South Africa approved a 4.5% salary increase for President Jacob Zuma who will now earn a solid R2 874 851 ($188 649). This increment came amid unapologetic resistance from the opposition parties, mainly the DA and EFF whose line of argument is simply, “He does not deserve it!” Interestingly, everyone else in government is getting the increase but it seems the one target was President Zuma mainly for his Nkandla scandal. Now, here is the catch; the increase will be backdated to April 1 last year. That is something to talk about isn’t it? President Zuma will effectively get R7 876 per day which translates to about $517, all in a day’s work. That is how much you get for leading one of Africa’s economic powerhouses. It is unfortunate that due to the weak rand the money seems less impressive but this is some real cash the President is getting. This development inspired us to make a top five list for the Highest paid Presidents in Africa. This list is however not half the indication of how much the Presidents actually get as allowances and other perks are not included in the metrics. It might look materially different if those are factored in but Presidents guard their income details jealously for reasons we all know.
5) Teodoro Nguema, Equatorial Guinea
Estimated to be around $150 000
It is hard to talk about the Equatorial Guinea without being tempted to suffix it with “of Mbasogo”. President Mbasogo is the longest serving President in Africa and also happens to be one of the best paid. Africa Review could not verify the highly guarded particulars of his salary but estimated him to be pocketing an official $150 000. This is absolute change when one remembers how his son was said to have spent $315 million on property between 2004 and 2011. His is a ridiculously rich family whose wealth can only be matched by its greed.
4) Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria
Earns about $168 000
Bouteflika has been premier of Algeria since 1999 and is rewarded for its efforts with a fat $168 000 which is twelve times the salary of an ordinary Algerian worker. We hope he has been doing right by Algerians but reports say his health is failing him and power has been usurped in a soft coup by his brother Said Bouteflika. We wonder if Said is now pocketing the six figures too since it is claimed he is the de facto leade. One then wonders who fired the chief of intelligence, Mohamed Mediene-Toufik, a man known for his exceptional manipulative and oppressive skills. If it was Said Bouteflika, then he deserves the salary as he seems to be on a cleansing mission of the state apparatus.
3) Jacob Zuma, South Africa
Earns about $188 649
The South African premier is contrary to popular belief actually third in the top paid rankings. His story is one that EFF and DA, the main opposition parties in South Africa, know too well. They feel he is being paid and rewarded for the dysfunction in the State and he should clean up before getting paid. After the exposure of the Nkandla developments which took millions from the public coffers, one wonders just how many little Nkandlas Zuma may have built without the knowledge of the people.
2) King Mohammed VI, Morocco
Earns about $480 000
He is Africa’s wealthiest monarch with an estimated net worth of $2 billion. He earns a lot of money because he is king and no one questions that because he is king and kings can pocket absurdly high figures without raising eyebrows. Any reaction that opposes the king can land people in prison and on the balance of probabilities, it is certainly wiser to tolerate the insanity in the form of the salary than be arrested for not agreeing.
1) Paul Biya, Cameroon
Earns around $610 000
President Biya is said to be the highest paid African Head of State. He has been in power since 1982 like the rest of his acolytes in African politics. He earns 229 times what an ordinary citizen earns in his country and we do not even want to imagine the kinds of perks he gets behind the scenes.
Clearly Leaders can be the greatest looters especially when they live in the clouds of provision while the rest of the country is 229 times worse off. However, some leaders like Cape Verde’s Joao Carlos Fonseca have been known to turn down pay-rises. Take a cue Africa, do not lead the extortionist agendas of the day when you get into office. Just how much is enough when the State is catering for your every need during your tenure? Is enough even enough for this crop of leadership? We will never know.
Image Credit: Quora