Just when you think Robbie Mugabe is stealing the Wicked Witch of the West's best lines lately, I can do you one evil do-er better. I'll bet a fiver that you've never even heard of him.
Mugabe may win for the best baddie this week, but nobody says a peep about the bundle of joy who truly deserves the title of Africa's worst leader, hands down.
Meet Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the resident dictator of Equatorial Guinea.
His credentials? Obiang seized power in 1979 by killing his own uncle, a man who was even creepier than the current "democratically elected" despot. Uncle Francisco Macias Nguema broke away from Spain and declared independence in 1968.
Quite the darling, Nguema had a habit of sticking his enemy's heads on a pole and parading them through the streets. One third of the population died or fled.
Those opponents who unhappily remained were greeted by torture in the sports stadium on his birthday while the song Those Were the Days drowned out their screams.
Nguema taught his nephew well. When the tyrant-in-waiting caught his uncle trying to flee into the jungle with a suitcase of foreign cash, Obiang put his elder on trial in a cage suspended above 1500 spectators in a rundown cinema, then sentenced him to death 101 times. Obviously, 100 times didn't do the job.
Obiang grabbed his uncle's extensive collection of skulls to make sure he inherited his rellie's magical powers for torture. And inherit those powers he did.
"El Libertador" as he now calls himself, is a comic-book villain come to life. Severo Moto, an exiled politician, told Spanish radio that Obiang once proudly "devoured" a police commissioner, literally. This official was buried without his brain or his testicles. Livers seem to go missing too.
In short, not the kind of place you want to lose your passport.
Why should we care? Obviously, nobody else seems to. This tiny nation of roughly 600,000 people limped along with their cocoa exports before that magnificent natural cash machine - oil - was discovered offshore.
In one decade the country has become sub-Saharan Africa's third largest crude exporter, pumping out US$3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) a year. With that kind of cash, Equatorial Guinea now has the fourth highest income per head in the world. Cue an Emirates-like transformation with a BMW for every man and his dog, right?
Think again. The first wave of oil revenues, about US$700 million, was conveniently shuffled to a bank in Washington DC into accounts under Obiang's personal control. You can guess what followed.
Most of his good people today have never seen a penny of that cash, with nearly half of all children under 5 still suffering from malnutrition, lack of clean water and basic sanitation.
A US investigation eventually busted Washington's Riggs Bank for money-laundering millions, but Obiang was never charged.
In fact, his political timing was impeccable. In 2006, he was even invited to Washington to meet US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice who called him "a good friend".
With friends like these who needs - well - Dr Evil. Apparently, a lot of us do.
Africa is expected to provide almost 25 per cent of America's oil imports by 2015. China is clamouring for a bigger piece of Africa's energy pie too. It's funny how oil can buy a lot of silence from those waiting in line to grab a piece of their pie.
American oil companies swarmed in, quickly investing more than US$10 billion to extract their black gold.
By 2005, journalist Peter Maass of Mother Jones Magazine would write of watching not just soldiers and locals march in Obiang's Independence Day parade, but also delegations carrying both American flags and those of Exxon, Chevron, Marathon and Halliburton.
This Mad Magazine parody of an oil kleptocracy has lived almost completely under the news radar. That is until Margaret Thatcher's son, Mark 'Scratcher', as his now imprisoned cohort Simon Mann nicknamed him, tried to allegedly pull Obiang down in a coup attempt in 2004. Thatcher got off with a fine. Simon Mann didn't fare as well. He's currently lounging in Equatorial Guinea's notorious Black Beach prison.
So today, as we siphon through the bad news in Zimbabwe, completely ignoring the millions pouring out of the rightful pockets of impoverished, tortured and silenced Equatorial Guineans, do raise a toast to one of the hapless old dogs of war, Sir Mark Thatcher, perhaps the last throwback to a more quaint imperialism.
The only time the rape of the Equatorial Guinean people ever sneaked on to our headlines was when good Sir 'Scratcher' managed to get himself set free.
Comfortably, Sir Mark still dabbles in what he refers to as "oil futures" - as do we all, in one way or another.By Tracey Barnett Email Tracey