Equatorial Guinea president makes son VP
Equatorial Guinea’s veteran ruler, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, on Wednesday named his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang vice president of the tiny oil-rich nation, in charge of defence and security.
Obiang, who seized power in a military coup in 1979 and was re-elected again in April with 93.7% of the vote, promoted the 47-year-old second vice-president by a presidential decree read on state television.
Obiang senior is currently Africa’s longest-serving leader. Teodoro Obiang Nguema junior is wanted in France on suspicion of embezzlement, corruption and stealing public funds.
Obiang Nguema initially took office in a 1979 coup, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then rapidly dispatched before a firing squad.
He has since acted to preempt any new putsch, regularly claiming to have quashed attempted coups and building a fortress state policed by security personnel in every public nook and cranny.
He was reelected earlier in the year for another 7-year term but he said he will not seek a new term after this one.
Questioned by French weekly Jeune Afrique on the recent arrival in Malabo of Zimbabwe soldiers to boost his presidential guard, the head of state said: “My personal security is my business, and on this matter I owe no explanation to anybody. I can recruit who I want.”
Pointing out that most of his personal guard were Israelis, who replaced Moroccans, he said the Zimbabwean detachment would be sent home once the election was over.
If Obiang does complete a fresh seven-year term he will have remained in office longer than any other leader in African history.
But if he changes his mind, he would be looking at setting a new record as the longest-ruling leader anywhere in contemporary history, breaking a 44-year record set by Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, to clock up half a century of undivided rule.