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Theodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Theodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Introduction

About

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is an Equatoguinean politician and former military officer who has held the position of the second president of Equatorial Guinea since August 3, 1979. Born on June 5, 1942, he has the distinction of being the longest-serving president in the world, with a reign that spans several decades.

Obiang's early life was marked by his birth in the town of Acoacán, which is located within the Continental Equatorial Guinea. He was born into a family of the Esangui ethnic clan. His parents, Santiago Nguema Eneme Obama and María Mbasogo Ngui, had emigrated from Gabon to Spanish Guinea to seek better economic opportunities and avoid capitation taxes. Obiang was the third of ten siblings, and after the death of his mother, he and his brothers were raised by his father and his new wife, Carmen Mikue Mbira.

Obiang's educational journey took him to the Cardenal Cisneros School Group in Ebebiyin and later to the La Salle Center in Bata, where he obtained a degree in labor administration. His military career began during Equatorial Guinea's colonial period when he joined the Colonial Guard. He later attended the General Military Academy in Zaragoza, Spain, and achieved the rank of lieutenant.

Obiang's political career took shape under the presidency of his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, who was the country's first president. During this time, Obiang held various positions, including governor of Bioko and leader of the National Guard. He also served as the director of the infamous Black Beach prison, known for its severe treatment of inmates.

In 1979, Obiang led a military coup that ousted his uncle from power, and he assumed control of the country as president and chairman of the Supreme Military Council junta. Although he declared a fresh start from the repressive regime of his uncle, his rule has been marred by allegations of corruption, human rights abuses, and authoritarianism.

Under Obiang's leadership, Equatorial Guinea remained a dominant-party state, with his Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) holding virtually all governing power. The constitution granted him sweeping powers, including the right to rule by decree, effectively making his government a legal dictatorship. Opposition parties were legalized in 1992, but the legislature remained dominated by the PDGE, and there was no substantive opposition to executive decisions.

Internationally, Obiang faced criticism and allegations of corruption. Relations with the United States cooled, and a U.S. embassy was closed in 1996 due to concerns about human rights abuses and other issues. However, following the terrorist attacks in 2001, the United States re-prioritized its dealings with key African states, leading to improved relations.

Obiang's government has been accused of misappropriating the country's significant oil wealth. Although Equatorial Guinea experienced economic growth due to oil discoveries in the 1990s, much of the wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the ruling family, including Obiang himself, who has been listed as one of the world's wealthiest heads of state by Forbes magazine.

His rule has been characterized by allegations of corruption, lack of political freedoms, human rights abuses, and harassment of dissenters. Obiang has faced investigations in France and the United States regarding the alleged misappropriation of state funds for personal gain, including the purchase of private properties.

Obiang's son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, has also faced allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds. Despite these challenges, Obiang has maintained a strong grip on power and resisted calls for greater transparency and political reforms in Equatorial Guinea.


Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teodoro_Obiang_Nguema_Mbasogo

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