afrol News, 28 January - Equatorial Guinea's Dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema has decreed the establishment of a "national unity government," including opposition forces. The main opposition party however calls the move a "fake".
The Equatoguinean Ministry of Information today confirms President Obiang has decreed a reshuffling of his cabinet. A list of new ministers was presented, emphasising that Francisca Tatchoup has become the country's first female Minister of Economy.
But the greatest emphasis was put on the novelty that "some members of the opposition will occupy several ministerial posts." Concretely, Celestino Bacale - Deputy Secretary-General of the main opposition party Social Democratic Convergence of Equatorial Guinea (CPDS) - was named Deputy Minister of Economy.
Also other "opposition parties" had been given representation in the new government, according to the Ministry of Information. Several smaller parties, known to be close to President Obiang's ruling PDGE ruling party, were given deputy minister positions.
In a statement forwarded to afrol News, the CPDS opposition party reacts strongly to the claims made by the Equatoguinean government. Regarding the installing of the party's Mr Bacale, the CPDS condemned it as "a unilateral, Machiavellian act of poor intentions by the Head of State, which has not been the outcome of any negotiation or agreement with this party."
The opposition party holds that the move was "proof of the perverted and fraudulent nature of the Obiang regime." The Dictator was only "trying to sell in an image of a non-existing political openness and a government integrating all the political forces of the country, which is not the fact."
"Regarding the decision by Celestino Bacale to accept the ministerial post, despite the opinion of the CPDS, the national executive commission of the CPDS unanimously has decided to suspend him from his responsibility as Deputy Secretary-General of the party," the statement added.
The CPDS, internationally recognised as the only real existing opposition party in Equatorial Guinea, further ridicules the naming of the other "opposition" members to the new government. The three "opposition parties" have earlier been founded by allies of President Obiang or have been couped by ruling party members.
President Obiang, taking power in a coup in 1978, has been known to rule the oil-rich country as his personal property for decades. The introduction of "multi-party democracy" in the 1990s mostly saw the establishment of minor parties loyal to the President.
Last year, however, President Obiang in a speech promised to improve the democracy, human rights and press freedom situation in Equatorial Guinea. Human rights groups late last year however concluded that the situation rather had deteriorated.
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