Leaders were invited to the White House for the first ever US Africa summit
Included were dictators and despots with shocking human rights records
Obama’s speech barely acknowledged the oppression rife across Africa
Corey Charlton and Ted Thornhill
The Daily Mail
August 6, 2014
President Barack Obama drew the diplomatic line somewhere at the first ever U.S-Africa summit at the White House this week by not inviting Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator Robert Mugabe.
But the guest list still included several other African leaders with only slightly better human rights records.
The White House promoted the summit as the largest-ever gathering of African leaders in the United States, with more than 50 countries represented.
The red carpet was rolled out for Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who shot or jailed virtually all his political opponents, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, who threatened to ‘cut off the head’ of any homosexuals in the country and for Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has the dubious honor of ranking 19th on author David Wallechinsky’s 2006 list of the world’s 20 worst living dictators.
Many of the leaders were later photographed in the White House, posing for individual portraits with Obama and the First Lady.
The President’s opening speech avoided the prickly issues of homophobia and torture and instead sought out similarities between the two continents.
He opened with: ‘I stand before you as the president of the United States, a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa’.
Before going on to say: ‘Our faith traditions remind us of the inherent dignity of every human being and that our work as nations must be rooted in empathy and compassion for each other, as brothers and as sisters.’
Here we run the rule over nine of the most controversial leaders who enjoyed the lavish affair.
|President Blaise Compaore (With First Lady Chantal Compaore) of Burkina Faso seized power in a bloody coup|
|Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos (in Japan) Human rights groups claim his government has murdered many|
|Rwanda president Paul Kagame’s rule over his country has been notable for its restrictions on the press – (seen here at the White House on Tuesday with his daughter, Ange Ingabire Kagame)|
|Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta is embroiled in controversy over electoral violence|
|Alpha Conde – another leader with a dubious governance record – pictured arriving at the event held at the White House|
Since then he has won the yearly elections with 99% of the vote. Taking the lead from his uncle, he has since had shot or jailed virtually all political opponents and ruled the country with an iron fist. Despite running one of sub-Saharas biggest oil-producing countries and amassing a personal wealth in excess of an estimated $600million, he’s far from generous with his riches.
The average income of his citizens is $2 a day, few live beyond 53 and 20 per cent of children die before they reach five years of age. Last year the country ranked 163 out of 177 on Transparency International. There is no freedom of the press, the country’s one television station is government-run and clean water is scarce. In 2011, the United States’ Department of Justice made moves to seize more than $70 million in assets from President Obiang’s son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue.
Justice Department lawyers alleged Nguema, on top of his official government salary of $100,000, used his position to amass more than $100 million through corruption and money laundering, including a $30 million dollar mansion in Malibu, California, a $38.5 million Gulfstream jet and one of the world’s finest Michael Jackson memorabilia collections including the red and black ‘Thriller jacket’ and Jackson’s crystal-studded ‘Bad Tour’ glove worth more than $2m. He was also the focus of a corruption investigation in France who seized his 101-room Paris mansion, a collection of cars and other luxury assets. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Read Obama’s speech at the bottom of this page.