Friday, January 4, 2008

The results are in and Barack Obama decisively won the Iowa Caucus. His win in Iowa, which is over 90% white, suggests that his message of change resonates with voters. By beating Hillary Clinton by over 9 percentage points, he has also proven that a Clinton is not untouchable. That being the case, it is no mistake that Hillary's husband, former President Bill Clinton, was known as the comeback kid. When he ran for President, he did not win the Iowa Caucus but still managed to become Commander in Chief. That history of coming from behind will most likely benefit Hillary who still has the opportunity to prove that she can become the first female President of the United States.

Given Obama's success and his obvious ties to Kenya, I have been waiting to hear his take on the current post election violence in that country. So far, he has called for a peaceful resolution by stating,

"Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenya's leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them,"
Although one must acknowledge that this is a busy time for the man aspiring to be America's first black President, I do wish that he could do more to assuage the violent situation which is developing into a tribal bloodbath as Luo (a Kenyan tribe) turn against the Kikuyu (another tribe from central Kenya) and people kill each other. Unfortunately, Kenyan officials have declared that they want the rest of the world to mind its business. That will obviously limit Obama 's ability to have an impact.

I am curious about what African leaders have to say to Kibaki who has now clamped down on citizen's rights and has seemingly turned a blind eye to the tribal killings and the many Kenyans that are now hungry. Have those same leaders spoken to the opposition leader, Odinga, who continues to fan the flames of intense anger? Has Mbeki issued a statement? Or better yet, has Yardy said anything about the Kenyan situation? Have African leaders decided to close ranks the way they do on almost every issue? Anyway, what could Yardy say considering the circumstances under which he became President of Nigeria and the ongoing accusations that he is not really a champion of anti-corruption? 'Soiled hands' limit the credibility of most African leaders, but Obama, whose message of change is positive enough to have an effect beyond America's shores. And, as the son of a Kenyan, it would be within his birthright to intervene.

I hope that someone or something can help to remedy the situation. After the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda, every person should be averse to anything resembling genocide. I am not saying that Kenya is experiencing genocide, but I am saying that it only takes one spark for a ticking time bomb to explode and so, Kenyans, Africans and the world must work encourage a peaceful solution before things get potentially worse.

Further Reading:

- In Search Of Democracy: Obama, Kenya, Nigeria

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14 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Marin said...

Hello Solomonsydelle, Thanks for regularly updating this blog with interesting topics/issues. I visit regularly, but rarely comment. I am amazed as to how you find time and strength from looking after your kids(I read the other blog sometimes as well)to keep the blog running.

I think there are two issues here wrt. Obama
1) having a Y chromosome/DNA donated by someone doesn't really make you an intricate part of them. Yes, Obama's father was Kenyan and to come to terms with his identity, he visited Kenya a couple of times, but I believe that what he is is first and foremost an American. And it might be counterproductive to his campaign to seem unduly involved in what technically is non of America's business(you wrote that Kenya asks everyone to stay out of its business) when there are many hot issues at home. If and when he does become CIC(decider ;)), he could capitalise on his Kenyan DNA to achieve Americas aims through Kenya, but make no mistake, America will always come first.

2) Barack's father comes from the Luo tribe, so supporting Odinga would be misconstrued to seem like support for his "kinsmen" and could backfire, even though it is almost universally agreed that Kibaki(a Kikuyi) did not win the elections.

Sorry about the lenght of my Comment. Next time I'll make a post out of it :)


@ Marin: Please, never apologize about leaving a long comment. And, I thank you for taking the time to leave your input as it helps to fuel conversation and dialog.

That being said, you are right Obama probably sees himself as more of an American. That would make sense and I take no fault with that. However, as a man claiming that he wants to run what is arguably the most powerful nation, he needs to prove that he is capable of handling tough international issues. (I guess I forgot to put that strain of thought in the post. Lack of sleep does wonders!). Anyway, that is why I raised the issue of him intervening.

As such, this could be an opportunity to prove his savvyness (sp?). However, you are very right in pointing out that his father is a Luo and this could cause some tension.

Wouldn't it be funny if Bill and Hillary Clinton managed to get involved? Considering Bill was President when the Rwandan problems broke out, he would probably want to jump all over this situation. Anyway, I still hope that things will settle down sooner than later. Kenya is a wonderful place with wonderful people. It is just a shame that we always turn against ourselves instead of focusing our frustration on those that truly deserve it - in this case, politicians and their inability to put down their egos and cater to the people's needs.

Well, Marin, sorry for a long response to your "long" comment. lol! Just kidding.

guerreiranigeriana said...

happy new year!!!...i missed reading you...interesting, the post and comments thus far...i do agree with you that it only takes a spark...we may not want to call it a genocide, but if people are being killed based on their ethnic group, uh, yeah, i'd say we're close to that...i always wonder why the world waits so long before getting involved...

...and although most of the african leaders's soiled hands eat at their credibility, it might help if they took a stance and did something...i may have more respect for them...fidel became dictator of cuba...but i can respect him for the changes and good that have come from him being in leadership...thanks for always challenging me to think and keeping me your blog!...

Beauty said...

"Soiled hands' limit the credibility of most African leaders" is a powerful statement. It has meant zero action from all actors called African leaders & rulers in almost every issue. They are all hypocrites and this is a reason I have always maintained that we must forgive these petty ignorant thieves in order for them to get on with the act of governance. May I relate this to the old judgment sayings "Judge not lest you be judged and Cast not the first stone"?

