From Actualite Afrique - Africa News, I peeped the following article regarding Tanzania's reaction to President Obama's big win last week.
Two things to note in this here news piece IMO: 1.) more than a lil' bit of pardoning the prez for not focusing more on Africa in his first four and *hoping* he will do so in the next, and 2.) a very pointed discussion about how Western politicians "graciously concede defeat" and "the huge transparency gap" in the way Western elections are run versus those in most African countries. While these remarks could really be aimed at any African politician in any African country, they particularly bring to mind Raila Odinga who famously contested (probably rightly) Mwai Kibaki's 2007 presidential win in Kenya....to the detriment of the political stability of his country and the safety of his countrymen.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election was
the major story in Tanzanian newspapers this week but accompanying
editorials focused on its ramifications on other parts of the world. "As
the world's strongest economy, not to mention its military might," wrote The Citizen, "the U.S. has the capacity to dictate a lot of what
happens elsewhere across the globe."
The private daily recalled how Obama's 2008 victory at the polls was
received with a lot of excitement in Africa, probably, because many
regarded the president of the 'Big Brother' nation as "one of us" with
his roots in Kenya.
Given Africa's generally parochial politics,
where leaders tend to abashedly direct national resources to political
supporters and their villages of origin, there was a belief that Obama
would spoil the 'continent of his father.'
"It is clear that in
the world's biggest democracy, matters are not run on the basis of the
big man's whims. It is American interests, and not the president's
interests (and sentiments) that reign supreme," the paper explained.
Citizen said irrespective of who occupied the White House, the U.S. had
specific areas of focus and "development partners" must not expect much
simply because there is change or otherwise at the top of its
"However, the executive's background and style of
leadership must surely influence the implementation of initiatives that
benefit recipient nations while serving American interests as well,"
the daily said.
Also, the paper pointed out that the American
business, security and cultural dominance can be sustained only if
poverty and social upheavals are put in check in other nations,
including those in sub-Saharan Africa.
"That is why we expect
President Obama will use his second and final tenure of office to boost
partnership with developing nations in areas of health, poverty
alleviation, and education.
"As he had aptly said in his 2008
acceptance speech, his victory was not about him, it was about 'us.' And
for a man who leads the country touted as 'the land of opportunity,' the pronoun 'us' is not just about Americans; it is about the world at
large," The Citizen added.
Meanwhile, The Guardian pointed out
that the U.S. electoral system was touted as the best in the world in
terms of its openness in partying and campaign styles. But just like any
system, it may not be lacking its own demerits.
Yet there were
many lessons that African countries and individual politicians could
learn from the polls, said the daily, noting in particular how the loser
graciously conceded defeat.
"What Africans may learn here is
that the loser need not wait to be prodded into accepting defeat. Even
before Obama spoke, Mitt Romney had conceded defeat at his Boston
The paper quoted Romney saying: "This is
time of great challenges for America; Republicans and Democrats should
work together to avoid partisan bickering and political posturing....leaders should reach across the aisle to solve the nation's myriad problems....We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all
levels to put the people before the politics."
The Guardian also
hailed Obama's statement as the re-elected president promised to work
with leaders of both parties on national issues and discuss ways to 'move the country forward.'
"This is definitely a major lesson for African leaders. Not every idea from an opponent is discarded.
see a difference that whereas many an African politician handed defeat
would at this juncture plot to deny the process its logical run, the
thoughts of the former rivals are engaged in plotting the way forward
for their country," said the daily.
The paper, however, cautioned that any tampering with the electoral process should be challenged through formal mechanisms.
addition, The Guardian observed a huge transparency gap between the way
the U.S. elections were run and those held in most African countries,
partly because of logistical bottlenecks.
"In our recent memories
of presidential elections, we know that it was only in Ghana and in
Zambia where orderly handover of power took place," the paper added.