52. Equatorial Guinea (1968-present)

 

Crisis Phase (October 12, 1968-August 4, 1973): Equatorial Guinea formally achieved its independence from Spain on October 12, 1968.  The Spanish government mobilized some 260 troops in the country after a Spaniard was killed during a riot in Rio Benito on February 25, 1969.  President Francisco Macias Nguema referred the matter to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General U Thant on February 28, 1969, and declared a 15-day state-of-emergency on March 1, 1969.  Government troops suppressed a rebellion led by Foreign Minister Anastasio N’Dongo Miyone on March 5, 1969.  UN Secretary-General U Thant sent a three-member fact-finding mission (Bolivia, Brazil, Gabon) headed by Marcial Tamayo of Bolivia to the country on March 10-25, 1969.  Some 100 individuals, including Foreign Minister N’Dongo Miyone, were executed for their involvement in the rebellion.  Some 5,000 Spaniards fled the country between February 25 and March 28, 1969.  President Macias Nguema was proclaimed by the national congress of the Party of National Unity (Partido Unico Nacional – PUN) as president-for-life on July 14, 1972.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum on July 29, 1973, and the constitution went into effect on August 4, 1973.

Post-Crisis Phase (August 5, 1973-August 2, 1979):  The Spanish government imposed diplomatic sanctions (suspension of diplomatic relations) against the government in March 1977. Twenty-eight opponents of the government were executed by government troops in Bindung prison on May 21, 1977. The European Community (EC) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government in 1978.  The government banned the Roman Catholic Church in June 1978. Amnesty International (AI) condemned the government for human rights abuses on October 10, 1978. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned the government for human rights abuses on December 19, 1978.

