Obama declares to Africa: End tyranny, corruption – By MARK S. SMITH(AP)

July 11th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

ACCRA, Ghana – An American president who has “the blood of Africa within me” praised and scolded the continent of his ancestors Saturday, asserting forces of tyranny and corruption must yield if Africa is to achieve its promise. (more…)

ACCRA, Ghana – An American president who has “the blood of Africa within me” praised and scolded the continent of his ancestors Saturday, asserting forces of tyranny and corruption must yield if Africa is to achieve its promise.

“Yes you can,” Barack Obama declared, dusting off his campaign slogan and adapting it for his foreign audience. Speaking to the Ghanaian Parliament, he called upon African societies to seize opportunities for peace, democracy and prosperity.

“This is a new moment of great promise,” he said. “To realize that promise, we must first recognize a fundamental truth that you have given life to in Ghana: Development depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential.”

The son of a white woman from Kansas and a black goat herder-turned-academic from Kenya, Obama delivered an unsentimental account of squandered opportunities in postcolonial Africa.

America’s first black president spoke with a bluntness that perhaps could only come from a member of Africa’s extended family.

“No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or if police can be bought off by drug traffickers,” he said

“No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery.

“That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there,” he said, “and now is the time for that style of governance to end.”

He added: “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”

Obama was on a 21-hour visit to the West African nation to highlight that country’s democratic tradition and engagement with the West. His visit, his first to sub-Saharan Africa as president, was greeted as a “spiritual reunion” Saturday by Ghanian legislators.

People lined the streets, many waving at every vehicle of Obama’s motorcade as it headed toward a meeting at Osu Castle, the storied coastline presidential state house, before his speech to Parliament. “Ghana loves you,” said a billboard.

He was also visiting a hospital and a one-time slave trading post, joined by his wife, Michelle, a great-great granddaughter of slaves.

The Obama administration sought a wide African audience for the president’s speech, inviting people to watch it at embassies and cultural centers across the continent.

The 33-minute address was in part a splash of cold water for Africans who blame colonialism for their problems.

Obama spoke of the indignities visited upon Africans from the era of European rule. He said his grandfather, a cook for the British in Kenya, was called “boy” by his employers for much of his life despite his being a respected village elder. He said it was a time of artificial borders and unfair trade.

But he said the West is not to blame “for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.” Nor for the corruption that is a daily fact of life for many, he said.

“Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at perpetual war,” he said. Yet for “far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

“These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s neck.”

Obama started his day with typical calm. Wearing a gray T-shirt and gym pants, he walked through the lobby of his hotel almost unnoticed at 7:30 a.m. local time on his way to the downstairs gym for a workout.

A short time later, his motorcade left the hotel, passed under hovering military helicopters and arrived for a delayed welcome ceremony with Ghanaian President John Atta Mills.

“I can say without any fear of contradiction that all Ghanaians want to see you,” Mills said. “I wish it were possible for me to send you to every home in Ghana.”

Before the flight home, Obama planned to tour Cape Coast Castle, a seaside fortress converted to the slave trade by the British in the 17th century. In its dungeons, thousands of shackled Africans huddled in squalor before being herded onto ships bound for America.

The castle visit mirrored ones paid by Clinton and George W. Bush to the slave-trading post of Goree Island, Senegal — with the added impact of Obama’s mixed-race background and history-making election.

In Ghana, too, Obama followed in Clinton’s footsteps. In 1998, a surging crowd cheered Clinton in Accra’s Independence Square and toppled barricades after his speech. Clinton shouted, “Back up! Back up!”, his Secret Service detail clearly frantic.

Bush’s reception last year was less tumultuous, but equally warm. At a welcoming banquet, then-President John Kufuor noted huge increases in U.S. development aid and AIDS relief — and named a highway after Bush.

Obama avoided scheduling large public events, wishing to keep emotions in check in a singular moment in African-American diplomacy.

