In the dead of night last Thursday, British citizen and former SAS officer, Simon Mann was spirited away from a cell in Zimbabwe’s Chikurubi prison to face trial in Equatorial Guinea.  Britain’s Daily Mail reports that according to sources inside the (West African) country, “President Teodoro Obiang Nguema had promised his henchmen that once Mann was extradited he would be paraded in triumph to his palace to be personally sodomised by the president before being skinned alive”.

Quite why Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe, who is notoriously homophobic (he once said that gays and lesbians were “worse than pigs or dogs”), should have allowed someone to risk being sodomised by a fellow African president might be regarded as curious.  Is it because Nguema and Mugabe have so much else in common? 

Nguema has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979 – Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.  Both are brutal dictators who encourage savage treatment of prisoners, including anything from primitive beating to slightly more sophisticated torture by electricity.  (If Mann survives this welcome by the President, he will end up in the notorious Black Beach “hell-hole” prison.)  Both have signed up to (but not ratified) international environmental treaties including biodiversity, climate change and endangered species.  Both, especially Zimbabwe, have a poor record in most such issues.  Oh, and life expectancy at birth in both countries is among the lowest in the world – 39 years in Zimbabwe and 49 years in Equatorial Guinea…

But there’s one area where things are not the same; Equatorial Guinea is oil rich whereas Zimbabwe has no oil.  And it is rumoured that if Mugabe delivered Mann into his hands, Nguema agreed to supply oil to Zimbabwe’s cash strapped Mugabe.  Zimbabwe has a per-capita gross national product of $500 per annum (about the lowest in the world), compared with Equatorial Guinea’s per-capita GNP of $44,100 per annum, one of the highest in the world.  Not that the general population of Equatorial Guinea benefit in any way… (2007 GDP stats estimated by CIA.)

Simon Mann had been incarcerated at Zimbabwe’s notorious Chikurubi Prison since 2004, after being arrested with 67 other alleged mercenaries.  They were allegedly on their way to overthrow Nguema, and had stopped to load weapons at Harare international airport.  Mann and his comrades claim they were on their way to guard oil installations in Equatorial Guinea.  As a former soldier, I find it hard to understand why a former SAS officer and security expert would have risked openly loading arms at an International airport in Zimbabwe if he was planning a coup in another African country.  Was he lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that there was no extradition treaty between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea at the time?

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the daily grind of no fuel no electricity, no piped water… and decaying infrastructure continues.  Zimbabwe inflation has hit 26,740 percent – and the economy has shrunk ‘about 6 percent’ (Reuters).


Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email

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