The beautiful First Ladies probably become some kind of political bling, to make up for an autocrat’s democratic deficit. Democratic presidents, on the other hand, don’t need to put a shine on their legitimacy. They get it at the polls.
An interesting pattern emerges when you unscientifically categorise African First Ladies into two categories – whether they are ‘Beautiful’ or ‘Matronly’ and their husband’s politics into ‘Strongman leaning’ or ‘Democrats’. We’ll let you discover it for yourself.
A table of the number of public holidays per country turns out to be a tentative measure of religious tolerance in Africa. Christian-dominated nations are generous in giving Muslim holidays, Muslim-dominated ones, not so much.
It’s a hazard, but one good way to figure out if an African country has a high level of representation for women in official public life, is to check its attitude toward gays.
Religion (Islam) cannot be the reason why there are no Arab democracies. Perhaps the desert slows down the flow of enlightened ideas – and camels build a character of patience that autocrats are adept at exploiting.