Speed Reads

Staying in Power

World's longest-serving president primed to extend authoritarian reign in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Africa's longest-serving ruler and the longest-serving president in world history, was primed Sunday to extend his unprecedented 43-year authoritarian rule, The Associated Press reported. 

While Obiang is running in an election, AP noted that the country's electoral system is not considered free, and Obiang has never gotten less than 90 percent of the vote in his four decades in power. This trend looked likely to continue, and just two opposition candidates ran against Obiang, who was expected to once again win in a landslide. 

Obiang's presidency has been marked by numerous human rights abuses and authoritarian tactics, BBC News reported. This includes reports of torture and forced disappearances of political opponents. Under Obiang's rule, Equatorial Guinea has remained among the poorest countries in the world, though his family is thought to have immense wealth due to the nation's oil reserves. BBC News noted that Obiang's son — who serves as Equatorial Guinea's vice president — has enjoyed a lifestyle of luxury in both the United States and Europe. 

Despite some opposition coalitions standing against Obiang, AP reported that this type of dissidence is rarely tolerated in Equatorial Guinea, and all broadcast media is owned by the state. 

While Obiang has denied these abuses, his family has long been associated with a history of dictatorships in the country. He originally took power in a 1979 coup by overthrowing his uncle, President Fransisco Macías Nguema, who himself is often considered one of the most brutal dictators in world history.