The government of Equatorial Guinea resigned last weekend in an Extraordinary Council of Ministers during which President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo hinted at bureaucratic incompetence and looming national insolvency, although re-appointing Pascal Obama Asue as Prime Minister.
“The outgoing government has not fulfilled its duties or achieved the objectives programmed... rigorous measures are needed to mitigate the effects of possible insolvency against specific obligations,” according to a communique issued by the presidency.
Asue, who has held the position of Prime Minister since 2016, said “sacrifices were needed to earn the confidence of the head of state” who is expected to announce the new ministerial line-up before the end of the week.
Oil and gas accounts for more than 90% of export revenue for Equatorial Guinea, which had already been hit hard by low oil prices before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused the economy to fall even deeper into recession.
Recorded cases of Covid-19 in Equatorial Guinea are soaring towards 5000, with 83 fatalities attributed to the virus, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Mbasogo, 78, came to power after deposing his uncle in 1979, establishing his close family in top positions throughout the governing structures. His Mongomo clan hails from the mainland Rio Muni enclave on the remote border with Gabon.
The probability of an imminent reshuffle had been widely reported with Mbasogo keen to see broader acceptance of his favoured son, Vice President Teodorin Obiang, sliding into a more authoritative role in government.
It is unclear whether the Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, also a son of Mbasogo, will be reappointed to the portfolio he has occupied for several years.