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Friday, February 21, 2020

The Obama Presidency—How will Africa Benefit?

General News The Obama Presidency—How will Africa Benefit?

A man in Lusaka shows off his Barack Obama placard
A man in Lusaka shows off his Barack Obama placard

By Wesley Ngwenya

Let me start by confessing that I was not particularly a Barack Obama fan but was rooting for Hillary Clinton until she refused to apologize, in a New Hampshire town hall meeting, for authorizing the war in Iraq. It was then that I switched camp and followed Obama’s democratic candidacy. I fell in love with the candidate and loved to listen to how he articulated issues. At one time I came close to attending his big announcement rally in Springfield, Illinois having been living in Indianapolis at the time.

That is all history now. Come January 2009 he will be the first black and white president United States of America has ever had. Yes, I have to remind you that Obama is not purely black. In fact, he was not raised as a typical African American kid. He was raised by his white mother and white grandparents. Nonetheless, he is the first president with a different color that the country has ever had. This is quite a milestone and deserves a bottle of champagne for especially the African American and Africans in Africa.

In Kisumu, Kenya , the hometown of Barack Obama’s father, there were celebrations for days. I hear the President there declared a holiday in honor of Obama’s victory. Even here in Lusaka, Zambia we had an Obama victory party. After all the hype and celebrations, I started asking myself questions like—Why are Africans so excited about Obama becoming president? Is it because we expect him to be our savior for the many troubles that we face here? Or is it because he has broken a ceiling and consequently inspired millions of us and we can equally shout yes we can?

Personally, I sympathize with Obama because he faces many challenges that his predecessors never faced in the United States. His expectations, I fear, are so high that after four or eight years it will seem like he never did anything at all. He has the global economic crisis on his shoulders, the war torn Somalia and Eastern Congo, there is Iraq and Afghanistan, North Korea, emerging super powers China, India and Russia. Obama’s to-do list is endless. Let’s not forget the racism and how blacks don’t have similar opportunities that their white counterparts have.

Obama’s expectations at home are as high as those abroad. Even after Obama takes over in January, African Americans, unfortunately, will still have to face the same challenges that they have been facing for over three hundred years. There will still be crime and poverty in Gary, Indiana. There will still be unemployment in Detroit, Michigan and the many white bosses will not be hiring anytime soon. On the highways, the state police will still enforce the Driving While Black law. Right in the soon to be Obama’s neighborhood—Washington DC, black schools have dilapidated infrastructure, overcrowded classroom with low paid teachers.

What therefore should Africans look forward to with a new administration in the United States? I say let’s forget about expecting anything from the Obama administration and continue with our own business. Besides, his laundry list is too long and it is bad manners to bother someone when they are busy. Even if Obama had to try and help Africa, in one way or another, it will be a daunting and dreading task since he has to deal with Africa’s finest leaders such as the Mugabes, Kibakis, Odingas, and Bandas.

Finally, although I was equally excited about Obama’s win, on the other hand, I was saddened because a week before we also had elections, here in Zambia, where we elected a president. The contrast though, is that here in Zambia there were no celebrations about the leader we elected—in fact, it was like a funeral. It is the trend across Africa. We have to blame ourselves for the endless problems we experience because our choice of leaders remains much to be desired. Maybe Obama is our consolation or we should just put Africa for sale. Hey, who knows the Americans maybe interested and we shall be the fifty first state. Even better we get to vote for an American president.

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  1. Obama my prayer is you tell Africa to fend for itself. It is time African leaders learnt to work for their people and not make themselvs rich because you will give to them.

  2. before I even read this article, excellent question # 1. thats exactly what was going through my head when i saw the title.

  3. Ppl lets stop expecting special favours from the Obama government.Lets work!!! I feel sorry for those Kenyans who are already making demands of development just because Obama’s father was their villagemate and really cringe at the hopes of the mayor of a Japanese town called Obama who looks forward to special relations between his town and the president-elect.I just wish ppl would realise that Obama is not the messiah who they think will right all the world’s wrongs.He’s just a politician like any other, making promises he doesnt intend to keep.I’m by no means saying he hasnt achieved what, only a few years ago, was possible in Dreamland.I’m just saying welcome to Reality-checkville.

  4. #4.Another Chizzy metal,nsimbi ni nsimbi atishani?Metal ni metal forever… metal forever…metal metal metal forever.Here man i’m still a metal.I’ll never go lust.

