In an unexpected twist, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, sanctioned a new penal code and abolished the death penalty. Thus, PALOPs are exempt from the death penalty.
The fact that Equatorial Guinea still has the death penalty in its penal code was one of the reasons that led to its entry into the CPLP and therefore for the PALOP it would have taken longer, because many other members didn’t want a country in their midst that still disrespected life in this way.
The news of the end of the death penalty in Equatorial Guinea was given on Monday, September 19, 2022 by the son of Obiang, vice president of the country, on social networks.
The controversial membership
Portugal resisted Equatorial Guinea’s entry into the CPLP for as long as it could. In 2010, at the summit in Luanda, he bought time with a moratorium. In 2012, in Maputo, he resisted. A roadmap has been established, minimum requirements: the end of the death penalty and measures to promote the use of Portuguese. But in 2014, faced with an ultimatum from Angola and Brazil, he finally gave in.
Equatorial Guinea’s entry into the CPLP was so controversial that the institution that received them was on the verge of collapse due to its membership, since Portugal’s presence in the CPLP “was in danger”, s he hadn’t given the green card when he entered. .
After years of Portuguese resistance and with the approach of the Dili summit, negotiations have become more difficult. Dilma Rousseff and José Eduardo dos Santos, respectively presidents of Brazil and Angola, forced entry with a threat: if Portugal had insisted on saying no, the other countries would form a “legal union, PALOP plus Brazil”.
Dilma Rousseff’s determination was such that Brazil wanted Equatorial Guinea to take over the presidency of the CPLP at the Dili summit.
In Portugal, the issue was widely discussed at the highest level, it was concluded that either they accepted that the CPLP changed radically, or they were left with the burden of its implosion. Assimilating the decision was not easy.
However, the economic stake was too heavy to stop the process. Especially in a CPLP with growing identity problems and struggling to impose itself in a world increasingly organized into regional blocs.
The CPLP sought to become one of the most important oil blocks, especially since 50% of the oil reserves discovered in recent years come from these countries. For the dream to come true, Equatorial Guinea was central, as it is the third largest oil producer in Africa, after Angola and Nigeria.
The news of the abolition
A state television reporter called the event “historic for our country” in a brief announcement at the end of a newscast.
The news was posted on Facebook by the country’s Vice President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, where he wrote:
“I write to you in capital letters to seal this unique moment: EQUATORIAL GUINEA HAS ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY”.
The measure will come into force within 90 days of its publication in the state’s official gazette, but it has already been approved in advance by parliament, where all but one of the 100 lawmakers represent the ruling party.
The last official execution in the country took place in 2014, according to Amnesty International, after it joined the CPLP, but international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations have regularly accused the regime of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and of torture.
President Obiang, 80, has been in power for more than 43 years, a world record if you exclude monarchies.
There is no doubt that this is a historic moment for PALOP, for CPLP and for the world. However, it should be borne in mind that the death penalty remains legal in more than 30 African countries, despite the fact that in around half no executions have taken place in recent years.
Unfortunately, there are still 73 countries in the world that practice the death penalty, one of which is the “famous bulwark of democracy and freedom”, commonly referred to as the United States of America.
What do you think about this? Is it time to end the death penalty in the world or is it necessary? We want to know your opinion, do not hesitate to comment and if you liked the article, share and give a “like / like”.
April 25 and the creation of PALOP
Picture: © 2022 Francisco Lopes-Santos