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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Cuts Short Holiday to See Equatorial Guinea Leader

SW Radio Africa (London)

Tichaona Sibanda

10 January 2012

ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe cut short his leave in the Far East to rush back to Harare and meet the Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Obiang was on his way back home when he stopped over in Harare from South Africa where he had attended the ruling African National Congress’ centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein.

While in South Africa Obiang met with President Zuma, who is also the SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. Obiang is currently the chairman of the African Union (AU).

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said the meeting between Zuma and Obiang may have centered on proposals to discuss plans for the special Zimbabwe summit, on the sidelines of an AU summit due at the end of this month.

Last week SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao told the Daily News that dates for a summit on Zimbabwe would be agreed at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, due to run from 21-28 January.

An analyst told us Mugabe rarely cuts short his holidays to attend a meeting with a fellow Head of State when an acting President was on standby.

‘It is obvious the meeting, which lasted almost six hours, also looked at how both SADC and AU might help resolve the never ending crisis in Zimbabwe. Obiang met Zuma and the two exchanged notes on Zimbabwe and it was important for him to relay whatever message he got from the South African President to Mugabe personally,’ the analyst said.

If this is the case then Mugabe is once again completely ignoring the fact that there is a unity government, as MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was clearly not involved in these discussions.

Bilateral relations between Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe were strengthened in 2004 when Zimbabwean state security agents arrested British mercenary Simon Mann and 69 others, who were on their way to join a coup attempt against Obiang in the oil-rich West African country.

The two leaders have also ruled their countries with an iron first for more than 30 years each. Obiang took power in Equatorial Guinea in a 1979 coup, while Mugabe is Africa’s third-longest-serving leader, having ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.

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