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Njoroge Wachai

Kenya

Njoroge is a journalist who formerly worked for the Kenya-based People Daily. He was Africa Correspondent for the Science and Development Network (SciDev.net), a UK-based web site highlighting science and technology issues from developing countries. He also freelanced for the Switzerland-based Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO). Njoroge was a press fellow at the Wolfson College, University of Cambridge for four months in 2003, where he researched the role of alternative press in the democratization process in Africa. Njoroge currently lives in the U.S. He has studied Journalism and Technical Communication at the graduate level. Close.

Njoroge Wachai

Kenya

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Obama's Lost African Pulpit

Obama’s overseas message of hope would have resonated better from an African country.

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All Comments (26)

Valentine Ameli:

Hello,
Thanks for your insight. However, i don't think Obama's visit to Darfur, Mogadishu, Abuja or wherever will accomplish much for his campaign at this particular point in time. Instead, it will only help nail home the perception many of his detractors have been craftily struggling to sell, namely, that the guy is a risky choice; he's got divided loyalties and what more: his 'patrioteering'isn't selfishly American enough.
My suggestion, consequently, is, even if he wins; which he can and should, Africa should be one of the last places he should visit. If charity must always begin at home, home to Obama is America, not anywhere else.
And since the most glaring aspect of U.S foreign policy is decidedly its Eurocentricism, Europe will follow after America. Then comes the oil-rich Middle East & the vast Asian markets(China,India).
That's 'realpolitik' my brother-"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".
Ameli, Student of international politics & policy

Valentine Ameli:

Hello,
Thanks for your insight. However, i don't think Obama's visit to Darfur, Mogadishu, Abuja or wherever will accomplish much for his campaign at this particular point in time. Instead, it will only help nail home the perception many of his detractors have been craftily struggling to sell, namely, that the guy is a risky choice; he's got divided loyalties and what more: his 'patrioteering'isn't selfishly American enough.
My suggestion, consequently, is, even if he wins; which he can and should, Africa should be one of the last places he should visit. If charity must always begin at home, home to Obama is America, not anywhere else.
And since the most glaring aspect of U.S foreign policy is decidedly its Eurocentricism, Europe will follow after America. Then comes the oil-rich Middle East & the vast Asian markets(China,India).
That's 'realpolitik' my brother-"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".
Ameli, Student of international politics & policy

The New Yorker:

Somali, we know who you really are. You better stop trying to hide your true feelings, Michelle Obama. We got your number.

dcp:

Walterrock, there is a direct flight to the continent of Africa. I just took one two summers ago to Dakar from New York City.

dcp:

Big fallacy! Obama is not courting the African-American vote. He already has the African-American vote locked up in Fort Knox. He's courting the White vote. Get it straight. And Barack knows that the White vote couldn't give a hoot about Africa's affairs.
Fallacy #2- If Barack Obama went to Juba to make a speech, it would have been a "game changer"? The world would have been "jolted"? This Messiah delusion has got to end and soon. I swear some people think this guy can slow the Earth's rotation! Amazing!

Anju Chandel:

Barack Obama hasn't lost his African Pulpit and he will never. Please understand the dynamics of presidential race in America. No one should expect any presidential hopeful to tour all continents and countries in order to "prove" any point about his/her presumptive policies.

And to look at Barack Obama as a "black" presidential candidate is the narrowest understanding of his qualities and abilities. He is a genuine leader with immense potential to bring about "changes we can believe in"!

arthur flowers:


this is not a sophisticated argument
this is from a person who doesnt understand

american politics, who doesnt understand race relations in america

and the nature of the game obama is running

only way a black candidate (or leftwing for that matter) can become president of the united states is through stealth

designed to make the american public comfortable with the idea

want to do this he got to be the trickster

folk who want barack to represent, domestically or foreign, misunderstand the nature of the game in play

i expect him to do what he can when he can
i expect him to disappoint me often with policies

that i consider abominable

you dont get to be president of the united states unless you capable of hard game

dont even want to be president of the united states unless you capable of hard game

yet blackfolk, lifemasters of the game, have decided that we trust obamas instinct for the game and will give him the space he needs to run it

if you dont understand the difference between bush africom based attention to africa and what you can expect from an obama administration (flawed though it may be) you need to keep your unsophisticated thoughts to yourself

a luta continua

Mike:

Give Mr. Obama a chance to make a difference. If he is elected and shuns the African Continent, then there will be cause for critical banter. My problem here is that he is not the President yet. He is running for the office and Africa has never been on any presidential hopefuls trip agenda.

mtlyorel:

This just goes to show that supporting a candidate based on your own race or skin-color is akin to judging a book by its cover. The Black-Americans got what they wished for. A coconut.

