Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Equatorial Guinea's President Seeks Constitutional Limit on Presidential Term of Office

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea invited all of the nation's legally constituted political parties to enter discussion on constitutional changes, including one that would limit the President to two four-year terms of office.

President Obiang also discussed the need to create a Senate, which would convert the nation's Parliament from a unicameral to a bicameral legislature, and to establish control mechanisms to prevent corruption.

President Obiang discussed these changes in the context of "Democratic Experiment," his program to systematically and progressively pursue greater democracy and pluralism as the nation develops. At the opening session of the Parliament last week, he urged legislators to work "to reform the legal system as a means of ensuring and protecting the rights of citizens."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Obiang Calls For Legal Reform & Democratization Tied To Social Development

The President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and current Chairman of the African Union (AU), Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, called for reform of the legal system as a means of ensuring and protecting the rights of citizens yesterday at the opening session of the West African nation’s House of Parliament.

“We can avoid many of the trends that have shaken other countries today, if we repair the legal instruments that govern our state and put them into practice,” he said. “In this way we will eliminate the lapses that currently violate the rights and freedoms of individuals, groups, and organs and institutions of our society. I am committed nationally and internationally to this work.”

In his address to the legislators, he spoke more broadly about the sources of and solutions for conflicts in Africa and the need for governments to respond to the desires of young people for greater enfranchisement.

Mr. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said, “It is logical that young people, who in most countries consider themselves to be outside the political arena, feel oppressed and excluded, and so seek a way out or solution to their problems. In this case, their claims are just and legitimate, as are the claims of so many other marginalized groups. But these claims must be aired with order and discipline so that they do not become rebellion and civil disobedience.”

The AU will hold its summit in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, in June with the theme “Accelerating Youth Employment and Sustainable Development.”

Turning to the situation in Africa, the current President of the African Union addressed the problem of oppressive one-party states and discussed his own government’s plan for democratic development to go hand in hand with social and economic development. He said that since independence, Africa has struggled to “protect the unity and integrity of its states, the peace of its nations, and the security of its institutions.”

But as part of this vision, said President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, “several African countries decided to establish one-party systems to avoid the violent changes of government that opposition political parties brought about. In spite of this, the excesses of power led to anarchy and to oppression by the governments that became dictatorships.” These systems have been inconsistent and “often inflexible, [and] often don’t give significant protection or opportunity to all political groups and social strata.”

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo provided a thorough analysis and pointed out how the African countries can avoid many currents that are shaking others today if they rectify the legal instruments that govern their country. “The irreconcilable problems which can spread to other states, are due to the inconsistency of the models of democracy and Governments.”

Referring to his own government, the president said, “Equatorial Guinea does not wish to presume that it has fully satisfied the needs of the people. This is why we have named our system a ‘democratic rehearsal,’ meaning the need to bring the system up to date as the people evolve.”

Continuing a theme he first struck in his address in accepting the chairmanship of the African Union in January 2011 in Addis Ababa, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo referred to the need for Africans to take a greater role in resolving African problems. “The African Union exerts coercive force, even though it may send peacekeeping missions,” he said. “We think we must persuade the parties, influence [them] politically and guide them to a peaceful and negotiated solution. Embargoes and military interventions have never given positive results for the people affected.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AU President Obiang Urges Efficiency and Quality in African Union

African Union (AU) Chairman Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, has called on AU officials to be creative and innovative and to improve the efficiency of the organization.

On his first visit as chairman to AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Mr. Obiang told an assembly of AU officials, "Our handicap is the lack of resources, but we are doing everything to find the resources necessary to ensure the efficient operation of our continental organization."

Calling it "an honor and a great responsibility" to work at the African Union, he encouraged commissioners and staff to continue working hard, despite limited resources, to bring greater respectability to the organization, and he called on them to design and implement only the highest quality programs.

President Obiang met with the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, the Deputy Chairperson, AU commissioners, directors and staff of the commission, and permanent representatives of AU member states and partners.

Upon his arrival, he participated in the Peace and Security Council Summit, which reviewed the situation in Libya and the report of the High-Level Panel set up at the last AU Summit in January 2011 to seek a peaceful solution to the post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.

In his welcome address, Dr. Ping congratulated the new chairman on his election last January to the helm of the African Union, which he described as testimony to President Obiang's commitment to raise Africa's profile in the international arena.

In Mr. Obiang's inaugural address as AU chairman last January, he called on African nations to take more responsibility and show more leadership in resolving the region's problems.

Dr. Ping thanked President Obiang for Equatorial Guinea's leadership role in stimulating development across the continent through regional and sub-regional integration. He assured him of the Commission's full cooperation in his efforts to strengthen the continent through democratization, development, and unity.

Dr. Ping stressed the major challenge posed by the condition of Africa's youth, whose rights and legitimate aspirations have led the African Union to organize its next Summit in Equatorial Guinea in June 2011 on the theme "The development and empowerment of youth."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Meets With Un Secretary-General

On a recent mediation at the United Nations, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo met with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon at the UN building in the heart of New York City. The two Presidents met to discuss a long-standing territorial dispute between the two neighboring countries.

(For video on President Obiang’s visit to the United Nations, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/EquatorialGuineaNews)

President Obiang came to New York at the invitation of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The UN is mediating this dispute in an effort to help the two countries reach an agreement.

In a joint communiqué, the two nations renewed their commitment to continued friendly relations and pledged to continue working toward a mutually beneficial resolution to the dispute surrounding three islands in Corisco Bay, in an area of petroleum and natural gas deposits. The two countries agreed many years ago to jointly exploit the area’s resources until a permanent agreement could be reached.

Equatorial Guinea and Gabon agreed to meet again March 29 and 30 for further talks under UN auspices in Geneva. The two neighbors enjoy friendly relations, which they believe will help them resolve this territorial issue.