Tag Archives: koliba

The Obiang family… still pillaging their country’s coffers…

The Wall Street Journal‘s “Corruptions Currents” blog is occasionally a useful tool in keeping track of evolving stories of corruption. Not that any of their articles focus on the U.S. political system…

One topic Corruptions Currents has been tracking involves Equatorial Guinea, whose President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, one of the sources for the dictator of Golongo, Ernest Koliba, in my novel Corruptions. Obiang and his family have been pillaging Guinean government funds for years, and the French and U.S. governments are finally cracking down.

Federal prosecutors argued last week they should be permitted to move forward with their efforts to seize hundreds of millions dollars of assets based in the U.S., including a  $38 million jet, belonging to the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, whom they claim  amassed a fortune through theft of his country’s resource wealth.

The Justice Department moved in October to seize a Gulfstream jet, Malibu mansion, and Michael Jackson memorabilia belonging to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. In court papers filed in Washington, D.C., and California federal district courts, prosecutors alleged broad and systemic corruption by both father and son.

According to ABC News, the Michael Jackson memorabilia includes the “white crystal-encrusted glove” from Jackson’s “Bad Tour.” I suppose when you steal that much money from your tiny, impoverished country, there’s not really that much you can spend it on other than meaningless crap.

You say Kabila, I say Koliba…

Recent election results from the Congo indicate that sitting President Joseph Kabila is going the way of the Golongese dictator from Corruptions, Ernest Koliba. Kabila’s father Laurent began his Presidency as a dim beacon of hope after he’d ousted former Congolese dictator Mobuto.  Joseph succeeded his father, assassinated by bodyguards in 2001, and was facing his first reelection — but reelection can be such a tricky thing for African presidents.

Kabila, reelected last week in a severely disputed election, has now stated that there was absolutely, positively nothing wrong with his election, despite so much evidence to the contrary. Reminds me of a key paragraph in the novel:

Africa’s problem was the lack of viable governments or, as Weller always put it, “Africa doesn’t have political systems—it has political leaders.” From Mubarak in Egypt, down through Museveni in Uganda, Moi in Kenya and Mugabe in Zimbabwe, up through Mobutu in Zaire, Bongo in Gabon, the Eyadema family in Togo, up even to Ben Ali in Tunisia, Africa with rare exceptions was a series of “Big Man” countries where the President was the country, and the country served the President. The exceptions were glaring and most—like Nelson Mandela in South Africa—didn’t last, falling back into the “Big Man” mode once their Mandela retired. Much of the blame lay with the colonial powers that left Africa in a shambles; someday, though, Africans will need to focus on the solutions, not on who was to blame for their political misery.

Kabila looks to be yet another in a very long list.