For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Oct 27th 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE OCTOBER 25-31,2014 VII n p≥esidents and thei≥ families and last month, the president was in China asking for a bailout as the country no longer qualifies for World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans. According to Forbes, the average salary in Zimbabwe stands at $250 but Cabinet ministers’ salaries top $40,000 a month. The World Banks’ latest poverty index report says that 72 per cent of Zimbabweans live on less than a $1 a day, and 60 per cent have no access to clean water, while the economy is shrinking. In the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index, Zimbabwe was ranked 156 out of 187 countries, and described as a low-income and food-deficit country. Despite Equatorial Guinea being one of the world’s top 30 oil producing countries, a baby born in this country has a slim chance of survival as Unicef estimates that 20 per cent of children die before reaching the age of five. Over 60 per cent of the population lives in poverty, the average cost of health care is about $60, average wage is at $186 and more than half the population have no access to clean drinking water. Transparency International, the corruption watchdog has put Equatorial Guinea in the top 12 of its list of most corrupt states while a United States Senate investigation into the Washington-based Riggs Bank found that President Obiang’s family had received huge payments from US oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Amerada Hess. In 2012, the New York Times re- presented by Comal Augustine Chihe newlyweds with nction was graced oner Koffi Olomide, hara and the Soweto ho were paid thouo provide the enter- mer finance minisni recently revealed Minister for Local atius Chombo, Com- missioned two statues of Mugabe to be built by North Korea at a combined cost of $5 million. One of the statues will be 30-feet high, made of bronze worth $3.5 million. It will be erected in the capital Harare; while the second statute, which will cost $1.5 million, will be erected in the proposed $3.8 million museum to be built in Mugabe’s rural Zvimba home. Despite this lavish spending, Zimbabwe is $11 billion in loan arrears, ported that US police had seized assets belonging to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the president’s son. Among the seized items were a $2 million wine collection, a $180 million building in Paris thought to have 101 rooms, including a Turkish bath, a hair salon, two gym clubs, a nightclub, a movie theater and furniture worth $50 million. Also seized were 11 luxury cars considered to be among the world’s most expensive — they included two Bugatti Veyrons, a Maybach, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari Enzo, a Ferrari 599 GTO, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Maserati MC12. As at June 2013, the US Justice De- partment claimed that the younger Obiang had spent $315 million on properties and luxury goods between 2004 and 2011, buying private art col- Above: A luxurious private jet, the type beloved by presidents’ children. Left: Presidents Dos Santos of Angola and Teodoro Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. Picture: File ur o c nt s w t O e ’s h pr re ministry on on hosting c figures to talk t. Amongst were former Olesegun ed Nations’ s representative Anstee and resident Sam lections, the world’s most expensive wines, a $3.7 million clock, a Gulfstream jet, and spending $2 million on Michael Jackson memorabilia. The amount Teodoro spends on luxury is equating to three times the country’s combined budget for health and education. In the same neighbourhood, de- spite Gabon being the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, a third of the country’s 1.5 million population live on less than $1 dollar a day, yet President Ali-Ben Bongo and his father the late Omar Bongo have amassed wealth running into billions of dollars. According to the Guardian, Presi- Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of President Dos Santos. Forbes named her the riches woman in Africa. Picture: File dent Bongo has dozens of luxury homes in places like the French Riviera and a $120 million 14-bedroom town house in Paris. During an investigation with kickbacks-related charges, French prosecutors found the Bongo family owned 33 properties in France alone, including a $27 million villa. At one time, Ali-Ben Bongo’s wife, Inge, appeared on a US reality television show, Really Rich Real Estate, shopping for a $25 mil- lion mansion in California. Before his father’s death, President Ali-Ben Bongo was the minister of defence, while his sister, Pascaline was the head of the Cabinet. Her husband, Paul Toungui, was minister of finance. Despite the country’s billions of dollars worth of oil revenues, Gabon, is said to have fewer kilometres of tarmac road compared with the thousands of kilometres of oil pipelines, showing how this wealth has been skimmed off the public coffers. Internationally, Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines has been synonymous with wealth, greed and excess. According to the BBC, Mrs Marcos amassed a huge collection of art, jewellery, property and at least 1,000 pairs of shoes during her husband’s 20 years at the helm. Among her art collections were paintings by Michelangelo, van Gogh, Cezanne, Rembrandt and Rafael. She also owned palatial homes in the US and the Philippines; silver tableware, gold necklaces and diamond tiaras. By the time her husband was ousted through a revolution in 1986, her estimated wealth stood at $10 billion.
Oct 20th 2014
Nov 3rd 2014