What exactly has Obama done for the Black Americans? The press and Obama himself has been adept at skirting this question. The simple answer: zero.

ljoseph:

If Obama becomes the US President, he will impact Africa in a great way, like no other US President. I am a Nigerian American and I hope that President Obama will be able to tell all of the corrupt African countries and their leaders to shape up. Obama is currently taking the needed tough talk to the African American communities. When he becomes the President of the US, I hope that he can extend that tough talk to the African countries. No white US President can talk to corrupt African countries and their leaders like Obama can, should he become the President of this wonderful country.
But, meanwhile, we must wait patiently and prayerfully, if God wills, that Obama be elected the President of US. Then, he can use the big stick on African countries and their corrupt leaders. Imagine a corrupt Nigerian Minister with a US$10B hidden in a Swiss Bank account. Nigerian Ministers and State Governors have purchased expensive mansions in the US with embezzled and stolen money from Nigeria. Those bloody idiots!!!

Alexis:


Don't hold your breath waiting for John McCain to ever make a trip, comment or speech on West, South or East Africa. If he or any Republican visits the continent, it would be to North Africa. As long as McCain has this negative view of Africa, you can rest assured that Obama won't be back. So much for your "cuz" on this one.

khodjo:

I just find it weird that the writer feels that a person running for President of the United States should actually burnish his African credentials by delievering a speech in Africa . For crying out loud, his father is Africann and his mother American,.what else does he need to do to prove his ancestry. Being born of Africa parentage, albeit one parent is not enough anymore. Get real...in the larger scheme of things, Africa is not the greatest priority of the United States

Francisco Cardenas:

Obama would never have given that speech to a majority black audience anymore than a black person would be on his short or long VP list ... he is too afraid of political fall out.

robert mugabi and omar al- bashir:

Somali is right! Everyplace the white man has touched is a bloody mess and disaster. George Bush is the worst demon in the world.

Somali:

The Terrorist They Call "president" Is The Enemy Of Humanity!!

I wish for ONCE you, and your fellow slaves from other parts of the world who are being used by the white man to hide his fingerprints in terrorism , mass murder amd war crimes, I wish you could develop a spine and explore the TRUTH at least once in a while.

If you look at this request, it really isn't much to ask. The problem LIES in you, man, DEVELOPING a SPINE, attempting even a BOTCHED rebellion against your benefector, your boss, the white man.

Do an article on the terrorist, war Criminal, mass Murderer, child and women killer Americans mindlessly call "president." Any journalist with any self-respect KNOWS this terrorist is a MASS KILLER, A TERRORIST who has killed more than a MILLION MUSLIMS across the Muslim world. From All the way North in Afghanistan to all the way south in Somalia, in all the Muslim lands that lie between these two countries north and south, the trail of the Terrorist, Mass Murderer Americans call "president" is marked by OCEANS of blood, the blood of more than a MILLION INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN, THWEIR LIVES DESTROYED BY this stinking white man.

But when will WE SEE this story which is RIPE for telling? Who has the BALLS among visble minority "journalists", slaves really, to even BROACH the subject??

Rebel, man!!!!!

It is a JOYOUS experience, to be FREEE, really FREE!! It makes you HUMAN to assert your dignity, man!! But you will NEVER know this untill you try!!!

We wait and watch!!!

Somali:

Another example of the idiotic blather that sell-out visible minority "journalists" regularly engage in. The hallmarks of such drivel by these stupid minorities who have no problem trying to bamboozle their felow monorities to believe garbage, is the DISCONNECT to REALITY their blather shows.

The white man is TRYING to run from the reality that he has become a villain, a war criminal, a terrorist and mass murderer who has no MORALS, no compunction about killing the most helpless of all humans, women and children. The white man thus wants his ECVIL HIDDEN. Some of the hiding he does himself and some is done by his SLAVES, bought and paid for to clean up the blood after the white man and rinse his hands for him. These SLAVES are Afriocans, Arabs, Indians. And they run around with lofty-sounding titles such as "journalist", "writer", "commentator", all of it B.S.

Njoroge wachai, all you achieve is Embarassing yourself and lowering your stock among fellow Africans!!!!

ZZim:

Mr. Wachai: Sorry, but Obama isn't the African candidate for President, he's the Obama candidate for president. Doing concrete things on behalf of Africans provides him with no political benefits, so you should not expect them from him.

You should expect concrete actions from people like George Bush, who does stuff because he thinks it's right, not because he thinks it will be a vote-getter - even if it's unpopular. So, if you want to find a President who will do positive things for Africans, you need to find a guy who will do unpopular stuff merely because he considers it the right thing to do. Then the pundits and politicians will scream and moan and he's say things like "I'll be vindicated by history". Etcetera and so on. You need to find someone who's willing to go it alone and let key allies scream and fume because they liked that particular dictator.

Just don't pin your hopes on Obama, cuz you're going to get hurt.

