Social media users are filled with side-by-sides of a thin Rwandan Paul Kagame next to his counterpart of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. Still, President Félix Tshisekedi is not the most overweight president that the Africans have seen.
Here we look at the top two of the most obese African presidents in history (politely sorted not by weight).
Idi Amin of Uganda (1925 – 2003)
Idi Amin was the former President of Uganda, starting from 1971 to 1979. His regime was marked with brutal crimes against humanity made him one of the deadliest dictators in history. Over three decades, Amin rose through the military ranks, and in 1971 he overthrew the Ugandan leader and declared himself president.
He ruled for eight years, but during his eight-year reign, Amin claimed responsibility for the extrajudicial executions and genocide of half a million Ugandans. He enjoyed a lavish and extravagant lifestyle while his people suffered from a collapsing economy.
After being overthrown in 1979, Amin fled from Uganda. He was 78-years-old and camped in Saudi Arabia when he died of kidney failure in 2003.
How can one be overweight in the 1970s in Uganda: matoke or matooke is Uganda’s national dish. This steamed and mashed green banana is considered one of the oldest foods in the world. Overall, Ugandan cuisine has English, Arabic, and Indian influences. Local products include beans, peanuts, plantains, and sweet potatoes. And Uganda is an excellent place for crispy, fried grasshoppers. Fun fact: Idi Amin is well-known for practicing cannibalism.
Laurent Kabila of Congo (1939 – 2001)
The former president Laurent Kabila was the third president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). In 1960, during the Congo crisis, he helped organize a revolutionary army, but the rebellion failed. The then-president, corrupt and murderous Joseph Mobutu (also known as Mobutu Sese Seko) finally became president of Congo via a coup in 1965.
In 1967, Kabila founded another group, the People’s Revolutionary Party. He spent two decades amassing enormous wealth through extortion and theft. Although Kabila was thought to have died in 1988, he reappeared in 1996 to start the First Congo War.
In 1997, he succeeded and overthrew Mobutu and remained in power until 2001. His leadership was criticized, and he was nicknamed “another Mobutu”. In early 2001, the 61-year-old man was murdered by one of his bodyguards.
How can one gain weight in Congo in the 1990s: Congolese cuisine usually consists of starchy spices combined with vegetables and meat to create a stew. And green vegetables, fish and rice, fermented bread with spicy sauces make complete tasty meals. Only a small part of the land is used for farming, and the climate differs greatly from one end of the republic to the other. Fun Fact: Laurent Kabila killed animals and smuggled ivory.