Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Africa: Are You Listening?

In one of my previous postings, I cautioned Africans of treating President Barack Obama as their own. That is not completely ignoring the fact that on some levels, he is. As a leader of the most powerful nation, his Kenyan roots give a reason for the level of optimism currently flowing through Africa.

Nonetheless, that’s where it starts and ends.

I have always said this and I will not shy away from repeating it – progress and regression are both built on certain principles. The progressive principles do not look at color, creed, social status and whatever category one would want to throw into the mix. Nonetheless, those principles reward those who are willing to embrace them. Likewise, regression principles will always work for those who fall in love with them.

In the inaugural speech, President Obama reminded not only the American people, but the entire world of the principles on which the Americans society has managed to build a powerful nation. Furthermore, he reminded the world that the United States of America will not change its core principles. Just to quote him: “We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense”.

I cautioned Africans that Obama will be the president of the United States of America first. Though he talked about partnering with poor countries, I didn’t get any indication that in so doing, the United States of America will embrace the regressive principles that most African leaders tend to uphold. I wonder if regressive African leaders paid attention to the following remark:

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy

Robert Mugabe, are you listening?

I told you, Obama will whack Africa and no evil African president will ever cling to the old Western imperialism rhetoric. If the inaugural speech was the indication, then let’s get ready for change we can believe in.

And I love that.
Photo Credit: Me


Mzee Duke said...

Some well written words. Obama's attention will be squarely focused on the problems and issues facing the USA - economic meltdown, budget deficits, war on terrorism, etc... While I am sure a piece of his heart must be in Africa (though I must say probably a smaller piece of his heart is in Africa than mine - Tanzania was my "home" for 6 + years), he is ultimately accountable to the American people, not the people of his ancestral birth. Long before there is any increase in Aid to Africa his Secty of State will be tackling problems like Sudan (the genocide going on there) and ruthless, blood stained dictators like Mugabe. In the end, the best Africa can hope for from Obama is that his efforts toward peace in the middle-east and other hotspots around the globe will EVENTUALLY lead to a focus on the plight of people more than issues of war & terrorism. Be patient Africa - MAYBE he will be able to get around to looking at you if he has a 2nd term.
Mzee Mzungu

Jaduong Metty said...

Mzee Duke,

Thanks for visiting again. I understand that my position will not sound too great for Africans, but having realistic expectations always help to avoid disappointments.

I would like for the African continent to be inspired by the Obama's presidency, but through a true change in attitude. Seeing Africans stand tall will truly be my joy, but that also should be done through upholding the right principles.


U have nailed it again Metty!

Koero Mkundi said...

PASSER BY.........

2centworth said...

The irony about all the jubilations and excitement in Africa about Obama's election, as the first minority with half African blood to become the next president of the world's super power, is that, if Obama had grown up in Africa, and at his age, with only two years in the senate, Africa's culture of overextended one man rule would have hindered his rise to leadership!

They would have said, as indeed some tried to do, in the US, that he was too young, too inexperienced, and yes, not a full blood African! Tribalism would have set in! The African paternalistic culture would have prevailed!

Let Africans take a page from Obama's playbook and rallying slogan: "Yes We Can!" and mobilize to put an end to the culture of one man rule! Its redundant, it stifles our best leadership talents for the sake of demagogues and despots.