Saturday, February 03, 2007

... there's something about African Heads of State

... well, some of em anyway. I'm sure you will remember the South African President's ruminations about HIV being not the cause of AIDS, and it all being a nasty conspiracy of white supremacists aimed at denigrating black men. Anyway, Thabo Mbeki has since been engaged in a bitter race towards the ultimate goal, namely the title of 'Nuttiest President on the African Continent'. His most recent efforts in that regard are not focused anylonger on AIDS, he has moved on to suggesting crime isn't that serious a problem in South Africa (population: about 40 million, annual number of murders: 18,000). Another serious contender for the covetted title was for awhile his that-time Deputy President Jacob Zuma. Zuma thought nothing of having unsafe sex with a woman he knew to be HIV infected. Incidentally that woman was not one of his wives (plural, odd, I know) and claimed to have been raped by Zuma. Zuma decided to take serious efforts at post exposure prophylaxis in form of ... guess what ... a shower. Yep, Zuma thought if he washed himself properly his chances of contracting HIV would be reduced. Truly challenging to determine whether Mbeki is ahead or whether Zuma is currently the frontrunner.

My apologies, I have to concede that I kind of digress. I really wanted to tell you about another serious African presidential contender for the title of 'Nuttiest President on the African Continent'. I'm talking about the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. He claims (yep, proudly on the record) that he is capable of curing AIDS within three days. I understand he was offered a place in various local psychiatric hospitals but he declined, obviously worried that he might have to share a room some time down the road with Thabo Mbeki, or (scary thought) Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Mbeki's Minister for Health Prevention.

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