State radio: President 'has all power over men and things'
Weblog has heard reports of state radio's boosterism in various countries, but few have gone this far. Those listening to the weekly program Bidze-Nduan (Bury the Fire) on the state radio station of the small West African country of Equatorial Guinea heard it call President Teodoro Obiang Nguema "the country's God," according to the BBC, The Star of South Africa, and other news reports.

Actually, the radio broadcast seemed to be of two minds on the divinity of Nguema, who came to power in a 1979 coup and has, according to the BBC, one of the worst human rights abuse records in Africa. At times, it called him God, and at other times it suggested he was merely God's agent. But the difference seems to have been lost on whoever wrote the script, which was delivered in the ethnically dominant Fang language.

Nguema, the broadcast said, is "in permanent contact with the Almighty," and "like God in heaven. He has all power over men and things…. He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself, with whom he is in permanent contact, who gives him this strength."

A head of state comparing himself thusly to God is not without precedent, of course, but what sets Equatorial Guinea apart from Caligula's Rome is that it's a dominantly Christian country. More than 95 percent of the country is Christian, the vast majority (85%) being Roman Catholic (from its nearly 200 years as a Spanish colony).

Will the local Christians react? If so, they risk serious persecution. Political prisoners, says the U.S. State Department, are regularly tortured and beaten, and sometimes killed.

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