Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States and the first African American president at the White House. He is the first ever seating president to address the African Union. Before he addressed the AU in Addis Ababa, president Obama visited his ancestral and his father’s birth place; Kenya. He went there to meet relatives and engage the country on its progress, its struggle with terrorism and how entrepreneurship can further strengthen the country’s economy and how the youth can be its driving force. Many publications have seen the visit to Africa by Obama as a form of homecoming.
“I am proud to be the first American president to come to Kenya, and of course I’m the first Kenyan-American to be president of the United States”
In relation to Kenya’s struggle with terrorists and its hopes of combating groups such as Al-Shabab Obama said “On security; the United States and Kenya are already strong partners and today we reaffirm that we stand united in the face of terrorism”. In late 2013 the Westgate mall in Nairobi was hit by a terror attack where over 60 people died and two years later in April the country had another attack by the militant group Al-Shabab and this time it attacked Garissa University College nearly150 people were killed, the many of which were students.
“Every Shilling (Kenyan currency) that’s a bribe could be put in the pockets of someone doing an honest day’s work”
On his last day in Kenya Mr Obama gave the country and continent some advise saying… “I wanna be very clear here: a politics that’s based solely on tribe and ethnicity is a politics that’s doomed to tear a country apart. It is a failure. Here in Kenya it’s time to change habits, and decisively break the cycle, ‘cause corruption holds back every aspect of economic and civil life”. Obama then went to Ethiopia to address the AU in Addis Ababa. There he gave Africa stern words about handing over power and that the country’s laws should be above even the president. “Africa’s democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their turms end.” He went on to say “The law is law. And no one is above the law. Not even the President”
“Old thinking can be a stubborn thing, that’s one of the reasons why we need term limits – old people think old ways”
Mr Obama also talked about educating Africa’s young especially young women because the future of the continent will manifest by how it treats its women. “Let girls learn! Let girls learn so that they grow up healthy and they will grow up strong”. He went on to say “Africa is the beautiful, strong women that these girls grow up to become. The single best indicator of whether a nation will succeed is how it treats its women”. At the twilight of his time as American president, it is sad that he only had to visit two countries in Africa. When he finally retires from politics we hope he will show up again and steer Africa to prominence.
Writer: Monde Loni