The Nguemas from Equatorial Guinea: building a political dynasty in an authoritarian context
Ana Lúcia Sá (Centre for International Studies - ISCTE-IUL)
Paper short abstract:
In Equatorial Guinea, family members of the president stand as the most relevant political actors. The most likely successor in the presidency is the incumbent's elder son, currently the country's vice-president. Political institutions are being used to secure a successful dynastic succession.
Paper long abstract:
Equatorial Guinea is an autocratic country under the rule of the same family members, the Nguemas, since independence in 1968. Francisco Macías Nguema was elected president in 1968 and initiated one of the most brutal regimes in Africa. He was ousted in 1979, in a coup led by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who remains in power until today. Family members stand as the most relevant political actors as decision-making processes in various areas, from security to economy, are found in the hands of Obiang's relatives. The most likely successor in the presidency is the incumbent's son, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mangue, also known as Teodorín and currently the country's vice-president. This paper aims to explain the processes underlying the emergence of a political dynasty in an authoritarian context. To do so, I present a descriptive case study, anchored on how Obiang and his family have used political institutions to legitimize the control of the Equatorial Guinean state and the building of a political dynasty. I explore the reach of the regime elite and their control of political institutions (the cabinet and the ruling party) through network analysis, highlighting the role Teodorín Obiang holds in the country's political and economic life. Finally, I explain the way political institutions are also being used to secure a successful dynastic succession despite contrarian voices from both the opposition and the regime's inner-circle.
The politics of dynasties in Africa