|Corpulent as she's become, Salma Kikwete who's also an illiterate, too, likes pomp especially bling-bling and using state house to solicit dosh through her company WAMA|
|Illiterate Chantal Pulchérie Vigouroux Biya Cameroon's fist lady who's known for her taste of extravagance poses for photo ops at various occasions|
Africa might be referred to as a poor continent. Again, this is not the whole story of Africa whose first ladies recently, at the US-Africa summit, proved those thinking Africa is poor very wrong.
One paper had this to write after seeing how lavish, stylish and chic our first ladies are, “From high hair to status handbags, Africa’s first ladies use fashion to talk about the past and the future.” While their hubbies were talking about poverty and the way to make it history in Africa, their wives were displaying the goodies of sharing the bed with the presidents. They all wore expensive attires not to mention expensive handbags which the Washington Post described as thus, “If all those bags were authentic, there was at least $20,000 worth of internationally-recognized status on display in the form of satchels and shoppers.” Ironically, despite showing their fashionista savviness, their host Michelle Obama took a different approach. Instead of showing the might and pomp of the richest country on earth, she dressed a simple dress. What’s more, Obama chose a dress that was not even designed in Africa. The Washington Post had this to say, “Obama did not choose a dress created by an African-born designer.”
In a sense, for not choosing a dress created by an African-born designer Obama dead right. She opted for Nepal’s Prabal Gurung design. She truly showed the true taste of our first ladies as far as foreign fashion is concerned. Just like their hubbies, African first ladies like wearing expensive dresses designed in Paris, London, Washington and elsewhere but not Africa. The difference however is that Obama didn't like extravagance especially when it is done by the wives of presidents whose countries are renowned for begging chronic behaviour. Good news is that begging for their hubbies doesn't concerned first ladies who are firstly served by public coffers. You see. American journalists who don’t know Africa well were dumbfounded to find that a first lady can carry a $ 20,000 worth handbag. If anything, a twenty-grand handbag is the cheapest thing for our first ladies. If you count their bracelets, rings, trinkets, bijoux and other bling- bling they don on, surely you’ll die of shock. So for African first ladies to showcase their hardware’s something Africa should pride herself for. These first ladies and their families live in a paradise. However, it is surrounded by a sea of stinking poverty. Is it their business to care? If they do, they care about their yum-yum and high life.
First lady Bird Johnson (1912 - 2007) once said, “The First Lady is an unpaid public servant elected by one person - her husband.” This was then and it was in America. In Africa, first ladies are paid and they've a lot of power. Their husbands’ powers are theirs too. Once one shares a bed with the president, too, she’s to share his power. This is why first ladies decided to show the big man syndrome by displaying big lady syndrome in spending public monies. Sharing the bedroom with the big man makes them big too. They know the weakness of strong men so do their strength of weak men.
Essentially, African power’s built on trinity that revolves around Father or president, Son and First lady who acts as the gory ghost as far as spending’s concerned. There is an exception to every general rule. Guess what. East Africa lagged behind in this show of financial muscles, pomp, glamour and extravagance. The presidents of Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda didn't bring their wives with them to showcase their mighty. Rwandan president’s accompanied by his eye-catching daughter Ange who stole the show. Again, there were all sorts of first ladies, the fat, scraggy, gorgeous, illiterates, literates and whatnot. Apart from Nigerian Goodluck Johnson whose Patience wasn't seen at this extravaganza bonanza, every gentleman’s in an expensive suit, more expensive than the one Obama was in.
Ironically, while all this was going on, many Africans were dying from preventable diseases whose expenses are nothing compared to those their rulers incur on their coffers. Who care if at all power in African is about showing how powerful and expensive one is? In Africa, the powerful have more right than the powerless. Whatever they do is unquestionable. Otherwise, Africans would have been able to question all this pomp and extravagance whose bill they foot. Who told you that Africa is poor? For the rightest answer just ask or remind yourself of African First ladies at the US-Africa Conference that's just concluded in Washington recently where their hubbies were begging and kow tow for aids and monies to abuse and stash.
Source: Thisday Aug., 25, 2014.