Equatorial Guinea Election: Incumbent President Expected To Win

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Citizens of Equatorial Guinea are heading to the polls in a vote expected to hand Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the incumbent president and Africa’s longest serving leader, another seven-year term in office.

The country’s opposition leaders and international civil society groups have already dismissed Sunday’s vote as “not credible”.

Obiang, 73, faces six mostly unknown opponents, with most of the opposition boycotting the poll.

Election results will start to come in after the polls close at 9pm local time and final results are expected on Monday.

Obiang, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea for nearly 37 years after overthrowing his uncle in a coup, is accused of presiding over one of the world’s most corrupt and repressive governments.

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Income inequality

Critics accuse Obiang of failing to distribute the country’s oil wealth to the population of about 700,000.

But according to the poor living in the slums, the money seems to be going to a few people.

They allege it is going to Obiang’s family, the inner circle of the government.

They say there is not enough distribution of wealth.

Some opposition parties are boycotting the election, but others are participating, although they say campaigning was difficult and have questioned the credibility of the electoral process.

Some key countries have chose to remain quiet about the vote.

According to the UN 2014 Human Development Report, the country has the highest per capita gross domestic product of Any African country – about $37,000.

But it ranks 144 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index that measures social and economic development.

As a result, Equatorial Guinea has by far the world’s largest gap of all countries between its per capita wealth and its human development score.

Dailybouncer Asmaa Mubita, reporting from the port city of Bata, said many people living in the country are still “poor, frustrated and unemployed”.

“Opposition leaders say much of the nations oil wealth goes to the president and his family,” she said.

“They also accuse some in the international community of ignoring alleged human-rights abuses because of oil interests.”

Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the last election in 2009, Obiang won 97 percent of the vote.

His Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea regularly wins parliamentary votes with a similar majority, always falling barely short of 100 percent.

The ability of African leaders like Obiang to stay in power for a long time is rooted in “the lack of mature opposition” in their countries, says Marie-Roger Biloa, editor of the Paris-based Africa International magazine

The opposition in Equatorial Guinea is practically “nonexistent”.

“Those who are [in opposition]are not resistant. So it is very easy for the incumbent president to stay, because he is not really challenged.”

Biloa said Obiang’s government is using Equatorial Guinea’s rich oil reserves to silence its critics.

“Equatorial Guinea was a nobody until oil was discovered there roughly 20 years ago,” she said.

“Equatorial Guinea was a nobody until oil was discovered there roughly 20 years ago,” she said.

Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.