NAIROBI, Kenya — Two of Africa's leading pariahs held a surprise get-together this week when Equatorial-Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema stopped by Zimbabwe to meet with Robert Mugabe.
Both men have ruled with an iron fist for decades but their friendship was sealed when Zimbabwe scuppered a coup attempt against Obiang and arrested the mastermind, Simon Mann, a former SAS soldier.
"Our countries enjoy strong links, which are deeply rooted much more after Zimbabwe assisted in foiling an attempted coup in our country in 2004 and that brought us closer," Obiang told reporters after the meeting.
Mugabe, 87, who is believed to suffering from ill health, made no public statement.
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Equatorial-Guinea is oil-rich but its people remain dirt poor while the president, his family and close associates live in luxury.
Obiang overthrew his own uncle in 1979 and has ruled ever since.
Lately he has been trying to clean-up his image: he is the current chair of the African Union and his country is about to co-host a continental football team but an attempt to sponsor a UNESCO prize to be named in his honor was derailed by human rights activists.
A visit to Mugabe will hardly help his cause.