There are no perfect governments but we can create a good band of leaders. It is how to be held accountable for doing good things that has not taken hold in places where there is so much sorrow. No doubt the gruesome and horrific acts during the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda shamed bad leadership everywhere. Where were the UN helicopter gun ships? Today the same is ongoing and live in Chad, Somalia and Kenya.

We have an imperfect system of everything, how else would you explain "The primary function of government is to provide public goods and services" at This is our baseline and we can only continue to help educate our over educated hon. ministers, but first, we must forgive them in order to write future history.

sorry for a long response to the "long" comments. lol! Just kidding2.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Talk about 'soiled hands'. It was strange that when Prime Minister Brown was calling on African leaders to intervene in the Kenyan matter, he didn't even look towards Nigeria at all.

UMYA still needs to clear his own 'soil' first before he can be called on to clear others.

Sincerely I had thought our own Maurice Iwu held all the aces when it comes to bungling elections but this Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Chairman Sam Kivuitu takes the cake.

115% voter turnout and announcing final results before a 'select' audience and then swearing in a candidate just hours after results were announced must be a new all time low.

I understand the man had come out to rescind his earlier pronouncements in the face of superior facts and had agreed to do a recount 'if the courts order it' which to me is a face saving compromise at least (but much better than Iwu who keeps trying to justify his rape even as the courts keep reversing him). Lets hope the Kenyan judiciary lives up to it.

My greatest worry is actually about the eventual outcome. Odinga, if he wins (as he is very likely to) does not look to me like the kind of leader who will heal the wounds thus inflicted on the polity. I think he still craves vengeance for his incarceration(s) and past humiliations.

More worrisome is the damage they would have done to my beautiful Nairobi.

Anonymous said...

African leaders have failed to acknowlege responsibility and personal accountability to the people they claim to serve. As soon as they are elected they aspire to wear the corruption throne. unfortunately this vicious cycle of political unrest will continue until we start putting accountability and humanity before pervasive greed and corruption.

Jinta said...

You failed to mention that no one has ever become president after winning Iowa.

I find my support is for Clinton, mainly because no matter what you say about Iowa being 90% white, I firmly believe America is not yet ready for a black president; imagine, in a country which is generally acclaimed to be more than 50 years ahead of the UK in race relations. They will baulk the moment it appears Obama can actually become president.

An analogy: I love Saab cars, I think they're superior, classy, well-engineered, solid cars with understated elegance, but I have never and will never own one.

Obama's reticence in commenting on Kenya's violence goes beyond trying to avoid being partisan, I think. Western leaders have this unspoken rule about being quiet when events for which they cannot determine an obvious end are going on in Africa. If they condemn too hard, the eventual winner may start taking their stolen government loot to France for example, rather than the UK or the US.

All western contries have laws against handling stolen goods. Have you seen a prosecution against any bank where the Ibori's deposit money, even those ones from which they repatriated money back to Nigeria?

Well, you gave carte blanche for long comments, so I expressed myself.

Beauty said...

"All western countries have laws against handling stolen goods. Have you seen a prosecution against any bank where the Ibori's deposit money, even those ones from which they repatriated money back to Nigeria?" xxxx

olufunke grace bankole: said...

a thoughtful post.

thank you for visiting my blog. i've enjoyed reading yours.

Dojaa said...

One day Ibori is going to be called an elder statesman, given awards invited to speak at high profile lectures and called a respectable son. Do you doubt it? Just check out Babangida now!

Atutupoyoyo said...

Obama's spin doctors will be working pretty hard to make sure he says as little as possible about goings on in Kenya. The likes of Romney will surely use this as a stick to beat him with further down the campaign. Now more than ever, Americans are more concerned about the state of home affairs than those of a foreign nature. If Obama slips even slightly by showing too much focus on the land of his papa, this will be used as a weakness. It is a dirty game.

Kafo said...

hey Girl
I'm back

sorry for the delay
Okay Obama is a kid
He cannot say anything to the Africans.
He is not an African
He is American and if he were to STEP into the issue given his limited experience on the international scale it can only look bad right now.
and it will aid the Clinton camp and draw attention away from his strengths.

So I guess it is sad
cuz he can talk but right now he doesn't have any leverage

so it will just be empty words that hurt his campaign at home

desperate lady said...

I wonder y y'all are bothered about Obama when we all know deep down he'll be dead soon. Which black man can survive being the president of america? Think about it guys, Any black man that has come close to being a president was eliminated. I wish him luck sha.
As for the kenya issue at hand, i'll assure u that our enemies are our own people, how many times have u seen black people stand up for eachother? It's funny how black people complain about racism yet there racist to themselves.
I was thinking all africans will come together and do something but guess what......They didn't(only if there are some things i don't know yet). And if y'all are expecting Obama to handle the situation then wake up from ur slumber cos ur in dream land.

Naapali said...

I agree with Ah2-2 that it is not in Obama's interest to get too involved with Kenya at the moment. He would more likely be weakened by any comments than the likelihood of said comments having any impact on the situation in Kenya.

As to America not being ready for a black president, Disraeli's aphorism that "the only condition necessary for evil to prevail is that good men do nothing" comes to mind. Obama will certainly not become president if people dont go out and vote for him. It is like complaining about not winning the lottery when one has never bought a ticket.

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