural choice for the moment. Though his son, who is also vice-president, is still hoping to clinch the top position.

If they are to participate in the 2023 elections, CORED, which brings together some 20 parties in exile, demands that both candidates withdraw from the race. Represented in France by Jean-Pierre Spitzer’s law firm, the coalition is also calling for a national dialogue supervised and secured by the UN and a return to the 2009 constitution, which limited the number of presidential terms to two.

General amnesty

Above all, the coalition of opponents is calling for a general amnesty for those in exile. Salomon Abeso Ndong and his secretary general Filiberto Ntuhuhu Mabale were both sentenced to more than sixty years in prison for their participation in an attempted coup in 2017. As for their ally and historical opponent Severo Moto, his sentence exceeds one hundred years.

The leaders of CORED have thus pleaded with French, American and Spanish diplomats, to agree to guarantee the application of the possible amnesty and their safety in case of return to the country. According to our information, they have also contacted the diplomatic services of the European Union for Central Africa, as well as interlocutors within the oil company Total to increase pressure on the Obiangs.

Towards the use of force?

If the Obiangs don’t agree to withdraw from the race, which seems to be a foregone conclusion despite the diplomatic pressure and personal visits to Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo by French, Spanish and American ambassadors, the opponents do not rule out the possibility of using force to overthrow the ruling dynasty.

According to our information, the coalition hopes to mobilise contacts in the army, especially among the middle-ranking officers, and would then count on a ‘’green light’’ from the main Western powers present on Equatorial Guinean soil. The coalition believes it can overthrow the current president’s bodyguards, a force that is largely composed of 3,500 to 4,000 Ugandan, Zimbabwean and Ukrainian mercenaries.

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