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Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during the India Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi, India, Oct. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

Oil Slump Poses New Challenges for Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang Regime

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Africa’s longest-serving head of state, appears poised to formally extend his rule over oil-rich Equatorial Guinea later this year. The septuagenarian strongman has confirmed his intention to run in November’s presidential election, a contest no one expects him to lose, since the political opposition is marginalized and the state is firmly under the control of Obiang and his family.

Though the election results already look certain, volatile energy revenues and Obiang’s ongoing efforts to position his son as the heir apparent threaten to jeopardize the regime’s future stability. The oil slump undermines Obiang’s long-established strategy of using petrodollars to secure greater legitimacy abroad and bolster domestic support. The troubled personal history of his son, Second Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, also known as Teodorin, coupled with Teodorin’s toxic image in the West, has reportedly raised questions among members of the elite in the capital, Malabo, over his fitness to lead. If unfavorable economic conditions persist, the Obiang regime could be riven by internal dissent, as those opposed to Teodorin seek to derail his accession. ...

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