Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's Africa

By Fikru Helebo

Barack Obama's victory over John McCain last night was one for the ages. Considering how close the last two presidential elections were and with the history of racism looming over the election, Obama's victory was a very impressive one and it proved once again that America is truely the greatest country in the world. McCain was very gracious in defeat and it showed his character.

Now that the election is over, there are many questions that beg for an answer, like, what direction will the policy of the incoming Obama Administration take with regards to the challenges that Afiricans are facing? Will President Obama stay the course over the genocide in Darfur? Will he continue to treat Africa as an afterthought as all American presidents have done before him? Will President Obama continue America's coddling with dictators like Meles Zenawi? Etc, etc...

Well, we won't know the answers to these types of questions until well into the first year of an Obama Administration, but we have a good clue as to what general direction Obama's policies will take from his own words. Please listen to this thoughtful podcast Obama recorded for his constituents back in September of 2006, shortly after his first visit to Africa as a US Senator. Here is a quote from the podcast:

...there are a couple of things that Africa has to do to help itself and we can be good partners in it. Africa has to take upon itself (the nations of Africa have to take upon themselves) to rid themselves of corruption and politics that are organized around ethnicity and tribe. Unless Africa is able to create a transparent government with rule of law and accountability, ordinary people will continue to be victimized by those in power, and unless Africa rids itself of the vestiges of tribalism and ethnic conflict, you can never create enough political stability to truly develop the country...