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African in DC Mayoral Race

The US capital, Washington, DC, is in search of a new mayor. The current mayor, Anthony Williams, winds up his second term later this year. Primary elections to choose the Democratic Party’s nominee take place September 12, 2006.

Among the contestants is an African, Nestor Djonkem of Cameroon. VOA English to Africa reporter Angel Tabe asked him why he wants to be mayor of Washington, DC. He said he wants to help the residents of the District of Columbia and make sure they can all be active in the political process. “I plan to continue to work for tangible progress in issues facing Washington, DC, including housing, jobs – and my main focus is education and crime. Healthcare also is on my agenda.”

Djonkem, a long-time DC resident, says he is familiar with the District’s most pressing problems and has the background to tackle them. “Being a resident for almost sixteen years, I have come up with a strategy. And my African heritage allows me to present a fresh approach. You know, 34 percent of people in the District cannot read and write…20 thousand homeless, 140 thousand who cannot afford healthcare. And this is the world’s powerful city, preaching democracy in the whole world. How come they themselves cannot help people in this great city?”

Djonkem, whose campaign is self financed, knows there are huge challenges that come with wanting to be the top official of a city like Washington, DC. He says, “Being African born and raised, and the first to qualify to be mayor of Washington, DC, running around the big guys in terms of finance and everything, the challenge is too big, but God is in charge.” To make the challenge even bigger, Djonkem says Africans do not believe in his dream. “I have cried to all my brothers and sisters around the world for us to come together and make our presence in Washington, DC. I told them this campaign is not about Nestor, but the African continent. And I am confident that on September 12th, no matter the outcome, Africa will be in Washington, DC. I had a big dream; I took all this challenge to put Africa in the map. It has been since the Board of Elections certified my candidacy.”

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