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The World's 'Poorest President'

By Jelimo Chelagat and Sources Updated Wednesday, October 3rd 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3
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José Mujica, Uruguay's president [Photo: Courtesy]

By Jelimo Chelagat and Internet sources

While the title president is often synonymous with plush living and hefty paycheques, Uruguay’s head of state is contrasting the norm.

José Mujica who is commonly referred to as the “The World’s Poorest President” donates 90 per cent of his salary, taking home approximately Ksh105, 000 of his allotted Ksh1,050,000.

Speaking to a Spanish newspaper, the 77-year-old head of state explained that the amount he takes home is sufficient

"I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less," he told the paper.

Mujica also refused to live in the presidential residence, opting to reside in a small farmhouse owned by his wife. Like her husband, Mrs. Mujica donates a large sum of her senatorial salary.

The president, who was previously a guerilla fighter, has no bank account. When declaring his wealth, Mujica stated that his most valuable possession is his aged Volkswagen Beetle.

Known as a man who shuns formalities and high-end living, Mujica has endeared himself to many as a generous leader and a true man of the people.  After 10 years behind bars for his guerilla activism, Mujica has served as a senator and minister for agriculture.

Though José Mujica is not the first president to donate his salary, his move is a sharp contrast to the leaders in Kenya and other  who take home large salaries while the bulk of their constituents live below the poverty line.

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