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Africans Assess US Elections


In an unofficial sampling, many Africans told VOA they support the election of Barack Obama as the United States' 44th president. Senator Obama is the first African-American to hold the office.

MALAWI

“I’d like to congratulate Barack Obama for winning, for entering the White House. You know it’s victory for Africa and for the whole world. Barack Obama, the new president, should not meddle in the politics of Africa but help boost the economy, and advise African presidents how democracy should work….” (Dietrich Fredrick)


“I expect that with the victory of Obama, African-Americans, who were reluctant to take up political offices will now get some sort of encouragement and take up that challenge.” (Dumisani Chirwa)

“There are a lot of problems in Africa – hunger, wars, HIV/AIDS. We would like the American government to be in the forefront to help the African continent. The African people are supporting him, so he should support us as well.” (Shamima)

“Barack Obama has a big challenge. He is not only the president of only black Americans.He is not only the president of only the Democrats.He is the president of America. So, I believe what he has been preaching about, change, he will have to translate into action.” (Mwayi Ntumodzi)

“The first thing we expect from Barack Obama is change of foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq and in African countries. (Waiford Banda)

“It seems to be good that a black American has become president. We are asking him to consider increasing the aid package offered to African countries, Malawi included. (Abdul-Azizi Kazembe)

NIGERIA

“Obama’s campaigns were issue based, the whole campaign he ran was issue based. Because of that he was able to win over people. What we saw can never happen in our country: the transparency, the level of mobilization, zeal – people coming out (to vote) from their own volition and not being induced…. I wish we could have the same thing in [Nigeria].” (Anonymous man, Kano)

“Africans now see him as an emancipator. He was broken the glass ceiling; we can aspire to be anything; no one can look down on us. We are not looking at what he can do for Africa. I’m sure he is going to put American first. What Africans want is foreign direct investment, coming to invest in Africa and preventing our officials from embezzling money and stashing it in their own vaults. I don’t want any hand-outs, really.” (anonymous man, Kano)

“To us Africans, having blood in him means a success for us. Probably, American policies that are harsh on Africa will be softened; the money America is pumping into the war would have solved a lot of prlblems in the US (and) as foreign aid. So I believe Obama will first tackle the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (anonymous woman, Kano)

“ I think first and foremost Obama should try more to build the image of America abroad.
There’s a lot to be done on the international scene. He should focus his activities on international community first." (anonymous woman, Kano)

UGANDA

“We are looking at the next president to offer solutions to African problems, including Uganda. The United States and big nations must now focus on vote rigging, so African countries can realize democracy. Americans are going to inform the whole world they are not racists.” (Mukasa Mbidde, a member of Uganda’s opposition Democratic Party).”

“ If an African American can take the highest office in the US, it would send positive signals as far as racial [issues] are concerned. (Major General Jim Muhwezi, parliamentarians and former health minister for the ruling party)

“There has never been a black president of the United States, a superpower. As a youth, I’m excited because he’s a young president.” (Musimenta Pamella, university student leader)

“When a Democrat is in the White House, they want to dictate to Africa. I believe Obama will believe that because he has black skin he must dictate how Africans run their affairs. What Africa’s friends should do is think of Africa in terms of technology transfer, giving support for eradication of poverty and in particular housing and water.” (Ofono Opondo, interim spokesperson for the ruling NRM-O)

“We (have voted) in our hearts, in our minds. We expect Barack will not be distanced from Africa or from Asia. He is part of the Western world, so he embodies the world image of a leader.” (Hon. Nabillah Naggayi Ssempala, opposition member of parliament)

“It is very important that the next president of America transforms the attitude of aid to Africa from being a diplomatic [necessity] to an action that encapsulates the human heart which is directed toward suffering in Africa. Let the aid of America to Africa be [disconnected] from politics and international diplomacy. (Hon. Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, chairman of the opposition People’s Progressive Party)

“I love Obama not because he’s black but to make history. There has never been a black president of the United States of America. I expect him to be genuine…to help all nations of the world equally.” (unidentified female student)

“It is a big challenge for African leaders. People are now celebrating and the celebrations should continue, not only in America but in Uganda.” (Conservative Party member Ssemusu Mugobansonga)

“ I’m glad Obama has won because we see a positive move against racism. The fact that people can accept a black American to become president is good enough and proof we are moving in a positive direction. (Chandia Benadette Kodiri, Makerere University Business School in Nakawa).


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