Equatorial Guinea’s President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema marks 40 years in power. He became the president in August 3, 1979 after dethroning his uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema who was a dictatorship.
Two months after Macias was dethroned he was shot dead, leading to President Obiang’s several death escapes from the hands of coup d‘états while he worked hard and was able to install omnipotent security services under his direct authority.
Obiang has claimed to have stymied at least ten coup attempts or assassinations and, at each attempt, has responded with repression, accusing the army, the opposition or foreign powers alternately.
Recently, he foiled an obscure coup attempt in December 2017, the alleged perpetrators, more than 130 people, including many foreigners, were sentenced in June to prison terms ranging from 3 to 96 years.
The 77 year old leader is mentoring his 51 year old son Teodorin and his current vice president to take over the top job of the small oil state in central Africa.
The 1979 coup was described by the authorities as a “Coup de liberté”.
It will be celebrated on Saturday in three cities across the country, including Bata, the economic capital,
Mongomo, the president’s hometown, and Djibloho, a new city built in the middle of the jungle with petro-dollar money, symbolizing the transformation of this small country, the only Spanish-speaking country on the continent.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema, first leader of a country with few resources and treated with sufficiency by other African presidents, benefited from the discovery of oil in territorial waters in the early 1990s.
The maps are reworked, the country is getting richer, and is among the highest GDP per capita in Africa: $19,513 per capita in 2017, according to a UN report.
But this new wealth has mainly been used to finance pharaonic projects, such as the newly built city “Djibloho” which alone consumed nearly half of the country’s budget in 2016 to the detriment of education or health.
Life expectancy thus stagnates below 60 years in the country.