Abject poverty in any country is rooted in multiple socio-economic causes and is a complex issue.
But if one had to trace the perpetual droughts, the severe unemployment, and the starvation in pockets of Zimbabwe to one cause, it could possible be because the country's president spends MASSIVE amounts of money on cakes and birthday parties.
President Robert Mugabe recently celebrated his 92nd birthday. Instead of staying at home and ruminating on exactly what is wrong with his rule, he decided to throw the largest bash in town because frankly, you only turn 92 once.
Now, Mugabe could have thrown the party anywhere, especially at his magnificent 25-bedroom palace. But he decided to run irony over with his motorcade and have the bash in Masvingo, a drought-stricken province that has been the hit the hardest by parched conditions in southern Africa.
While people suffered, Mugabe and his cronies stuffed their faces with cake.
Speaking of cake, there was a lot of it.
There was also replica of the party venue, and a U.N. heritage site — the great Zimbabwe ruins.
And one that looked like the map of Africa.
Sometimes the president’s wife Grace butchered the cakes.
But other times, the president himself leaned in to blow out the candles.
There was a forced air of revelry as the president’s heavily armed guards stood in stark contrast to the celebrations.
Mugabe, eloquent as always, derided western countries for attaching impossible conditions to aid, like legalization of gay marriages.
"If aid, as I understand, is to be given on the basis that we accept the principle of gay marriages, then let that aid stay where it is," Mugabe said. "We don't want it. It is rotten aid, filthy aid and we won't have anything to do with it."
No aid organization is known to have attached such conditions.
Not very far away from these massive festivities, the people of Masvingo were suffering as usual.
While cattle died of hunger in Masvingo, Mugabe donated 300 cattle to the African Union, conveniently ignoring the more urgent problems at home.
The world needs saner leaders.