Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema will celebrate forty years in power on Saturday, highlighting his status as Africa’s longest-serving head of state. Since he seized control in a 1979 military coup, rights groups have described Obiang Nguema, 77, as one of the continent’s most brutal and corrupt dictators.
In his most recent reelection, in 2016, he won more than 90 percent of the vote, according to the official tally.
His 40th anniversary in power will be marked by a series of events in three main cities, including Bata, the economic capital, Mongomo, the president’s hometown, and Djibloho — a new city built with oil-money in the middle of the jungle.
Amnesty International last month called on Obiang Nguema’s government to take steps to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights of everyone in the country”.
But critics say there are few signs Equatorial Guinea will open up.
A survivor of multiple coup and assassination attempts, Obiang Nguema has cracked down ruthlessly on opponents and suspected plotters in the former Spanish colony.