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CPDS demands the Government of Equatorial Guinea to assist the neediest population

By Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS), Equatorial Guinea

On 20 March 2020, the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea established the National Emergency Coronavirus Fund and adopted other measures to combat this pandemic.

Although Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) supported this initiative, it considered that the amount of CFAF 5 billion provided by the Executive was absolutely insufficient, and the terms of its use were not specified. For this reason, CPDS, as part of Equatoguinean society and a necessary political actor in the country, sent the Government a package of 19 measures to make effective the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the consequences of which are already being felt in the country.

One of the measures adopted by the Government, and supported by CPDS, to curb the spread of the disease is the closure of places where people gather, such as educational and religious centres, public transport, bars and other places of leisure. In other words, the activities from which the vast majority of the population lives. This measure has had, as immediate results that:

  • The sellers of agricultural products do not have goods because there is no transport;
  • Self-employed workers, such as those in the transport sector, bars and leisure places, have stopped receiving the income that their activities provided;
  • Teachers in private schools, because they cannot work, no longer receive their salaries.

As expected, the logical consequences of this measure have not been long in coming:

  • Whole families at home with nothing to eat or pay for their medicine in case of illness, the first victims being children;
  • Women with children begging at the doors of banks, supermarkets and on the streets of Malabo and Bata.

On the other hand, hygienic measures, such as washing hands with soap and disinfectants, cannot be fulfilled due to the lack of running water and disinfectants. And transport prices have increased by 300% in the interior of the country.

Meanwhile, the government remains passive, talking only about its daily meetings, but without concrete results, and the President of the Republic, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is following from his village the news about the health emergency that has already affected about 15 people in the country, four of them locally infected, according to sources from the Ministry of Health itself.

Faced with this critical situation, CPDS demands that the President of the Republic, as head of government at the same time (the positions are burdensome), take the lead in the battle against the coronavirus and that the Executive of Equatorial Guinea:

  • Initiate, as a matter of urgency, the distribution of food to all needy families, in order to avoid a human tragedy of incalculable dimensions in the country.
  • Postpone payment of the families’ electricity bills, at least for the duration of the crisis.
  • Reduce the price of fuel for motor vehicles.
  • Pay the salaries of non-civilian teachers working in private schools, in addition to maintaining the salaries of other civil servants.
  • Provide water tanks or containers to facilitate hygiene in the most needy areas of the cities of Malabo and Bata and the rest of the country.
  • Equip hospitals and acquire the necessary materials for the protection of toilets, testing and treatment of those infected.
  • Recruit all graduates of the UNGE’s School of Medicine and all doctors trained abroad who are unemployed.
  • Call on the Red Cross, diplomatic missions and international organizations to help the people of Equatorial Guinea to cope with the crisis, by massively donating food and sending medicines and medical personnel.
  • Demand that the ministers and deputies of the PDGE, who are used to handing out glasses of rice and kilos of peas to the population to ask for their vote at election time, continue to distribute this food to the most needy in these difficult times.
  • Demand that the rich men and women of the regime make their resources available to the Government to alleviate the effects of the crisis, because that wealth they have belongs to the people of Equatorial Guinea.
  • Do not take advantage of this difficult situation to allow the President’s family and political circles to make a profit through hotel rentals, services and the illegal receipt of donations from companies and individuals.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea cannot now hold on to the excuse of the economic crisis, because, in the last 20 years, this country has been the third largest producer of hydrocarbons in sub-Saharan Africa, which, in the words of the President of the Republic himself, “has made Equatorial Guinea one of the most developed countries on the African continent and the envy of the whole world”.

CPDS makes it clear that a country’s development and the strength of its Government are measured by its ability to mobilize resources in times of national emergency by meeting the needs of its people. The Equatoguinean Government had to care for its people and prevent anyone from going hungry.

Malabo, 2 April 2020