Obstacles to Democracy in Equatorial Guinea
Obstacles to Democracy in Equatorial GuineaMarch 3, 2011
The report "Disempowered Voices: The Status of Civil Society in Equatorial Guinea" analyzes the serious obstacles that civil society organizations encounter.
An excerpt from the report:
"Civil society in Equatorial Guinea is very weak. Many of the civil society organizations that exist today are the product of enthusiastic individuals determined to work on specific social issues, but whose effectiveness is hindered by limited professional competencies and investment, an ambiguous and inconsistent legal framework, undue government interference, and an atmosphere of distrust and paranoia. Decades of dictatorial rule have stunted the education system as well as the civic and political spaces necessary for civil society to flourish, and created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion in which is discernible a lack of trust and an unwillingness to collaborate, both between individuals and civil society organizations. For home-grown civil society groups, the result has been a lack of adequately informed and trained individuals and an operating environment in which civil society is neither well understood nor organized.
The government’s treatment of civil society organizations exacerbates the weaknesses that already exist in civil society. The government regards autonomous civil society organizations with suspicion, particularly those groups that advocate for government reforms such as socioeconomic development, human rights protection, and the just redistribution and use of oil revenues. As is documented in detail below, despite a legal framework that guarantees freedoms of assembly, association, and speech, as well as repeatedly renewed government promises to take the necessary steps to empower civil society, governmental actions continue to thwart the efforts of Equatoguinean citizens to organize and advocate for a more accountable, transparent, and democratic political system..."