In 2016 another African Country with a long entrenched President will head to the polls. The Country having the plebiscite is Equatorial Guinea and the Family in Question just happens to be the Obiang Family. This family has had a grip on power since the country gained Independence from Spain back in 1968.
One may ask are there enough grounds to facilitate a change of Government within Equatorial Guinea? There has been a substantial increase of revenue due to the Petroleum Industry. Since the discovery of Oil in 1995 the Country has one a higher per capita income than larger economies in both Nigeria and South Africa. Governance within the Country is another matter in itself as the current leadership is considered to be one of the World’s worst dictators.
The question now is there a viable candidate to not only challenge but to perhaps defeat President Obiang? There is a gentleman currently residing in the United States who feels that he has a chance not only to win the election but also restore democratic ideals to this small but vitally located West African County.
His name is Gustavo Envela and he has an interesting pedigree. He is a son of the Country’s First Ambassador to the United Nations. It was during his tenure that the Persecution of this family began. The Ambassador took his family into exile in the United States. Mr. Envela is also a World Class Athlete having competed in four Olympic Games in the late 20th Century. This itself is a record. He is also a graduate of Stanford University graduating with a BA in both Political Science and an additional one in African and Afro-American Studies. He is also currently in exile in the United States and currently maintains a Green Card to prove residency.
There are some who will question about his time in the United States. Will he be considered to be an outsider by the electorate? Could he be seen as being too close to the United States and its ideals? He has stated that he seeks to restore Freedom of Speech and improve the Economic plight of the population. He has also taken the statement that President Obama made in Ghana during his first trip to Africa “Africa Needs Strong Institutions not Strong Men” to heart.
Naysayers may use a couple of minor scrapes with Law Enforcement in the US against Mr. Envela. He has made the proper apologies and restitution to address what has happened. A US Political Candidate may come under scrutiny for what had occurred and potentially derail his campaign. Time does heal old wounds…..
So the question remaining is does Mr. Envela have a chance? There was a time when Mr. Envela and his father returned to Malabo. The crowds that lined the road from the Airport to greet them are a positive sign that proves some viability for this candidacy. Recent Elections in other African Countries have shown what steps some leaders will take to remain in power. It has been some time since Mr. Envela has been allowed back into his homeland.
The Obiang regime has taken the steps to place an indefinite hold on the renewal of his Passport. This order has been in place since 2005. There was even some difficulty in returning the ashes of his deceased father as well. This may be the first threshold to be crossed. Exposure to the electorate is another challenge that is forthcoming. That being said he does have a chance to win.
For the people of Equatorial Guinea He deserves to be heard……..
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