The discovery of oil on the island of Malabo has seriously helped transformed the country’s infrastructure.
For those who have been to Europe or America, arriving in Equatorial Guinea one cannot help notice the difference.
Impressive are the state of their roads, the housing and electricity supplies.
Our tour of duty in the Central African country was indeed an eye-opener to those who have progressive minds.
Zimbabwean security forces were requested by the Equatorial Guinea government to provide protection for VIPs during the Africa Cup of Nations where other states like South Africa and Angola where also doing similar services. As a photojournalist I was privileged to be part of the counter- terrorism team.
The Zimbabwe Commando counter-terrorism contingent, as it was affectionately known, shone as always, exhibiting the highest standards of discipline, professionalism and expertise.
The presence of the Zimbabweans changed the game. They became the talk of town as they patrolled the streets of Malabo just before the start of the soccer tournament.
It is in Zimbabwe that the former British Special Air Service officer Simon Mann and his team were intercepted at Harare International Airport while en route to Equatorial Guinea to stage a coup on President Teodoro Obiang Nguema thus the presence of Zimbabwean forces in Equatorial Guinea brought back good memories to the citizens and they felt secure.
Zimbabwe continues to leave an unforgettable mark wherever it goes, for example in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is three times our size, our forces were stretched but they made it look like a city from the way they protected it.
In this area of defence and security Zimbabwe is one of the few nations, if the truth be told, as shown by our history, to be a notch above the rest.
We can teach many countries a lot when it comes to security and defence matters.
However, as a nation we also have a lot to learn from other countries especially those that have been regarded as poor and undeveloped but upon discovery of precious resources they managed to transform the social needs of their citizens.
The Zimbabwean contingent were divided into two so as to be able to secure the island capital city of Malabo and mainland cities of Mongomo, Bata and Ebibeyin where AFCON games were played.
I must confess, what we saw does not just need to be seen and ignored, it need to be copied for the benefit of the whole nation.
I was part of the contingent which went to the mainland and at first I was disappointed to have been selected to leave the capital city Malabo because I thought that is where life is, that is where the best infrastructure is but I later realised I was mistaken
We were based in Mongomo and would constantly travel to Bata and Ebibeyin. The distance from Mongomo to Bata is 200 kilometres by road but it would just take us one and half hours because of the quality of the road which has dual lanes of highly compacted tar.
We could afford to travel at 160 kilometres per hour without fear of swerving off the roads or crashing into oncoming traffic. We all marvelled at such national development and we were proud to be securing such a country.
This is a country which was hardly known. Many people can easily confuse Equatorial Guinea with Guinea which is close to Sierra Leone.
Wherever we went to, we could see massive housing construction projects being undertaken and this is a country with a population of less than one million.
I wondered who will stay in these blocks of flats being constructed and wished it were in Zimbabwe that such projects were undertaken.
The streets are well lit and electricity is in abundance, we literally forget that this is the resource we so much treasure back home and the Equatorial Guinea citizens do not seem to know how blessed they are with such infrastructure.
In Zimbabwe, we have diamonds, gold, platinum, chrome just to mention a few but we do not seem to have anything to show for it in terms of infrastructure. Our roads are so pathetic and the national housing backlog is so huge that many have since lost hope of ever getting accommodation. Where exactly are we missing the point?
It is the dressing of their women that also attracted the Zimbabwean contingent.
They so much love to wear miniskirts, maybe it is because of the hot humid weather that characterises the Equator region because even school- children wear such and the males there are so disciplined or are used to such type of dressing.
You can never see or hear them jeer or suggestively looking at a female wearing her miniskirt.
I then was reminded of a case which is still with our courts where touts at Fourth Street in Harare stripped an otherwise decently dressed young lady. I then wondered how they would be able to live in this part of world where miniskirts are the order of the day.
The miniskirt are so short to the extent that when one drops something, she might not bend without exposing herself but surprisingly the males in this part of the world are not even moved by such, they can look at it but never say a word, let alone jeer like we do here.
By: John Manzongo