Crisis Phase (August 3, 1979-present):  President Francisco Macias Nguema was deposed in a military coup led by Lt. Colonel Teodore Obiang Nguema on August 3, 1979, resulting in the deaths of some 500 individuals. The Supreme Military Council (SMC) chaired by Lt. Colonel Teodore Obiang Nguema took control of the government on August 4, 1979.  The government of Spain and the Soviet Union expressed support for the SMC on August 4, 1979. The SMC banned political parties, and legalized the Roman Catholic Church. Morocco deployed 200 troops in support of the SMC in August 1979.  The government of Spain provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the SMC on August 5, 1979.  Former President Macias Nguema and six other individuals were executed for genocide and treason on September 29, 1979.  The SMC requested military assistance from the Spanish government, which agreed to provide military assistance (military advisors) to the SMC in October 1979. The Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Equatorial Guinea (RDLGE) was established by Manuel Ruben Ndongo in opposition to the government in 1981. The SMC suppressed a military rebellion on April 10, 1981, resulting in the deaths of 17 individuals.  The Spanish government agreed to provide military assistance to the SMC beginning in September 1981, and provided economic assistance to the SMC beginning on November 19, 1981.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum on August 15, 1982.  Some 50,000 individuals were killed, and some 100,000 individuals fled as refugees to Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, and Spain between October 1968 and August 1982.  The Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido del Progreso de Guinea Ecuatorial – PPGE) was established by Severo Moto Nas in Madrid, Spain in opposition to the government in February 1983. The RDLGE formed a government-in-exile (Executive Council for Reorganization) on March 2, 1983. The National Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (Alianza Nacional de Restoracion Democratica – ANRD), the Movement for the Liberty and Future of Equatorial Guinea (MOLIFUGE), and other opposition groups established the Coordinating Board of Opposition Force headed by Teodoro Mackuandji Bondjale Oko in Zaragoza, Spain on April 3, 1983.  The SMC suppressed a rebellion in May 1983, and three individuals were executed for their involvement in the rebellion on July 7, 1983.  Legislative elections were held on August 23, 1983, and 41 supporters of Lt. Colonel Teodore Obiang Nguema were elected to the 41-seat National Assembly. The government suppressed a rebellion on July 19, 1986, and Eugenio Abeso Mondu, a member of the National Assembly, was executed for his involvement in the rebellion on August 18, 1986. President Teodore Obiang Nguema established the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido Democratico de Guinea Ecuatorial – PDGE) on October 12, 1987.  President Teodore Obiang Nguema was re-elected without opposition on June 25, 1989. A new constitution providing for a multiparty political system was approved in a referendum held on November 17, 1991.  The European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions (suspension of development assistance) against the government of Equatorial Guinea on December 22, 1992.  The United Nations Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) condemned the government for human rights abuses on March 10, 1993. The UN Secretariat provided electoral assistance to the government from April 1993 to September 1995.  Legislative elections were held on November 21, 1993, and the PDGE won 68 out 80 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  Opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections. Spain imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against Equatorial Guinea on January 27, 1994. Government police clashed with demonstrators in Malabo on October 5, 1994, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. Legislative and municipal elections were held on September 17, 1995. Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. Several members of the Plataforma de Oposicion Conjunta (POC) were arrested on February 16, 1996. President Teodore Obiang Nguema was re-elected with 99 percent of the vote on February 25, 1996. Opposition political parties boycotted the presidential election. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) sent observers to monitor the presidential election. The International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES) sent five observers to monitor the presidential election from February 20 to February 26, 1996, and reported that the election was not free and fair.  The European Union (EU) appealed for peaceful negotiations on March 6, 1996. The government dissolved the Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido del Progreso de Guinea Ecuatorial – PPGE) on June 16, 1997. The PPGE and the Popular Union (UP) headed by Eusebio Ebogo formed the National Liberation Council (NLC) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 1997.  Several members of the Bubi ethnic group attacked a military barracks on Bioko island on January 21, 1998, resulting in the deaths of seven individuals. On June 1, 1998, fifteen individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement in the Bioko island attack. President Teodore Obiang Nguema commuted the death sentences of 15 members of the Bubi ethnic group to life imprisonment on September 9, 1998.  Legislative elections were held on March 7, 1999, and the PDGE won 75 out of 80 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections. Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. Prime Minister Angel Serafin Seriche Dougan resigned on February 23, 2001, and President Teodore Obiang Nguema appointed Candido Muatetema Rivas as prime minister on February 27, 2001. Some 68 members of opposition groups, including Severo Moto of the PPGE, were sentenced to prison terms on June 10, 2002. Juan Ondo Nguema, one of the individuals sentenced to prison on June 10, 2002, died in police custody on July 5, 2002. President Teodore Obiang Nguema was re-elected with some 99 percent of the vote on December 15, 2002. Opposition political parties boycotted the presidential election.  Exiled political opposition leaders formed a government-in-exile headed by Severo Moto Nas in Madrid, Spain on August 29, 2003.  On March 7, 2004, the Zimbabwean government seized a U.S.-registered cargo plane carrying more than 60 suspected mercenaries led by Simon Mann, a former British military officer.  On March 8, 2004, the government of Equatorial Guinea arrested 15 suspected mercenaries.  The mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe, who were allegedly planning to overthrown the government of Equatorial Guinea, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder on March 16, 2004.  Legislative elections were held on April 25, 2004, and the PDGE won 68 out of 80 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  Political parties allied with the PDGE won 30 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  Opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections.  Miguel Abia Biteo Boricó was appointed as prime minister on June 14, 2004.  Some 19 individuals, including fourteen suspected mercenaries, went on trial in Malabo on August 23, 2004.  The Zimbabwean government convicted and sentenced Simon Mann to seven years in prison.  Prime Minister Miguel Abia Biteo Boricó and the entire cabinet were forced to resign on August 10, 2006.  Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfubea was appointed as prime minister on August 14, 2006.  British mercenary, Simon Mann, was deported to Equatorial Guinea, on February 1, 2008.  On April 16, 2008, the Spanish government arrested opposition leader Severo Moto in Spain on charges of attempting to smuggle weapons to Equatorial Guinea.  Legislative elections were held on May 4, 2008, and the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido Democratico de Guinea Ecuatorial – PDGE) won 99 out of 100 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfubea resigned on July 4, 2008.  Ignacio Milam Tang was appointed as prime minister on July 8, 2008.  On July 7, 2008, Simon Mann was sentenced to 34 years in prison in Equatorial Guinea.  Government troops repulsed an attack by militants on the presidential palace in Malabo on February 17, 2009, resulting in the death of at least one of the militants.  On November 2, 2009, Simon Mann received a presidential pardon and was released from prison on humanitarian grounds.  President Teodore Obiang Nguema was re-elected with 95 percent of the vote on November 29, 2009, and he was sworn in for a seven-year term on December 8, 2009.  Opposition groups claimed that the election was not free and fair.  On August 16-20, 2010, a five-member team from the UN Human Rights Council conducted an investigation of a situation involving four individuals on trial in Equatorial Guinea for their involvement in the February 2009 attack on the presidential palace in Malabo (the four individuals were convicted  and executed by the government on August 21, 2010).  A member of the main opposition party in the national electoral body, Marcial Abaga Barril, was arrested and detained by government police on November 1-4, 2011.  On November 13, 2011, some 98 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment permitted President Teodore Obiang Nguema to run for at least two more seven-year terms and to establish the position of vice-president.  Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang resigned on May 18, 2012.  Vicente Ehate Tomi was appointed as prime minister on May 21, 2012.  Clara Nsegue Eyi and Natalia Angue Edjodjomo, founders of the Democratic Party for Social Justice (DPSJ), were arrested and detained by the government on May 13, 2013.  Legislative elections were held on May 26, 2013, and the PDGE won 99 out of 100 seats in the Chamber of People’s Representatives.  Opposition groups claimed election fraud.  The African Union (AU) sent 41 observers led by former Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye of Senegal to monitor the legislative elections from May 21 to May 31, 2013.  The African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) sent four observers led by Ambassador Alejandro Gonzales Pons of the Dominican Republic to monitor the legislative elections from May 24 to May 27, 2013.  On October 23, 2014, the government granted amnesty to political prisoners.

