Guinea opposition: Referendum win a sham

2011-11-14 16:26
Libreville - Equatorial Guinea's small but vocal opposition on Monday ridiculed official results of a referendum showing 99% of voters approved President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's new constitution.

The oil-rich west African country voted on Sunday on a constitutional reform that caps presidential terms but could allow Africa's longest-serving leader to cling on for years whilst grooming his controversial son for succession.

With 60% of votes counted, "99.04% voted yes and 0.96% no," Information Minister and government spokesperson Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro announced overnight, adding that definitive results were expected on Wednesday.

Equatorial Guinea was long seen as one of Africa's most brutal and corrupt regimes but Obiang, now at the helm of sub-Saharan Africa's third oil producer, has embarked on a charm offensive to improve his image.

The proposed constitution limits presidential terms to two seven-year mandates but does not specify how Obiang himself, whose current tenure ends in 2016, will be affected.

It also creates a post of vice-president, a move the opposition and observers see as the first step towards handing power over to the president's big-spending playboy son Teodoro Obiang Mangue.

"It is a completely irrational dictatorship. Results topping 90% are the sign of a totalitarian regime. These results are fraudulent and have been fabricated," the country's only opposition lawmaker Placido Mico told AFP by phone from Malabo.

Daniel Dario Martinez, who heads Equatorial Guinea's other opposition party, was equally dismissive of the results.


"These results are false... There was no election here. He [Obiang] wants to move his son into the presidency, everybody knows that, and that's what this reform is about," he said.

The first son, nicknamed Teodorin, is reviled by many for his lavish lifestyle. He is best known for his love of sports cars and champagne and his $31m home in Malibu, California.

Mico on Sunday pulled his agents out of polling stations, citing widespread irregularities and the intimidation of his supporters.

A young supporter of his party "was threatened with being tortured by a colonel" at a polling station in the capital Malabo, he said, adding that votesr were facing pressure across the country and predicting a low turnout.

About 300 000 Equatorial Guineans were eligible to vote.

Osa Osa Ecoro said the vote passed off peacefully and said the outcome "was a good thing for Equatorial Guinea. It is a project for the political, economic, social and cultural future. The people are delighted."

Obiang, 69, is serving his fourth seven-year term since he seized power in a 1979 coup, usurping his notoriously ruthless uncle Francisco Macias Nguema who was executed by firing squad.

In much criticised elections in 2009, Obiang received 95.37% of the vote and in 2002, 97.1%.

He organised the referendum because he "wants his country, long ignored or despised, to acquire a diplomatic status that matches its new financial weight," said a diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Infrastructure projects

The regime says the new constitution would also impose more checks and balances on the executive, improve the judicial system and ensure better protection of civil rights.

But opposition leader Mico criticised a lack of consultation ahead of the vote.

"No one has seen the text, not the cabinet or any official body," he said. "We are submitting a text to a referendum that no one has seen. It's an invisible text."

In the mid-1990s oil was discovered in the little-known nation. Today, it is the continent's third sub-Saharan oil producer behind Nigeria and Angola.

Obiang has in part used oil revenues to bankroll a series of infrastructure projects, including those to accommodate the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, which Equatorial Guinea will co-host with neighbouring Gabon.

Read more on:    teodoro obiang nguema  |  equatorial guinea  |  west africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.


Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!


I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

upply Chain Manager

Western Cape
ZIMCO Group (PTY) Ltd
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Accountant - Cape Town

Western Cape
Quantum Recruitment

Restaurant Manager

Western Cape
SET Recruitment Consultants
R20 000 - R30 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.