E.Guinea gets new prime minister, vice president

, Comments 0 comments

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang on Monday named a new prime minister and a vice president appointing his son, who is wanted by France in connection with an anti-corruption probe, to the post of second vice president.

Former prime minister Ignacio Milam Tang now fills in the newly created post of vice president while his former chief of staff Vincente Ehate Tomi was made prime minister.

The president's son Teodorin Obiang, a former agriculture minister widely perceived as being groomed to succeed his father who will turn 70 next month, now carries the title second vice president.

The appointments which were read out on state television follow a constitutional reform approved in a referendum in November which limits the number of presidential mandates to two, and created the post of vice president.

French prosecutors have called for an international arrest warrant to be issued for the president's son to face questioning in a probe into the sources of money spent in France by Obiang, Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.

The charges were brought by Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption watchdog which alleges the leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France.

TI alleges Obiang owned more than four million euros worth of vehicles in France, while altogether the three leaders had accumulated French assets worth 160 million euros ($205 million).

As agriculture minister Obiang's son is granted an official salary of 3,200 euros. He is also deputy head of his country's mission to Paris-based UNESCO, a post which gives him diplomatic immunity.

In September last year, 11 of the family's luxury cars were seized in Paris as part of the probe. Police in February searched an Obiang residence in an upmarket Paris district, removing vanloads of possessions.

Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea with an iron grip since seizing power in a 1979 coup d'etat, making him the continent's longest-serving head of state.

His country, a former Spanish colony, is sub-Saharan Africa's third biggest oil exporter but its people live in grinding poverty.

The new constitution does not make clear whether Obiang could stay in power until 2030, or if he would have to resign when his current term ends in 2016.

Obiang is serving his fourth seven-year term since he seized power in a 1979 coup, unseating his notoriously ruthless uncle Francisco Macias Nguema who was executed by firing squad.

He has never scored less than 95 percent in an election since he introduced multi-partyism in 1991.

The formation of the new government was expected to be wound up later this week.

© 2012 AFP

0 Comments To This Article