It is difficult to imagine, when the euphoria shrouding the spectacular victory of Sen. Obama in the presidential race in the USA would subside in Africa, where not only in Kenya, but everywhere, the beneficiaries have become those who sell anything socially consumable, (alcohol), or whatever its equivalent in Muslim States should be.
In Ghana , one Bar-Owner narrated, until the event on that Wednesday, November 5, 2008, he feared for his survival. Not anymore. He doesn't believe any longer people don't have money to spend. They come in their numbers, quaff the beer in large quantities, and “Obamaism” has become a new and awfully dynamic word on the lips of everybody. It seems they manage to get out the “magical word”, whether they have been to school, or not.
In Ghana where exactly 33 days after the American election, there is going to be balloting too, to choose a President, and the 230 Parliamentarians, nobody finds the exact words, to describe what we are seeing. Let me borrow someone's word, whom I met in front of a Café', -”captivating”. Another preferred a phrase, and he said, “Beyond comprehension!”
In the area geopolitically designated by the entire world, as “Sub-Saharan Africa”, there is a new and “forcibly dynamic” phrase, “-face-saving power-sharing.” I am sure there is no one, even far distant from politics, which has not come across this phrase since it's emergence in Africa lately.
In case you still would like to know what it means, it's simply this: Since economic aid, or commercial co-operation coming from the West is frequently tied to pluralism and transparency in politics, elections are being held in areas in Africa, where for generations since World War II and emergence of Independence in many African states almost concurrently, elections were unheard of. But, frequently, what happens on the ground is nothing that looks like an election, where “one man-one vote” is the principle, and nobody is denied the chance, and nobody is coerced either, as to which direction to vote.
There is transparency, and this on paper should not be different, whether it is done in the United Kingdom , ( UK ), or the United States of America , ( USA ), or the Federal Republic of Germany. But, please, don't be fooled!!
By the time this article may reach my readers, a firm decision hopefully may have been reached, by the special commission of the AU, as regards the SNAFU in Zimbabwe . Africa and the World have together watched the scenario of elections, which the opposition had ostensibly won, but an incumbent since 28 years, pledges; “over my dead body would I hand over power to N.T.”, which are the initials of the popular opposition leader. African Heads of State and statesmen, including Nobel Prize Laureates, converged on Harare , and nearby national capitals, going over decisions and agreements which nobody wanted to keep. The “nobody” referred to here is the well-educated Mr. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe . All that is superimposed upon a bad-enough situation in Kenya since January of 2008, where an election the opposition was poised to win was botched by the incumbent. In that bravado, and the ensuing stampede, 1,500 Kenyans, including five parliamentarians lost their lives.
The hilarity in Africa over the American situation, whose equation has an African blood somewhere in it, would make full sense, if based on that, African states would conduct elections where substance for the people were the main themes. The accusation by one party, of another party having squandered nineteen years of the nation's precious time, and the response that, the other has emptied the nation's coffers in just eight years is what the poor populace has got to content their lot with. The threat by one party that, “if, come December 7, it is discovered that the incumbent has cheated, that, the people would,…” doesn't in anyway placate the masses, who once again, are being called upon, to give their precious Franchise on the date quoted above.
The experts are still hitting their heads, as of now against soft ceilings, as to whether there could be any “real threat” in the accusations, and counter accusations, coming from two main political groups in the country, from whom the man in the street should expect nothing short of decorum. Church leaders mount the pulpits, and they are confused as to what they should tell the poor masses, without appearing to show a bias towards one group or the other.
I have always had a problem the solution to which I don't seem to come near enough. It is almost two years now, as from one political party, there emerged as many as seventeen aspirants, veering towards the finishing point, when the race for the flag-bearer-ship had the gong sounded, “GO!” One condition was that, “if you held a cabinet post, or you were in a high civil service position, you had to relinquish your position.” They all did so to begin with, except one, who said, “He was capable of holding both fronts”. He did so, nevertheless, as the rule called for, the last minute. When in the end, only one succeeded, some were re-appointed to the positions previously held. I have not been alone, in failing to understand that move. But, a lecturer in the University I attended once advised me that, “in life, there should be many things I never will understand”. I thought of him then, and I hope to visit his grave, when next I get the chance. There is a lot indeed I won't understand in one life-time.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."
Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.