The president pledged America’s partnership in Africa’s growth. Specifically, he said he would make sure U.S. aid gets to the people who need it most, such as farmers and entrepreneurs, not Western consultants and administrators.

That’s why $3.5 billion in food assistance will focus on new methods and technologies for farmers, instead of simply sending U.S. goods to Africa, he said.

Obama flew to Ghana after the G-8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, approved a new $20 billion food security plan. It aims to help poor nations in Africa and elsewhere to avert mass starvation during the global recession.

He also had a cordial first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. In their half-hour private audience at the Vatican, the two reviewed Mideast peace and anti-poverty efforts, aides reported. They also discussed abortion and stem cell research at length, subjects of disagreement between them.

  1. Semay
    | #1

    Few Facts about Ghana:

    Population about 25 million
    Area about 230,000km2
    Ethnic groups; More than 50

    Meaning Ghana is a very small country in the African standard. She was a very trouble nation for many many years because of Ghanaians themselves.

    They have learnt from their mistakes and now they become to be called the African example.

    Ethiopia:
    Population: about 77 million
    Area: about 1.14 million km
    Ethnic groups more than 70 (more than 2/3 of them are less than 100.000 each and some 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and so on).

    Meaning Ethiopia is a very big nation comparing with Ghana and other African nations. Ethiopia is the only Independent African state ever lived. Ethiopia is the only statehood known in the African soil before colonization. Ethiopia is one of the few world front runners with human /world development in civilization, religion, literature, military and so on for thousands years back.

    The story about Ethiopia goes on. It is an endless. If we know how to be the 21- century citizens of our nation, Ethiopia would be an examples to Africa as usual and the world. But During the woyane era, we become examples with Ethnic policy and kilil created by few cadres cane from forest/mountain/Sudan dessert

    Thanks to president’s Obama new approach towards Africa, It is the high time to confront and expose the woyane/TPLF ethnic policy and illegal, wrong and forcefully drawn kilil. This unpresented and unexpected from any normal human being woyane/TPLF policy is the main and only source affecting our nation in the past/present and in the future if we are not stopping this satanic woyanes using every means necessary and available.

    The only thing Obama’s administration can help Ethiopia is rejecting the woyane Ethnic policy and kilil that has happened only by them to benefit themselves. We don’t need money from USA. USA itself is facing very big economic crises. What we can benefit from them and others is political assistance which is rejecting woyane ones and for all because of their Satanic Ethnic policy and kilil designed in dedebit mountain to destroy Ethiopia for their benefit.

    By the way :

    The president family natural look is typical an Ethiopian family look. We are the first and only one naturally looking very closer to this family than anybody else. So, we wish him all the best and we pray for him and his family for everything his is doing for USA and the world. His presidency is the best time the world is looking his kind person while on the other hand it is a very difficult time to become the world super power leader. He faces multiple challenges to lead/administrate the USA citizens while the world is expecting many things to solve their problem too.
    What I have seen the past few days from western, southern, central and eastern African countries about him not visiting first them is a shame. I think We Ethiopians are the one understand his position at home and elsewhere. But, the rest, they are stupid and ignorant. Just they want to be the first to be visited.

    As I said we Ethiopians are feeling that he and his family is naturally part of us. So, he is always in our mind and heart whether he is visiting Ethiopia or not. The only thing what we have to do is using his power to bring change in Ethiopia through his foreign policy eliminating Ethnic policy and kilil once and for all from the Ethiopian soil. The woyane/meles satanic policy is the only source of difficulty and problem we Ethiopians are facing for 18 years. The rest is on our hand thanks to our country not hot and not cold weather through out the year, suitable different climates, landscape, abandoned Fresh water, rich soil and hard working people.

    Please, expose meles’s Ethnic policy and Kilil in the white house, State capita( secretary of State), USAID and other USA and western NGO’s. Any one who is standing along side the Ethiopian people with the fight against the Tigrean Ethnic policy and Kilil in Ethiopia must be the god messenger to save the innocent, God loving and beautiful people of Ethiopia from barbaric woyanes/TPLF

  2. Gashaw
    | #2

    Abogidawoch,

    What is posted by “semay” is not good for Ethiopians. Read this: “The president family natural look is typical an Ethiopian family look. We are the first and only one naturally looking very closer to this family than anybody else.”