  5. It was good Obama won but i have been thinking to myself why people the world over had to celebrate especially Africans.Africans are an embarrassment to the entire world if i were Obama i would stay away.We always reap were we have not sown.What gives us the right to even celebrate Obamas victory when we allow these losers we call politicians to rule us.We are the only continent still fighting on tribal lines when are we going to cross the tribal line as obama did the colour bar?Dont expect anything from Obama he is definately not going to tell RB to reduce his bloated cabinet for instance.Lets learn to fend for ourselves.

  6. Wesley I know I read the article before, but for me its more about what the Obama Presidency symblises. Three things:

    1. Am endorsement on the black race- recall that were once the lslave race but now one of ours is the most powerfull man in the world.

    2. Possibilities- For me we whatever you set your heart to, you ca achieve despite of all the barriers that may befall you.

    3. The America democracy is a model for us all to follow.

  7. The problem with Africa is that we expect too much from out side. Obama may be of African origin but he is an American and a president of America no Africa. The Americans also expect too much from him so America is his priority. Africa lets get down to work than think we have a savior in Obama

  8. Africans you lazy lot. you always want to reap where you did not sow. Your corrupt and inept and greedy leadership has you done!

  9. OBAMA OMAMA OMAMA. Me as a coffe person i shall not xpect anything because i am not black. I see more truble. Aid will not be flowing as much because
    1. he will be accused of favouratism
    2.Global finacial titanic
    3.With the kind of selfish presidents we have i dont think any normal being would be willing to help.
    4. In some countries everyone is a millionier or billionier wat eva u call it. helping aba ma million nshamonapo lol

  10. Wesley Ngwenya,you are a dull writer and pathetic!

    -Obama is not God he has to sort out USA problems not africa
    -Africa has to sort out their corruption problems etc,not Obama.
    -Why do you want to depend on others all the time when africa has alot of resources?
    -Plse dont invite slavely cumn into Africa again by wanting to depend on white pipo
    Wesley i think you need to go back to school and get educated again if at all you can.

  11. Jelita please read the whole article before you comment.

    The person that needs education more than the writer of the article is you. What a wum you are.

  12. Wesley, what I can assure you is with Obama it is just a different face but same old bullsh!t. Obama is not going to make a good president and even you know it.

    The president America needed was one who was for the people and funded by the people and his name is RON PAUL. That is the best candidate America has ever had and America will regret the fact that they didn’t give this man the light of day.

    The same can be said in Zambia. In the previous election, it was clear to everyone that Hakainde Hichilema was the best candidate but Bemba tribalists who unfortunately have over crowded our urban cities/towns where kin on voting for someone who was part of a thieving regime. [tbc


  14. cont from #23]

    This however scared many other voters and instead of having the risk of voting for Hakainde Hichilema, they Voted for Rupiah Banda in an attempt to keep Sata from getting into power and fortunately it worked. I am not upset RB won because it kept Sata out.

    2011 if Sata will not stand, we shall get down to business. Just look at his current behaviour. The mealie meal crisis would have happened even if SATA won, what would he have done.

    He has been given an opportunity by Chituwo to offer solutions to the crisis but instead Mr Sata wants to riot. Someone should drop him off at his farm.

  15. ‘Come January 2009 he will be the first black and white president United States of America has ever had.’Wesley Ngwenya,kodi u meaning’a chiani?Pathetic writer!Shame on you!

  16. #23 Keen!

    Keep on dreaming. So Sata has to die for Hakainde to win?

    You should have asked your relatives to be brave and vote for HH. To be honest with you, we have been saved from the jaws of Tongas. I do not mind RB wining.

  17. Obama and America don’t owe Africa anything. I hope they watch the African rot with their Mugabes, Mbekis and Nguemas with their “African solutions to African problems”.

  18. A Tonga will always be Tonga learned or not. Thank God MMD will win again in 2011. The last thing our country needs is to have HH as president.

  19. #28. Ukondeisa.

    “So Sata has to die for Hakainde to win?”

    Oh my gosh, when did I say Sata has to die. That is the problem with Bembas, they lie a lot too. I said if Sata doesn’t stand, HH may win.

    And your insults to tongas do not apply to me. I am not tonga but I can assure you tongas contribute more to Zambia than bembas(no offence to nice bembas).