[Sources: Africa Contemporary Record (ACR), 1969-1970, 1970-1971, 1971-1972, 1972-1973; Africa Diary, September 16-22, 1976, August 20-26, 1977, September 3-9, 1977, December 10-16, 1978, July 16-22, 1979, October 8-14, 1979, October 15-21, 1979, October 22-28, 1979, December 3-9, 1979; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), March 1-31, 1969, December 1-31, 1978, August 1-31, 1979, September 1-30, 1979, October 1-31, 1979, April 1-30, 1981, August 1-31, 1983, August 15, 1986, September 15, 1986; Amnesty International (AI) press release, February 20, 1996, July 2, 1997, June 4, 1998, July 10, 1998, September 11, 1998; Associated Press (AP), March 17, 1999; Banks and Muller, 1998, 290-295; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 28, 1998, September 8, 1998, March 7, 1999, February 27, 2001, December 15, 2002, December 16, 2002, March 8, 2004, August 11, 2006, February 18, 2009, February 19, 2009, November 29, 2009, December 4, 2009, August 24, 2010, November 14, 2011; Degenhardt, 1988, 97-99; European Union (EU) press release, March 6, 1996; Facts on File, March 6-12, 1969, April 19-26, 1969, May 8-14, 1969, August 17, 1979; Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), February 26, 1996, March 8, 1996; Jessup, 1998, 185-186; Keesing’s Record of World Events, November 2-9, 1968, April 19-26, 1969, November 5-11, 1973, January 13-19, 1975, January 19, 1979, October 19, 1979, January 1984, February 1987, October 1988, June 1989, March 1993, November 1993, October 1994, February 1996; Langer, 1972, 1268-1269; New York Times (NYT), August 14, 1982, August 28, 1983, August 12, 2006, February 2, 2008, April 16, 2008, February 18, 2009, February 20, 2009, May 30, 2011, November 5, 2011; Reuters, March 7, 1999, March 15, 1999, February 27, 2001, December 15, 2002, August 29, 2003, May 1, 2008, February 17, 2009, November 3, 2009, November 30, 2009, September 14, 2011, May 15, 2013, June 4, 2013, October 23, 2014; This Day (Lagos), December 3, 2002.]