Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema reportedly told his former Zimbabwe counterpart Robert Mugabe he should count himself lucky he’s still alive after last year’s military operation that saw him forced out.
Obiang, who has been in power since 1979, was in Zimbabwe for a two-day state visit during which he paid a visit to Mugabe, 94, at his Harare mansion.
‘I will die here’
“You must be thankful my brother that these people left you alive and you are still at your home,” a source quoted Obiang as telling Mugabe, according to the private Standard newspaper.
The Equatorial Guinea president and Mugabe became close friends in 2004 after Harare intercepted a band of mercenaries on its way to Malabo to topple Obiang’s government.
Obiang offered Mugabe sanctuary in his central African country if the 94-year-old no longer felt welcome in Zimbabwe, the Standard said. But Mugabe reportedly replied: “This is my home, I will die here. I will visit you as and when I want to but I will never abandon my people.”
Mugabe reportedly told Obiang that his family was the subject of harassment by Mnangagwa’s government.
“He spoke of how the military and other spy agencies were busy spying on his family, those who work for him being subjected to questioning again and again and to some extent his freedom being curtailed,” the source told the Standard.
Obiang’s meeting with Mugabe was also attended by Zimbabwe’s foreign minister, Sibusiso Moyo and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who played key roles in Operation Restore Legacy, the military takeover in November that led to Mugabe being persuaded to resign.
Before he left on Friday Obiang told state media his visit had “afforded me the opportunity to know the new members of government and establish a common understanding“.