Jump to navigation

Published 3rd December 2004

Vol 45 No 24

Equatorial Guinea

Under the volcanoes

The greatest threat to President Obiang's personal rule comes from within - not from foreign plotters

Politics in Malabo, like the three volcanoes surrounding the capital city, are bound to erupt some time. If anything, the government's bizarre handling of the purported mercenaries' coup in March has hastened that political eruption. Paranoia among the Mongomo clan around President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has reached new heights since the saga started, so much so that many see the hallmarks of an elaborate set-up in the coup allegations and the cast of exotic characters drawn into the subsequent court battles in Malabo, Harare, Cape Town, Beirut, London, Guernsey and perhaps Madrid. The real game is the battle to succeed President Obiang: as the country's oil revenues boom (forecast to grow at nearly 20 per cent next year) and clan rivalries deepen, the stakes are rising. Coup plots - phantom or real, internal or external - are all played out against this central question. Certainly the matter of the March plot will not end with the verdicts and sentences given out in a Malabo court on 26 November against 19 alleged plotters. After a trial which, according to Amnesty International, flagrantly breached international standards of justice, Judge Salvador Ondo Nkumu handed down sentences of between 14 to 34 years for the Armenian and South African defendants, while the five Equato-Guinean defendants were either released or given lighter sentences.

Election, what election?

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

With money and political dominance, the MPLA isn't rushing to the polls

After the war, democracy and prosperity. That was the mantra during three decades of war between the MPLA and UNITA. The reality is different. The victorious Movimento Popular de L...

Talk of the towns

The ruling NPP is in the lead but tight budgets hurt it in the towns

President John Agyekum Kufuor's ruling New Patriotic Party can take nothing for granted ahead of the 7 December elections, although his party is favoured to win the presidency and ...

Sam's successor

The new President will have to work hard to convince people that he is his own man

President-elect Hifikepunye Pohamba's first test will be to address opposition claims about the running of the 15-16 November election which gave him 76 per cent of the vote. Oppos...

Another man with a plan

Outside the country Gbagbo has few friends - but inside, he is a force to be reckoned with

The big guns of the African Union have lost patience with President Laurent Gbagbo. South African President Thabo Mbeki was heading to Abidjan on 2 December to try to halt his appa...


Coming to blows

Somebody fired katyusha rockets into Rwerere village in Rwanda's northern Gisenyi province, on 15 November. Three people were hurt. A similar attack followed in Ruhengeri province....

Bye-bye, Moyo

A purge is coming, in preparation for the 2005 elections and, one day, the departure of President Robert Mugabe. The President's faction of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patr...

Bingu ascendant

The rift between the United Democratic Front (UDF) government and the party continues to deepen. Investigating corruption in the former regime gives President Bingu wa Mutharika th...