Archive | November, 2012

Yes We Can Obama, Let’s Fall in Love Again

18 Nov

I was particularly amazed how some love struck African brothers and sisters were  flooding my Facebook timeline with Photoshop images and love declarations for Obama. I have not been as keen to following the 2012 American presidential extravagance and war of words as I did in 2008 with every conviction. I wish African elections had all the free and fairness of vote casting, counting and acceptance of results, that will greatly spare us from the frequent cries of ‘stolen victories’ or the now infamous  ” Power Sharing Governments.”  As a victim of hope, I am nerved by his seemingly spontaneous and non-concise Africa Policy and not by his personality as Obama who still inspires me.

Obama is an American president and that is an undeniable fact but he’s also an African (more rightly a Kenyan but some say he is more Irish) as clearly advocated when he put forward his candidacy and in the wee days of his mandate. This very identification put a moral debt upon him and so far the ‘Brother Son’ over there not held to his side of the heritage bargain. His election gave a lot of hope to Africans worldwide that all things are possible. In order to avert audience costs, it seems wrong for him to show some human ‘weakness’ to complement the hope he stirred up, others before him did and will do it – the tabooed ‘special favors, which semantics will style as cooperation, alliance or networking. Oh wait then that will make of his case racist or tribalism! Was the ‘Marshall Aid Plan’ not a special favor from the Americans to their European cousins? (The basis of which some African home and diaspora interests have founded their demands for reparations for slavery and colonialism).  There is a patronizing African proverb that: “If you know someone on top of a tree, you are sure to eat a ripe fruit.” I guess we will have to wait for another African president (excuse me, another ‘Black’ president) and these come once in who knows how many years.

Photo credit: A Photo edit by Cameroon movie entrepreneur Eric Ntang,

This is to say, i don’t oppose his global foreign policy of head on confrontation in words and action, but what the heck! despite Africa being the marrow in the bone of his foreign policy theater  apart from Libya, I heard him say nothing concerning Africa all through the debates except for the contending Romney mentioning Mali and Libya while expressing his concerns about the middle east and the assassins attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

Obama’s Africa policy has been characterized more by overt and covert military operations than economic policies as the latter has been resigned to China. Militarization not trade and investment is perhaps Obama’s way of getting democracy installed in Africa. May be because over the years, he has observed how African leaders are developing quasi-immunity to democratization. While the thought of military invasions in Africa could have scared previous ‘white’ presidents, he probably said this to his officials, “I know these dudes, i’ll do the job and ya’ll  thank me later.”  

We have witnessed the deployment of commandos and joint military training’s and drills with regional proxy states, drone strikes at hot-targets, the shelling and bombing by American led alliances on African soil despite the strong condemnation from the African Union which has been totally ignored to the sound of its own barking. As seems to be the goal, the US AFRICOM will be firmly implanted in Africa and for now it has been training African armies that only serve of their new skills to overturn governments as done Mali and could be a long run Conquistador force against the resource rich states.

As it stands, the only positive non-military effect he has had was continuing a program instituted by President Bush before living office that has been effective in fighting HIV/AIDS, but as someone with close link to the continent as himself, should he be sailing on Bush’s Africa legacy or setting his own. According to an article by News Week:

“President George W. Bush’s administration, for all its flaws, truly brought to change to Africa through its PEPFAR program, which injected billions of dollars of money into nearly every aspect of the fight against HIV/AIDS, from prevention to critical antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programs. Outside of the war on terrorism, Bush made it the centerpiece of his foreign policy, and it animated a great deal of time and attention from the executive branch. Projects like PEPFAR take years to show results and a steady influx of billions to maintain. But they pay off. Last month, South Africa began clinical trials in the first-ever AIDS vaccine on the continent. That never would have been possible without PEPFAR. Admittedly, it’s early, but for now it’s clear that Bush was better than Obama for Africa.”

Africans need to wake up as soon as possible, clean up their governments and stick to the cleanliness if they ever succeed to clean it up. Including you and I, I don’t see all the educated Africans whether at home or abroad helping to change the outlook of the local people by providing alternative hope in Obama style. Given Mitt Romney’s instability with his own pronouncements on  things to-do, if he was elected President of the US, the  relationship between the US and African countries would anchor on uncertainty. In which case Obama was then a likely bet winner for a second term presidency. I say congratulations to him for this second term re-election and hope he can, and YES WE CAN with this renewed mandate say LET’s FALL IN LOVE AGAIN as we did in when you visited motherland as a Senator and also in 2008 and beyond when he shattered a record streak to become the first Black president of the US. The point as reality has proven is that Africa should not expect favors from him, but disfavors from him would not be welcomed as well.

By Nwanatifu Nwaco