Anne L:

Obama has a pretty big agenda. Reviving European support for America is one of them. Africa is another. Just because he doesn't mix the two at every opportunity doesn't mean he places one above the other. He did a good job in Europe. I have every hope he will do well in other regions - including Africa - when the time comes

Duluth, GA:

Obama refused to attend Tavis Smiley's "The State of Black America Conference" in New Orleans back in February; there is NO WAY that he will go to Africa during this Presidential campaign. That might look "too black" and turn off white voters.

Give me a break! I am voting for Obama, because McCain and the GOP are so unacceptable; but there is something still very disquieting about Obama that just makes me doubtful about him. And this wanting black votes without wanting to be too closely associated with black people is part of why I feel like I do.

walterrock:

G Dub did do some decent things in Africa, but it was not until oil, the Chinese, and Russians, did we even pay attention. The plan for Africa will always be to rob you of your resources, keep you poor, hungry, illiterate, and at war, while the world pays despotic leaders to steal your resources, to sell you out. So Africa must smarten up, and the world should allow free and fair trade, if it has any intrest in Africa. The last I checked America does not have a direct flight too, or from the contenent. For Obama to visit Africa would be political suicide. I'm afraid the author does not fully understand race in America. Maybe if he likened it to, lets say, tribalism, can he see the picture. This guy (Obama) is part of a country with a minority tribe who, as president is trying to represent all the tribes and classes of the major power of the world. He has to do this without offending the majority tribe, a great number of whom will not vote for him simply because of his tribal past and afilliations. He even has to be careful in dealing and relating to his own chosen tribe, even though he is half the majority tribe. Then if he acts "presidential" he gets critisized as being pompus, proud, and arrogant, something that the majority tribe cannot stand or put up with, because he should know his place, being hes from the minority. So Africa, get in line and wait and see if he is elected, what his policies to you will be. I am sure it will be more, even build upon, some of what G Dub has done.

walterrock:

G Dub did do some decent things in Africa, but it was not until oil, the Chinese, and Russians, did we even pay attention. The plan for Africa will always be to rob you of your resources, keep you poor, hungry, illiterate, and at war, while the world pays despotic leaders to steal your resources, to sell you out. So Africa must smarten up, and the world should allow free and fair trade, if it has any intrest in Africa. The last I checked America does not have a direct flight too, or from the contenent. For Obama to visit Africa would be political suicide. I'm afraid the author does not fully understand race in America. Maybe if he likened it to, lets say, tribalism, can he see the picture. This guy (Obama) is part of a country with a minority tribe who, as president is trying to represent all the tribes and classes of the major power of the world. He has to do this without offending the majority tribe, a great number of whom will not vote for him simply because of his tribal past and afilliations. He even has to be careful in dealing and relating to his own chosen tribe, even though he is half the majority tribe. Then if he acts "presidential" he gets critisized as being pompus, proud, and arrogant, something that the majority tribe cannot stand or put up with, because he should know his place, being hes from the minority. So Africa, get in line and wait and see if he is elected, what his policies to you will be. I am sure it will be more, even build upon, some of what G Dub has done.

Paganus:

John J is absolutely on target. Obama's biggest obstacle to being elected is latent / lingering racism among working class Dems and Independents who couldn't care less about the problems of African Americans, let alone Africans or Africa in general.

But more to the point, one of the strengths of Obama's campaign is, in fact, that he has NOT run AS an African American. He has run as an American who happens to have a Kenyan father. When he has addressed race directly, it has mostly been through the filters of individual responsibility (see NAACP address) and opportunity (Only in America...). The entire thrust of Mr. Wachai's piece is at odds with Obama's message on this score.

And even IF he is elected president, I'm not sure Sudan or Somalia would be the wisest place for any president to visit, let alone a black one. Check out the Arab press' cartoons of Condi Rice - Al Qaida would simply love to cap a POTUS, and if he were a black man, that would be all the better from their perspective!

BTB Hussein, no one but right-wing hacks think that Obama is acting like the president. "Presidential" perhaps, but not as the president.

John J:

The writer obviously doesn't understand this country if he imagines for one second that a trip to Africa on Obama's part wouldn't be political suicide.

Hussein Mohammed:

Can anybody sincerely explain why Obama is already the president of the United States? Why else would we be hearing about calls for him to go to some place and make speeches directed at certain arears.

Jace:

Mr. Wachai,
You are so correct in your observation.

Providence Candlelight:

Just as your piece of praise for the disgraced Bush was garbage, so too is this piece about Obama.

Bush has had close to eight years to make a difference in Africa. Bush has brought nothing but death and destruction. By my calculation Bush could not care less for Africans (typical republican) or Africa. Bush's only interest is Africa is stealing its treasure.

You attack Obama before he takes office.

Shame on you Njoroge Wachai.

Are you nothing more than a common political hack on the Bush payroll?


Sincerely,
Providence Candlelight

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