    This is pure racism, and could be written by Shabian/Eritreans who never sleep to get us labelled as black racists. please remove the poisonous part of the comment above. Thank you.

  3. Sami
    | #3

    I like what Obama has to say. I just hope and pray that he follow his words with some actions. I also hope Weyannes can learn something from Obama’s speech. Meles knows the weyannes’ Psychology more than any body else, and he plays game with it. Now, Meles was in Italy for two things first to beg something from the rich nations. Second, Obama wants to give those African dictators some counseling service. Obama put Meles right next to him, just because Meles needs the most advise from Obama. In the middle of counseling session Meles was looking for the camera (you can see his picture on Aigaforum) because Meles knows that he needs the picture to feed his stupid followers ego. What was discussing in the meeting doesn’t matter. We know what Obama told those dictators including Meles, but Aigaforum doesn’t even mention the substance of the meeting. That is because truth doesn’t have any place in Weyannes mind. Weyannes, regardless of the truth, just keep building up on the false perception of themselves and Meles Zenawi. If they can handle the truth why don’t they talk about what Obama said in Ghana and in the meeting he had with other dictators like Meles in Italy?

    I don’t know what their mothers had been feeding them or not feeding them at all, but the more I know about how weyannes brains work the more I see them as sick and evil people. The sad thing is all weyannes that I know have the same king of characteristics. They are either stupid, irrational or Kelatam. Talk bout the effect of child hood hunger and wars in Tigray. A lot of them are dead the once who serviced are mentally disabled.
    I could me wrong thinking like these of weyannes,but it is only weyannes reasonable thinking proves me wrong.

  4. Sami
    | #4

    I like what Obama has to say. I just hope and pray that he follow his words with some actions. I also hope Weyannes can learn something from Obama’s speech. Meles knows the weyannes’ Psychology more than any body else, and he plays game with it. Now, Meles was in Italy for two things first to beg something from the rich nations. Second, Obama wants to give those African dictators some counseling service. Obama put Meles right next to him, just because Meles needs the most advise from Obama. In the middle of counseling session Meles was looking for the camera (you can see his picture on Aigaforum) because Meles knows that he needs the picture to feed his stupid followers ego. What was discussing in the meeting doesn’t matter. We know what Obama told those dictators including Meles, but Aigaforum doesn’t even mention the substance of the meeting. That is because truth doesn’t have any place in Weyannes mind. Weyannes, regardless of the truth, just keep building up on the false perception of themselves and Meles Zenawi. If they can handle the truth why don’t they talk about what Obama said in Ghana and in the meeting he had with other dictators like Meles in Italy?

    I don’t know what their mothers had been feeding them or not feeding them at all, but the more I know about how weyannes brains work the more I see them as sick and evil people. The sad thing is all weyannes that I know have the same king of characteristics. They are either stupid, irrational or Kelatam. Talk bout the effect of child hood hunger and wars in Tigray. A lot of them are dead because of famine and starvation the once who survived are mentally disabled.
    I could me wrong thinking like these of weyannes, but it is only weyannes reasonable thinking proves me wrong.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    Thia is how Gaurdian.co.uk put it
    Obama administration plans forceful policy to end conflicts in AfricaUS president to emphasise democratic goals for African countries during speech to Ghanaian parliament

    Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 July 2009 14.49 BST Article historyThe US is planning a dramatically more assertive policy in Africa, sometimes backed by a threat of force, to end conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria that are seen as among the principal obstacles to the continent’s revival.

