from Jeremy Boateng

There are gestures that mark history, there are symbolic acts that make more than a thousand speeches. The President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, inaugurated the new headquarters of the African Intelligence and Security Services Commission (CISSA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the capital of the African Union, on 9 February. It was a generous donation – some sources report that it was an investment of more than twenty million dollars – by Obiang himself and dedicated to the whole of Africa.

A historic gesture, as we were saying, because before now there was no continental headquarters for security services. But it is also an act with strong symbolic values, given that the President of Equatorial Guinea has stressed the importance of having effective, modern and independent services to defend Africa from continual foreign threats. “The African continent has suffered for the misdeeds carried out by other intelligence services. For this, the CISSA must act with determination and effectiveness to defend our countries and our interests,” said Obiang, commenting on the opening of the CiSSA headquarters.

Created on 26 August 2004 in Abuja (Nigeria) by the heads of the intelligence and security services of the various African countries, the CISSA is a body attached to the AU Peace and Security Council. Its mission is to develop an African strategy for peacekeeping, conflict prevention, management and resolution on the continent and to combat all forms of terrorism.

Emphasizing the importance of having secret services able to operate on a continental level, Teodoro Obiang also recalled how the Libyan leader Mohammed Gaddafi fell because of undue foreign intervention or how he himself was the victim, in 2004, of a coup attempt carried out by European mercenaries, Nick Dutoit and Simon Mann. It was a cowardly attempt to which Equatorial Guinea was saved thanks, in part, to the prompt intervention of Angola and Zimbabwe.

However, President Obiang’s strong pan-African sentiment has emerged on everything. The donation of the CISSA building to all the other African states is in fact the latest in a series of gestures made by the leader of Equatorial Guinea in this direction. From the donation of two million euros to Guinea, afflicted in 2014 and 2015 by Ebola, to the financing of the UNESCO Equatorial Guinea Prize, which brought aid to Somalia and other African countries in difficulty. All these are very concrete gestures that Teodor Obiang has made to publicly support the need to give Africa common projects that strengthen both its feelings of brotherhood and its desire for growth. For this reason also the donation of the CISSA Palace should be seen as a historic gesture, the laying of a milestone towards the construction of a new Africa.

But Teodoro Obiang’s attitude of subsidiarity and aid to countries experiencing difficult times is not limited to Africa alone. During the inauguration ceremony of the new CISSA headquarters, the President of Equatorial Guinea announced that he had made a concrete contribution of one million dollars to China, now so badly affected by the Coronavirus. This is a symbolic gesture, but one that is intended to underline the recognition and support for a country that has contributed enormously to supporting African economies. Obiang had also distinguished himself in the past for having made a contribution during the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and for the creation of a 30 million Euro Fund managed by FAO.

(Associated Medias / Giut)