Yahya Jammeh’s pal Obiang grants Amnesty to opponents

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea has once again stunned the world with an unexpected decree granting amnesty to members of the opposition as well as other political activists and critics in the country.

The friend/host to the former Gambian leader also requested an “immediate national dialogue’’, thus prompting rights activists expressing gratitude and appreciation to ‘‘all those who are mounting pressure against a totalitarian regime’’.

It is interesting to note that a similar proposal requested was ‘‘rejected’’ but this time round, the President said it is a ‘‘goodwill gesture’’, and further demanded serious talks with those opposing his rule.

In an unpredictable statement translated and transmitted to The Point, Nguema Mbasogo declared: ‘‘I grant total amnesty to all citizens sentenced by the courts...for political offenses in the exercise of their activity, serving or not serving their sentence’’.

Prominent human rights institutions and groups such as Amnesty International welcomed the President’s decree, which they believe can pave a way for ‘‘serious and comprehensive national dialogue’’.

Some Right Groups had also decried ‘‘repression’’ against opponents adding that for decades ‘‘unlawful abuse, false imprisonment or detention and torture’’ was the norm and expressed cautious skepticism.

Earlier, the European Union (EU) described ‘‘a sharp decline in human rights’’ and expressed concern over the death in custody of Ebee Ela, a member of the opposition.

But in his defence, the President said Ela was ‘‘sick’’ and did not die of ‘‘cruel torture’’ or ‘‘ill treatment’’ and promised an investigation. The opposition however rubbished such claims, while the EU noted that ‘‘trials should be fair and in line with international norms’’.

Furthermore, the President’s son, Teodorin Obiang, was recently sentenced by a French Court in Paris to three years in absentia after he was found guilty of ‘‘plundering public money to fund a jet-set lifestyle’’.

Teodorin, was also fine Euro 30 Million for ‘‘embezzlement, money laundering, corruption and abuse of trust’’. Critics say Teodoro’s administration is marred by corruption and embezzlement resulting in a failed coup attempt in December 2017, but the President’s son flatly denied the claims.

Like his pal, Yahya Jammeh, Nguema Mbasogo came to power through a military coup when he ousted his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema in 1979. Using his influence and cash, he befriended many African leaders including Jammeh and since insisted on his rights to govern at will.

However, it is not very clear what Nguema Mbasogo’s next steps are, however someone familiar with the process told this correspondent in a communiqué that a ‘‘scheduled meeting with his opponents is planned for next week, however, it is expected to last at least four days’’.

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent