Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Obiang

"The concept of democracy, human rights and good governance are not new to Africa, but they should be adapted to the African culture."

This quote was part of Equatorial Guinea's acceptance speech after he was appointed the President of the African Union. According to this article, the president of the AU rotates on a one-year-term basis and rotates between the 5 regions of Africa. To begin the selection process, one of these regions selects a candidate that the other nations within that sub-region decide upon. The leaders of the other African nations not located within that region only have to "sign off" on the regions decision.

Obiang's opposition leader and head of Equatorial Guinea's Convergence for Social Democracy program, Placido Mico, has been extremely critical of Obiang's appointment to the position and states that there isn't an ounce of democracy displayed by Obiang's regime (no freedoms or liberties, widespread corruption, human rights violations). Mico states that Obiang was able to attain this position because of his "generosity and material and financial aid to other heads of state." Sounds about right.

I love this quote by Obiang simply for the fact that I think it is very useful in helping to give us a good stance on the government's perspective on our topics. I believe the term "African culture" in conjunction with our favorite concept of state sovereignty are going to help us get through conference. We will preach our familiarity and respect for "democracy", but use these terms to put that ever-present PR spin on controversial issues.

Brianna Howell

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