Severo Moto, an opponent of Teodoro Obiang, accuses the government and political parties of having abandoned him

Spain erases Equatorial Guinea from its memory

Severo Moto Nsa, presidente del Partido del Progreso de Guinea Ecuatorial – PHOTO/AFP PHOTO/Javier SORIANO
Severo Moto Nsa, president of the Equatorial Guinea Progress Party - PHOTO/AFP PHOTO/Javier SORIANO

Severo Moto, founder 41 years ago of the opposition party to the dictatorship of Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Equatorial Guinea, the Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea (PPGE), accuses the Spanish government and political parties of having forgotten and abandoned them. 

"The Spain that I know and with which we identify, continues to support us; but this other Spain, that of the government and the political parties, has gone from supporting us to falling into Obiang's arms", accuses Severo Moto in exclusive statements to Atalayar.

Since the PPGE was founded in exile in Madrid in 1983, the government of Felipe González protected and supported them. José María Aznar's government did the same until 2004. When José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero became President of the government and his minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos travelled to Equatorial Guinea, everything changed: "That's when the betrayal began", says Severo Moto. "I made three trips to my country, in González's time, and the Spanish Embassy protected me. The same with Aznar. After that, nothing, I only found hatred and rejection from the Spanish government". 

History is there, a mute witness of neglect. This Saturday, the Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea celebrates the 41st anniversary of its constitution. It was on 25 February 1983, when a handful of Equatoguinean militants led by Severo Moto, met in Madrid to found a party of Christian Democratic ideology, whose main objective was to fight for the holding of democratic elections in Equatorial Guinea. It did not aim to overthrow the regime with weapons, but with the ballot box. Equatorial Guinea went from being a Spanish colony, to a province, to an independent nation after a period of autonomy. But its ties with Spain were always strong. 

The PPGE advocated rights and freedoms, and consequently tried to be recognised in 1988 by the government of Obiang Nguema, the country's president, without success. It only managed to be legalised in October 1992, and in the first elections in 1993 in which it had a voice, it asked its voters to abstain. Two years later, in the 1995 municipal elections, it contested and claimed to have won in most of the important localities. Obiang acknowledged the election results, but warned them: "You have won, fine. But I have the power", and everything remained the same. "The people believed in us, and supported us," says Severo Moto. The PPGE was again outlawed in April 1998. 

"Thanks to the support we had at the time, from the Popular Party, the PSOE, the PNV and Convergencia i Unión, we joined the Centrist Democratic International. In 2003, the leader of the PPGE formed a provisional government in exile based in Madrid. Hostilities, arrests and trials against PPGE activists and sympathisers intensified. 

In 2008, several PPGE members were arrested in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo, including Severo Moto's former secretary, Gerardo Angüe Mangue. The alleged owner of the weapons, Saturnino Nkogo, had died in prison a few days after his arrest in strange circumstances.  Six other Party activists were tried along with a British citizen, Simon Mann, who had helped organise a coup attempt in 2004, although they were separate cases. The members of the group were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to five years each. Their imprisonment was protested by the US State Department, which at the time still claimed to support the democratic opposition, as did France and other countries.

British and South African mercenaries were involved in the various coup attempts and armed insurrections that took place in Equatorial Guinea in those years. The discovery of oil off the Equatoguinean coast from 1996 onwards made the small Central African country a juicy "El Dorado" for fossil energy multinationals.  

The Progress Party did not question the economic and social transformation brought about by the oil boom, but rather the country's political structures. The PPGE preached a political transition, similar to that of Spain in the 1970s. 

In 2018, the Christian Democratic Party promoted and participated in the signing of the "Proposed Law for the Peaceful Transition to Democracy in Equatorial Guinea" together with other movements, such as the Popular Action of Equatorial Guinea, also a member of the Centrist Democratic International, the Popular Union, of Christian Democratic ideology, and the Movement for the Self-Determination of the island of Bioko, of social democratic ideology.

Do they still see a peaceful transition as possible?

Our people believe so. But we have to be clear and loyal to them. When the dictator Obiang disappears - it is the law of life - there will be no civil war, because they all have the weapons, but I fear that there will be a massacre of people, because the people still believe in us and think that Spain, France and the United States continue to support us, which is not true. We are alone, and the people must know that. This is what we are going to discuss at the meeting to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the PPGE. We are going to be clear and denounce those who have abandoned us.

Why this abandonment?

Obiang has money, a lot of money, and he buys Spanish and European ministers and personalities. One example: his party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, which has been in power since its creation in 1987, is invited by the Centrist Democrat International, the same party that integrated us and has now abandoned us. 

Severo-Macías Moto Nsa remains an ostracised caudillo. With more than four decades of struggle, he led his party and a government in exile. He still believes in a democratic transition, but he says he will not be silent this time.

Envíanos tus noticias
Si conoces o tienes alguna pista en relación con una noticia, no dudes en hacérnosla llegar a través de cualquiera de las siguientes vías. Si así lo desea, tu identidad permanecerá en el anonimato