They all have a little something in common, presidential vacancies or candidacy. If its one thing these fellas have its money, and they probably spend more of it on their birth dates, than most do on their weddings. However, their overly extravagant spending coupled with their contradictory behaviors, leave a lot to be questioned regarding their characters. Does this demand some sort of implied requirement from anybody vying for presidency, or is this immense spending giving African leaders a bad name?
Mugabe: The most recent and controversial birthday party yet. Mugabe, besides being the president of Zimbabwe, is known for his extravagant birthday parties. His 92nd birthday was no exception as he spent a whooping Kshs 80 million celebrating the same. Accompanied by his wife, Mugabe released 92 balloons into the air to start the event at the Great Zimbabwe monument. This is not the first time the president has spent money of this magnitude celebrating his date of birth. Last year, his birthday comprised of slaughtered Elephants for the feast with seven huge cakes on display. One particular cake was a 91-kilogram creation, which portrayed the spectacular Victoria Falls.
These parties have caused annual controversy in Zimbabwe. With the current droughts afflicting the country, Mugabe has been criticized for hosting lavish parties at the expense of his people who face food shortages. “The obscenity of this particular exercise is that he throws this bash not just based on public funds…but he does it in one of the worst-affected drought-stricken parts of the country”, says Eddie Cross, an MP for the MDC.
Steve Mbogo: Featured on several newspapers and articles towards the end of Last Year, Steve Mbogo was not afraid to show off his vast wealth, spending up to KShs 10 million on his 29th birthday. The two-phased party started late in the afternoon with an exclusive all-black party at the Rogue Deck, and an all-white all-night long after-party at the Dusit Lounge later in the evening with his birthday cake taking the form of gold plates stacked over each other. The party was said to market himself as he attempted to vie for presidency in 2017.
But where does this young fellow get so much money at such a young age, is what is on everyone’s mind. His attempt to become Kenya’s next president contradicts his rumored unsavory activities, including what is believed to be drug dealing, gold trading, and other illegal methods of making quick money. His questionable actions leave many uncertain of his legitimacy.
Paul Ongili: Otherwise known as Babu Owino, another candidate who is also trying to market himself for presidency in 2027. Babu Owino is the current Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) chairman, who owns sleek cars including a Range Rover and Mercedes Benz. But if that wasn’t enough, he went on to spend KSh 14 million on his birthday party on October 10, 2015. KSh 1.75 million was apparently set aside for travel and accommodation costs for vibrant South African youth leader Julius Malema and his delegation to attend the party held at a private residence in Karen. The party was a meeting among sponsors who would support and fund his campaign.
Besides his lavish lifestyle, Babu is known for his controversial statements, particularly on Twitter. An example being his letter to the USA ambassador concerning president Obama’s visit in 2015. The letter read, “So far, at least 18 UoN students have promised to commit suicide if president Barrack Obama doesn’t visit UoN”. Should we be concerned about our future presidential candidates?