27 April 2017

Africa: Long-Serving Equatorial Guinea's Nguema Blames Africa's Problems On Disunity, Hails Late Gaddafi

Photo: Stephen Wandera/Daily Monitor
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (R) welcomes President of Equatorial Guinea Mr Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo at State House to inspect a parade Wednesday April 26, 2017.

Entebbe — The Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, said on Wednesday night that the African continent has potential to transform from its current state of hopelessness into a modernized part of the world but disunity among the 55 states was among the key problems limiting its progress.

President Obiang Nguema, who is wrapping up his two day state visit to Uganda today, said the Europeans realised this long time ago and started mobilising themselves into alliances to counter some of their biggest challenges "but you don't see the same in Africa."

"We need to develop the spirit of African solidarity," President Obiang Nguema told journalists at State House, Entebbe.

Although careful not to delve into the dirty African politics, part of which is to blame for the countless problems ravaging the continent, the 75-year-old leader of the oil-rich but impoverished central African nation said "I recall our hero [Muammar] Gaddafi (former Libyan strongman) who used to promote this African solidarity but sadly most countries would not still agree with him."

"The instability Africa is suffering is due to the egoism of each country."

President Obiang Nguema, is currently ranked as the longest serving non-traditional leader in the world with 37 years' rule under his belt.

He assumed power in August 1979 after mounting a coup that toppled his uncle Francisco Macías who was also the country's first president. The latter considered likely to have been a psychopath is regarded as one of post independent Africa's cruellest and corrupt leaders.

However after only a few years in power, President Nguema became a copy and paste of his uncle. His single party government is known for its repressive tendencies, crackdown of opposition, and excessive corruption. According to the IMF, Equatorial Guinea boasts the highest level of per capita income in all sub-Saharan Africa, at $22,300 per year about the same as Portugal but more three-quarters of the population live below the poverty line.

During his visit, he held bilateral talks with President Museveni, according to statement read by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, on several areas of mutual interest between Uganda and Equitorial Guinea among others security, trade, oil and gas, diplomatic cooperation.

The two heads of state agreed to open embassies in Uganda and Equatorial Guinea, respectively to facilitate this cooperation. President Obiang Nguema also revealed that his country will help Uganda in its [ongoing] attempts to fast-track commercial oil production by offering training in related fields.

Last year, the UPDF stealthily deployed contingent of about 150 UPDF troops Equatorial Guinea but which army official defended was to strengthen capacity of the Guinean armed forces. However when asked on Wednesday, President Museveni, was quick to jump onto the question saying the mission is only for "capacity building."

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