Obama Mania: What’s In It for Africans?

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By John Ekongo

WINDHOEK

Illinois Senator Barrack Obama is poised to become America’s first black president following his nomination last week as Democratic Party presidential candidate, after a gruelling nomination battle with former first lady Hilary Clinton.

With his victory Africa, and Namibia not being an exception, seems to be hit by “Obama mania’ but analysts warn not to expect too much from the senator.

The continent is reminded that it can take solace from the fact that for the first time an African-American could become the president of the largest economy in the world and the world’s main superpower.

Despite this wave of worldwide euphoria, the pertinent question is whether the world’s oldest democracy is ready to have a non-White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) for president.

Upon conceding defeat, Senator Hillary Clinton officially withdrew her running, and fully endorsed the candidacy of Obama whose paternal ancestral roots are in Kenya.

Many critics praised her, as they firmly believe that this is the start of the re-unification of the Democratic Party after months of split votes between the two candidates.

Obama is not only the youngest ever candidate at 47, but also the first African American to have reached this stage. However, it also represents another challenge whether if elected as president he will ‘deliver’ and what gains Africa would benefit.

Editor at the Daily Nation Eric Shimoly, Kenya’s largest media conglomerate, thinks that the continent is “overtly exited” more out of a sense of ‘much ado about nothing’ – quoting Shakespeare

” I think we should bear in mind that Obama is first and foremost American, and people should be very realistic not to expect much from him if he is elected president,” said the newspaper editor.

Africans should and must do things for themselves and not hope and pray for handouts, added Shimoly.

Shimoly has taken note of Obama’s post-victory speech ?

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