Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

12 November 2012

Rwanda: Obama's Is Victory for America but Not Undemocratic, Corrupt Africans

opinion

Last Tuesday, Americans re-elected Barack Obama as their president to a second term in the White House - the seat of the United States of America.

By Wednesday afternoon while Americans were done with elections and celebrating Obama's victory, many Africans, thousands of miles away, were in a carnival mood.

I heard that leaders of a neighboring country, where President Obama's late father was a national, even mulled a public holiday so that wananchi could have ample time to celebrate victory of their "son."

In social media many Africans discussed how a "black man" with humble roots in Africa had triumphed once again in a country where a few decades ago black people did not even have a vote.

Typical of Africa's politics of "eating," where those from the tribe, party, clan or family of the man or woman in power have unfettered access to national resources, some commentators even suggested that Obama should devote his second term of office and money to help Africa. I was saddened by that view, I must say.

I am however consoled by the fact that it is that kind of mindset that distinguishes America from Africa. America will also be America and Africa shall remain (at least in the foreseeable future) Africa - a bagger's world.

We, Africans, have perfected the art of laying claim to whatever good progress made by the sons and daughters of the continent in Diaspora without having made a single contribution. Truth be said; many young enterprising and industrious Africans continue to flee bad governance, corruption, poor infrastructure dogging the continent for better life in the West.

While in the West, they take advantage of good training facilities, freedom of speech and democratic governance to discover and nurture the talents in them.

Back at home, we are stuck with less inspiring leaders, some of them past their sale-by date with absolutely no idea on how to inspire the younger generation to achieve bigger goals.

Instead of building institutions and facilities to train the millions of Obamas in our midst, most Africa leaders are busy grabbing whatever resources there are, for personal and family enrichment.

In the end, the millions of the would be Obamas in the continent remain sick, ignorant and poor villagers to be easily manipulated using small groceries such as salt and soap during periodic sham election.

I refuse to accept that Obamas success is a victory for Africans. It victory for that great country called the United States of America - a victory for a great people who have over the years shunned discrimination to embrace social, political and economic inclusion.

And while the population wallows in poverty, disease and ignorance, some of our leaders enroll their sons to one prestigious military to another with the self aim of grooming successors. As citizens, we cheer them on and refuse to demand accountability.

The media was recently awash with the story of a president of neighboring country who promoted his son to a four-star general, having joined the army only 10 years ago. It is widely believed that either the son or his step mother is being positioned to takeover from the ageing president, in power since 1986.

So, where would Obama, "our son," who just won a second term to lead the most powerful country in the world, if the earlier president of America had chosen to perpetuate family dynasty?

I refuse to accept that Obamas success is a victory for Africans. It victory for that great country called the United States of America - a victory for a great people who have over the years shunned discrimination to embrace social, political and economic inclusion. That change that gives equal opportunity to all irrespective of the color of their skin.

While Amricans have come thus far, we remain entrenched in tribal, clan and of late family politics. The kind of politics that will see a Kikuyu in Kenya do everything possible (including overturning election results and at a very high cost in terms of life) to ensure that a Luo does not ascend to the throne.

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