The possibility that Senator Barack Obama, the son of an African from Kenya, could become the first black president of the United States has got Africans jubilating across the continent. While many are reserving their biggest celebration for after the November U.S. election, for now Africans across the continent are excited with hope of a brighter future for the continent with an Obama presidency.
“About 60 percent of Cameroonians I spoke to is in favor of having Barack Obama, an African American, to become the first black president. They hope that if he becomes the first black president of the world’s most powerful nation, the blacks would be proud of their color. The other 40 percent that I talked to they think that it is a Republican (party) ploy to get Hillary (Clinton) out of the way because Hillary could have been a tough competitor to (Senator) McCain because they say the Americans have what they call the redneck. They don’t think that the rednecks would want to vote a black man come November,” said Nkemayang Paul Foanyi, a newspaper publisher in Limbe, Cameroon.
From Kampala, reporter Grace Matsiko of the Daily Monitor, one of Uganda’s independent daily newspapers, said Ugandans received the historic news of Obama’s victory with a lot of enthusiasm to the point that some have already begun cashing in on the Obama euphoria.
“People feel that he is part of the changes in the global politics. But then they are probably cautious will he make it when the U.S. holds their election. Some people feel he’s too much of a populist. But this does not downplay their support for him. And surprisingly this afternoon I saw some people selling the Barack Obama posters. I think some people are trying to cash in on that excitement by printing Obama posters and selling them at something like half a dollar,” Matsiko said.
Joi Idam, assistant secretary of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abuja Chapter said Nigerians received the news of Obama’s victory with joy and celebrated it as if Obama was the son of Nigeria.
“You will recall that Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. So we see it as a personal victory, and we believe that with a black man at the helm of the U.S. government, that would mean more aid, and that would affect Africa positively, and we are praying for him to win the general election,” Idam said.
Panu Panu from the Democratic Republic of Congo said Congolese are happy about Obama’s ascendancy but they were not sure how much difference Obama’s presidency would make in terms of U.S.- Africa relations.
“We believe here that it’s a good thing that an African American has a chance to be the next president of the U.S.A. It’s good for diversity in terms of the American society, but we are not sure that it’s going to change anything regarding American policy toward Africa because to change such a policy really goes beyond a powerful single person,” Panu Panu said.