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Love in the times of plenty: How the Gates came asunder

EDITORIAL
By Peter Kimani | May 7th 2021
Bill and Melinda Gates [Courtesy]

Bill and Melinda Gates are parting ways, and there’s quite a bit of money to share out.

It is in the region of $130 billion (no need to translate this into shillings, the zeroes will fill this whole page and possibly spill over), so let’s focus on other elements of their relationship.

But even that’s a little complicated; although they have been happily married for 27 years, Bill has been keeping a “long tradition” of holidaying with his ex-girlfriend, once a year. Her name is Ann Winblad, and she wields so much, the world’s richest man sought her approval before he proposed to Melinda!

Now now, why, in heaven’s name, would a man who loves two women, lives with one and occasionally sees the other, not be allowed to practice polygamy? I mean, if money doesn’t count, Gates owns plenty of land. We are not talking about quarter and one-eighth acre plots in Kamulu; he owns about 250,000 acres across 18 states of America.

That is, assuming that Melinda and Ann wouldn’t fit in his house, which is a modest house in suburban Seattle. It’s only seven-bedroom, which isn’t that many, come to think about it, since Bill and Melinda have three grown children, and who probably occupy a room each.

But the bathrooms are plentiful—nearly 20 in all, perhaps because the mansion has other amenities that would draw in the crowds, including a sauna and steam room, theatre, and a dining area that could sit 150 people. The exercise area alone comprises nearly 25,000 square feet. A maisonette in Nairobi’s Buru Buru is about 300 square feet.

Gates’ mansion matches the temple that the Biblical Solomon built for the Lord, by some measure—they both took seven years to complete. And if Solomon sourced choice materials from far and wide, Gate’s house was constructed using 500-year-old Douglas fir trees. And 300 men laboured daily on the project, 100 of them electricians.

The reason for the latter is that almost everything is automated. You can touch a button to change the painting on the wall; and a tilt of the head delivers your favourite song; a yawn possibly elicits your favourite drink or snack to pop out of the blue.

In spite of this utopian existence, there hasn’t been adequate doses of love in that house.

Bill and Melinda say “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple.”

Wow, what a revelation! With so much money in their accounts, the Gates’ biggest headache has been to find credible causes to donate to. Bill’s neighbour in Seattle, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $196 billion, also saw his wife, MacKenzie Scott, leave him for a science teacher. Perhaps Bill needs an early vacation this year. I’d have invited Melinda to visit, but there’s another Anne here!

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