Postelection Report: Equatorial Guinea
Presidential Election Results
Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Democratic Party for Equatorial Guinea)
Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (PDGE) 97,1%
Celestino Bonifacio Bacale (Convergence for Social Democracy)
Thedoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (PDGE) 95,37%
Plácido Micó Abogo (CPDS) 3,57%
Archivaldo Montero Bribé (Popular Union of Equatorial Guniea)
Buenaventura Moswi M'Asuma Nsegue (Party of the Social Democratic Coalition) 0,17%
Carmelo Mba Bacale (Popular Action) 0,16%
The latest Presidential elections in Equatorial Guinea echo the previous elections with the incumbent Theodoro Obiang Nguema, of the Democratic Party for Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), dominating the poll. Official results indicate a resounding 95,37% victory for Nguema. Despite this massive margin of victory, it is less than the incumbent President expected, as, prior to the election, he predicted he would win with 97% of the vote. In second place was Plácido Micó Abogo, of the Convergence for Social Democracy Party (CPDS), with 3,57% of the vote.
The Party of the Social Democratic Coalition candidate, Buenaventura Moswi M'Asuma Nsegue achieved 0,17% of the vote, while United Party candidate, Archivaldo Montero Bribé achieved 0,34% of the vote. Both of these candidates are considered to be strong Obiang allies. Carmelo Mba Bacale, of the Popular Action party, boycotted the election days before the poll amid suspicions of fraud and potential irregularities.
Characteristic of Obiang's militaristic regime, military personnel patrolled the streets and were visible in and around various polling stations around the country. Further, international observers had limited access to the process. The only observers that were permitted access to the country were a small contingent of African observers on condition that they followed strict government outlined procedures that severely limited their movement and freedom of speech. Despite the limitations placed on the small observer mission, the African Union, as well as the regional body of the Economic Community of Central African States, declared the election free and transparent.
A number of nongovernmental organisations and activist groups, most notably Human Rights Watch, have been openly critical of the electoral process arguing that Obiang manipulated the procedure in order to guarantee himself another term of office and ensure access to the country's vast oil wealth. Rising opposition to the Obiang government points to the high level of corruption and financial mismanagement of State funds, arguing that high-level politicians are cashing in on the country's mineral wealth while the man in the street suffers as a consequence. Further Abogo, of the CPDS, has accused Nguema of abusing State funds to finance his own campaign. Although the Equatoguinean constitution provides for State funds for party campaigning, Abogo argues that the allocation of these funds was nonproportional relative to the respective parties.
Despite Obiang's rhetoric that the elections were free and fair and conducted in a democratic atmosphere, opposition groups argue that the leader of the ruling party is merely trying to appease the international community and cover up the true nature of the fraudulent process. Without the backing of the international community, the prospect of these opposition groups having the results reviewed remains poor.
With Obiang securing himself a mandate to serve another term, he has promised to invest in policies that promote the wellbeing of the country through the improvement and development of the health and education system, as well as expressing a commitment to human rights. With a history of being one of the most corrupt and oppressive regimes in the world, only time will tell whether there is any substance behind Obiang's words or whether it is merely rhetoric. Critics argue that Obiang has secured himself a longer timeframe to enrich himself and those around him with the spoils of the country's oil wealth.
Equatorial Guinea therefore faces the task of ensuring that the Obiang regime governs in a transparent manner and that the country's wealth is more evenly distributed. Owing to the political dominance of the PDGE, holding it accountable will prove to be a difficult task. The opposition is, therefore, heavily reliant on interest groups and international and regional bodies to enforce any action on the ruling structure. With the international community already recognising the election results, along with an unwillingness to violate the principle of national sovereignty, the reliance on international and regional actors remains questionable.
CNN - President wins controversial Equatorial Guinea vote (December 4, 2009).
Consultancy Intelligence Africa - Postelection Reflection: Equatorial Guinea (December 1, 2009).
Human Rights Watch - Equatorial Guinea: Human Rights Concerns Taint Election (November 25, 2009).
News24 - "Nguema abusing State funds" (November 23, 2009).
News24 - Nguema predicts victory (November 23, 2009).
Polity - Pre-election Report: Equatorial Guinea (November 30, 2009).
Polity - Equatorial Guinea's Obiang expects poll landslide (November 27, 2009).
Polity - Equatorial Guinea incumbent Obiang wins criticised poll (November 30, 2009).