A good number of African Presidents are teetotalers. They stay away from the potent liquids to maintain the sobriety needed to run their countries. However there are a few who are known to perform better with some ‘liquid entertainment’. Below is a list of 5 African presidents who occasionally imbibe alcohol with varied effect.
1. Goodluck Jonathan
In May 2013, while on a visit to Ethiopia for the 50th anniversary summit of the OAU (Yes it’s that far back…OAU is now AU) in Addis Ababa, the then Nigerian leader missed his slot to address the conference because he was too drunk to walk. Apparently he had spent the entire night drinking after he received some not so good news about a state election loss back in Nigeria. Jonathan lost his seat to Mohamed Buhari in April this year.
2. Uhuru Kenyatta
Well, he loves whisky and that’s no secret. Kenya’s president once gave a public speech while visibly inebriated. He made the (in)famous phrase “security begins with you” during that speech which was in response to criticism against his government’s perceived failure to tackle growing insecurity. His handlers would have us believe that the red eyes we regularly see on Kenya’s 4th president are as a result of him spending sleepless presidential nights working. But we know different.
3. Mwai Kibaki
Mwai Kibaki – Courtesy The Star
In his hey day as cabinet minister in Daniel Moi’s government, Mwai Kibaki was a regular drinker. He is known to have frequented various entertainment spots, the most popular being Silent Lodge in Othaya where he is said to have regularly enjoyed some White Cap. He however was forced to quit the habit following a serious motor accident as he campaigned for president in 2002. Kibaki served two terms as President between 2002 and 2013.
4. Edgar Lungu
Courtesy The StarPatriotic Front (PF) Presidential candidate Edgar Lungu speaks at a rally in Lusaka January 19, 2015. Lungu’s rapid rise from backroom politician to presidential front-runner in one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets has revealed tactical nous and a steely determination that few knew lay beneath his quiet exterior. Zambians go to the polls on January 20, 2015 following the death of President Michael Sata in October 2014.
In March this year, less than two months after taking over from Michael Sata who died in office, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu collapsed on the podium while presiding over a Women’s Day celebration in Lusaka. While his office blamed a bout of malaria and diabetes for his fall, sources close to the president intimated that his over indulgence in alcohol could have been the cause.
5. Milton Obote
The man who led Uganda to independence in 1962 from British colonialists served as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1966 then as President from 1966 to 1971, then again from 1980 to 1985. Apollo Milton Obote died in 2005. Media reports claim he died of a stroke, or anaemia, or liver damage, or kidney failure. Other reports however indicate that his death could have been alcohol-related. Obote was well known for alcoholism. President Yoweri Museveni makes reference to Obote’s drinking habits in his biography Sowing The Mustard Seed.