  6. Biri
    | #6

    http://abbaymedia.com/News/?p=2676

    Text of President Barack Obama’s speech Saturday in Accra, Ghana, as provided by the White House:………………. …….
    Read more…

    [[”Let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at perpetual war. But if we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

    These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s neck. Now, we all have many identities — of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe or who worships a different prophet has no place in the 21st century. Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God’s children. We all share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our families and our communities and our faith. That is our common humanity.

    That is why we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justified, never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology. It is the death sentence of a society to force children to kill in wars. It is the ultimate mark of criminality and cowardice to condemn women to relentless and systemic rape. We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in the Congo. No faith or culture should condone the outrages against them. And all of us must strive for the peace and security necessary for progress.

    Africans are standing up for this future. Here, too, in Ghana we are seeing you help point the way forward. Ghanaians should take pride in your contributions to peacekeeping from Congo to Liberia to Lebanon … and your efforts to resist the scourge of the drug trade. We welcome the steps that are being taken by organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS to better resolve conflicts, to keep the peace and support those in need. And we encourage the vision of a strong, regional security architecture that can bring effective, transnational forces to bear when needed.

    America has a responsibility to work with you as a partner to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there’s a genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems — they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response.

    And that’s why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and technical assistance and logistical support, and we will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. And let me be clear: ”-President Barack Obama

  7. Biri
    | #7

    STUNNED BY OBAMA’S OUT-RIGHT DENOUNCIATION OF TYRANNY, TYRANT MZ’S/TPLF’S TABLOID AVOID REPORTING VISIT TO GHANA AND THE HAMMERING MESSAGES!

    http://www.aigaforum.com/

    http://www.waltainfo.com/

  8. yikerbelen
    | #8

    Mr Obama, action speaks louder than word.If you stop supporting african’s bloody dictators , they will collapse by them selves.Africa needs democratically elected leaders.Only such leaders can bring peace, stability and economic growth.Astable africa can greate more investement opportunities to USA’s and EU’s investors.What we see now EU and USA give billions of dollars to corrupted ,heive and un elected dictatorial regimes via westren lobies and that billions of dollars entered in china’s corrupted leaders. Th money USA’s and EU’s citezens can not change the life of poor africa’s children because of corrupted leaders.So the Obama’s admn must use all his power for the following matters.1. All criminals who have committed crime aganist huamnity must be brought to an international court and face justice, as you have said in Ghana, Africa is the part of the world, the african’s poor people should not leave for african’s criminals.2. All african’s coutries must ready for free and fair election .3. before the people go to election , the international communities must check whether all institutions are in palce and well founded.4.The voice of an international observers must be respected. The election results must be certified by an election observors.

  9. ስምረት
    | #9

    ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ የአንድ የታላቋ አሜሪካ መሪ ስል አፍሪካ መሪዎች ሀቅ ተናገሩ:: ይህ ለ ነ አቶ መለስ የውርደት ውርደት ነው:: በግልጽ ነው ባራክ ያስቀመጡት:: ያሉት እኮ ‘እየተክለፈለፋችሁ ለልማና ወደኛ ግ አትምጡ: የራሳችሁን ችግር ራሳችሁ ለመፍታት ሞክሩ’ ነው:: አቶ መለስ በ ጣልያን የጂ ስምንት ስብሰባ አካባቢ ኦባማ ሲያዩአቸው መ እንደነገሯአቸው ከዚህ ከጋና ንግግራቸው መገመት ይቻላላ:: ለሁሉ ጥፋትህ ( ለረሀብ: ለኤለትሪክ መጥፋት: ለ ውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት: ለጦርነት: ለዋጋ ግጽበት…)የምእራቡን አለም ለመውቀስና ካሳ ለመቀበል ተስፋ አድርገህ ኢዚህ ድረስ ስትቅለበለብ አታፍርምን ነው::
    አቶ መለስ የሚያሳፍሩ መሪ…

  10. andelenatu
    | #10

    president barak obama told the african brutal leaders like the one we have in ethiopia end tyrrany.GOD BLESS PRESIDENT BARAK OBAMA THAT IS THE RIGHTWAY I THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

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