    Even that maize you are complaining about, most of it comes from Southern and Eastern Province.

  20. #31 Yeah right. I think you got me where you wanted. You win.

    But the fact is thank God HH didn`t win. Why do Tongas deny being Tonga on here?

    Hope this makes up for coming third.

  21. I agree with the most of you who say Africa has to sort out it’s own problems. Obama can’t solve African issues without us wanting to help each other (mean within one’s country). Think his priorities will be in at home and then Afghanistan and middle east.

    I wish Obama the best of luck as he enters office as the first black / white president in USA.

  22. Its high time Africa wake up from its slumber. We as Africans should expect much from within ourselves and not from other Continents.After all we are a rich continent all we need are good managers who are able to drive the continent forward. Even if Sata became US president today it still points to nothing.

  23. #1 that’s the same question that I wanted to ask as soon as I saw this headline.We are blessed with so many natural resources in africa,we have minerals like Gold,Diamonds,copper Platinum and many other natural resourse that are not even found in western countries but we still want to be given.Africa let’s wake up.

  24. #35 at times I sit down and ask myself. What does Africa need to wake up? We are rich with our minerals and yet we are exploited almost all the times. If not by the West then it is other african countries i.e. Mali and Senegal – emeralds. Now RB wants to bring Nigerians.

  25. Obama’s victory is a great inspirataion to many Africans. He is one of the rare positive role models that the black community so desparately needs. However, as role models only serve to inspire, we all have to work hard to achieve our own goals. It would be unfair and naive to expect anything more.

  26. Expecting Obama to solve our problems when he has more than enough internal problems to address is not only irrational but also greedy. Africans leaders should be grateful that he has accomplished a great mission and support him instead.

  27. Why do Africans want everything free.Why rely on Obama??GOOD GOVERNANCE is the Formula.Get rid of the MUGABES,CHILUBAS,and u will be strong enough to support the whole world.All u young comrades,Lets push together for Mama Africa.

  28. iwe chi 25 we know that you do certain on the pc but we something sensible you are the same people who are contributing to the poor economic performance of the country. leanr how to do something sesnsible on the computer please.

  29. Pipo let us not cheat ourselves.Obama is an America despite his father originating from Kenya.we were embarrased by one kenyan lady here when we were attending a leadership forum in washington when refered to Obama in her speech as my “fellow country man” Barack Obama.im even surprised why pipo like Jessie Jackson celeberated when obama won the election when in the first place they rejected him that he does not descend from the black slavery history.Africa wake up and solve your problems.

  30. It is interesting to learn that most of the people on the blog have read between the lines. I never supported Obama, but wanted a woman to win. American politics is the same, and as AFRICANS we have to be very alert! At one time I was watching CNN and heard a statement that disturbed me alot, saying because of recent bad policies with Africa, USA is loosing out because China is taking COPPER from ZAMBIA and CONGO. Just imagine! So, American policies are all about exploitation thru World Bank & IMF and they may use this Obama to convince sleeping like RB in the name of BROTHERHOOD. SO people, read the writings on the WHITE WALL.

  31. UKONDEISA ukwate amano.not ukutumpa if you dont like UPND or HH dont insult tonga pipo.have manners, just contribute dont come here to call others names,grow up. ifibana fyakumbali ni ififine.ukutumpa


  33. Thats very irratoinal to come up with a script like that.Keep Obama out ur mess, he is got enough problems 2 deal which he might even accomplish b4 the end of his 2 terms. There is chance for Africa,let Africa fend for itsself.

  34. You see how lazy Africans are? Why should Africa in the first place bennefit. That is why we dont develop, instead of working hard we sit back and relax and then wait for charity. One person in the family is doing fine everyone looks up to him for EVERYTHING. Why not try to do our level best then the guys in better position will add on shortfalls
    Lets be wise. This tendance is common in Zed.

  35. No.43-u are a man who knows about rocks and minerals, and not world politics. dont impose your line of thought on everybody. in your own thinking, you think that Hillary would have been better than Obama – ok fine. but she is herself in full support of Obama. Obama is president for America and not Africa, dont mix the two. VIVA No.48.

  36. Dude, are you kidding me? Comparing Odinga “the second mandela of Africa” with Mugabes, Kibakis and Bandas is the most ridiculous think I have heard this year.

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