The government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) has responded sharply to critics of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's election as chairman of the African Union.
In an official statement, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro denounced critics who urged the African Union to abandon its procedures for selecting the chairman rather than elect Mr. Obiang as "feeling themselves to be above the common and democratic decision of the vast majority of representatives of the African continent."
"President Obiang's election was a democratic consensus by the heads of state of the African Union, at the request of the Central African regional bloc, whose turn it was to preside over the organization, according to [the AU's] strict rotation system," the statement said.
He also responded to criticism of President Obiang's government by pointing out the advances the country has made in economic development, democratization and human rights.
"Equatorial Guinea…has gone from being one of the world's poorest countries to one of the states with the greatest progress in economic and social development on the planet thanks to his leadership," the statement said.
Mr. Osa singled out "the incredible economic development that Equatorial Guinea is currently experiencing." He added, "The same has occurred in the area of human rights, where the enormous steps the country has taken have never been recognized, including the democratization that was the President's own initiative. Equatorial Guinea is currently a country that lives in an environment of stability and peace, with many fewer problems of war, strikes, and delinquency that one can find in many of the countries from which these criticisms arise."
President Obiang was elected chairman of the African Union at the recently concluded African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Obiang called for his fellow Africans to "assume, more than ever, a leading role not just on the continent but in the international arena."
"The crisis of the values of the African culture is reducing the unity and solidarity among our people," he said. "Africa must focus on the dialogue for a peaceful negotiated solution to the conflicts that ravage our towns."