NEWS is finally out that Barack Obama is the sole candidate of the Democratic Party to contest the American presidency. The road has been a long and winding one, albeit with a relatively few pitfalls for the Afro-American senator. When nominations revealed that for the first time a woman and an Afro-American were in the running for the world’s largest economy’s presidency, the writing was on the wall for American politics.
Obama’s victory over fellow Democrat and former first lady Hilary Clinton for a Democrat candidacy has had many Afro-Americans rejoicing. Many attributed Obama’s victory to the dream of slain American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jnr, who in his ‘dream’ envisaged a better future for the black American.
The euphoria, as my colleague John Ekongo recently reported, has also spread to Africans, who are hailing Obama’s run for the White House as a success story for Africans.
Although some are down-playing the Obama story, it goes without saying that history books will be transcribed with every progress the Illinois senator makes in the race for the American presidency. Biographers will be pouncing on Obama to ‘document’ his story – regardless of whether he makes it to the White House or not. So will film makers, historians … the list is endless.
Besides rejoicing in Obama’s success or anticipated victory for that matter, I must say I fail to understand where the loyalty of Africans lies. Don’t get me wrong, I too triumph in the Illinois Senator’s victory, but just feel that Africans can do more than that!
Obama’s nomination as sole Democrat for the race to the White House against Republican John McCain came merely a few days after our own brothers and sisters fled attacks in South Africa.
Earlier in the week, Malawi had bussed its citizens who had also fallen victim to the attacks on foreigners out of South Africa. We have seen how election results provoked tension in Kenya – the same country where Obama’s father hails. Fighting in parts of Uganda and DRC, Somalia, and Sudan continues to claim innocent lives. What’s more, the noble dream of Africa’s forefathers Jomo Kenyata, Kwame Nkrumah and others, of a united Africa seems elusive, as it continuously slips further away from reach.
So, tell me Africans, if we are rejoicing for Obama in the spirit of ubuntu, why have we been silent about the killing of innocents and the shedding of blood for selfish and self-centered reasons? How often do we blame the West and former colonial powers for having divided us along racial and tribal lines, yet we are perpetrators of the same evils ourselves?
Namibia only has a few tribal groups in relation to some other African countries that have in excess of 20 tribal groups?
We, however, still find it hard to break the race and tribal barriers and integrate for the development of our country. The first thing you do when being introduced to another person for the first time is subconsciously trying to figure out from which tribal group he hails by his accent and intonation! You still hear people putting their tribal origin first before anything else.
As much as we would want to turn a blind eye on it – tribal division is clearly evident in an independent Namibia. Relationships, let alone inter-tribal marriages, are still being looked down on, as stereotyping takes centre stage.
Come on Africans, how do you define ubuntu? Is it by attacking your ‘brothers and sisters’ for personal reasons simply because they are foreigners, and at the same time pledging your undying patronage for someone in a country as far away as the United States? Africans recently celebrated Africa Day – what a shame, you could count the number of people present at events countrywide, yet those boozing at drinking holes and house parties were uncountable. Ubuntu? I guess ubuntu, Ujamaa, or whatever you call it only applies to Obama!
I suggest we shift our focus to efforts that aim to develop and unite our beloved continent, while wishing Senator Obama all the best.
Let’s raise our glasses to Obama and say, Eewa!