Dec 11, 2013
What Will ‘Brother Barack’ Do for Africa?
Posted on Dec 26, 2008
A mobile phone text message spread across Africa in the wake of Barack Obama’s victory. It said “Rosa [Parks] sat so Martin [Luther King] could walk, Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama ran so our children can fly!”
Emmanuel Otaala, Uganda’s state minister for primary health care, says, “We have been receiving a lot of financial support from the Global Fund and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. If President Bush has been providing this much, what about our very own [Obama]? We expect increased support from Obama’s government.”
Abdul-Azizi Kazembe, a Malawian, says in an interview with Voice of America, “We are asking him to consider increasing the aid package offered to African countries.”
Bayo Laja, an unemployed architect, of Lagos, Nigeria, says, “I hope he [Obama] would do something about the indignities the American Embassy visits on Nigerians who want to go to the United States. Some of us can make useful contributions to that country, but the obstacles in the way of going there are just too many. I hope Obama would address that situation urgently. After all, we are his brothers and sisters. We deserve more respect now that our man is in charge.”
Raymond Atuche, a retired civil servant, also of Lagos, says, “The man [Obama] should start by ensuring that all debts owed by African countries are written off so that we can start afresh. He can do it for us. He has the power.”
Fazila Farouk of the South African Civil Society Information Service expects Obama “to finally admit to America’s complicity in Africa’s crisis areas” and possibly make amends.
Farouk waxed eloquent on Obama’s victory. “Miracles happen when people no longer believe in them. Barack Obama has now proven that he is the miracle that the entire world has been waiting for.”
William Kioko, a bus driver in Nairobi, Kenya, also describes Obama’s victory as a miracle that could open a floodgate for miracles on the African continent. “If this change is possible in the United States, then curing African wars is easy.”
Kioko obviously shares the sentiment that Obama can work magic in Africa’s conflict zones as Africa’s new “favorite son.” Indeed, militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), who are fighting in the beleaguered Niger delta region of Nigeria, were reported to have stated recently that they would seriously consider adopting a cease-fire in response to a personal appeal from Obama.
Although Obama’s campaign denied reports that he had made such an appeal, MEND’s statement suggests he might be able to mediate in African conflicts.
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