Monday, November 5, 2012

US presidential election: who does the world want to win?

Obama's election provoked euphoria in his ancestral village in Kenya, as well as among African governments who scented a chance to move up the US's list of priorities.
Four years later, there is largely a sense of deflation and, judging by column inches in the press, somewhat less enthusiasm for this year's presidential race. Sub-Saharan Africa has barely been mentioned in the campaign and the feeling of apathy is mostly mutual.
Yet residual loyalty to Obama remains deep and, if Africa's billion citizens got to vote, it seems likely he would win by a landslide.
"Four years ago there was so much hope in this country," said Boniface Mwangi, a photographer and political activist whose office in Nairobi, Kenya, is decorated with Obama's image in life-size cardboard replica. "Now we're no longer that hopeful and asking where did we go wrong. I thought Barack Obama would do well for Africa but I'm ashamed to say that George Bush did more. Obama has done nothing for us. People are very mad, especially in Kogelo, his family village: they're still expecting some kind of handout from [him]. I hope his second term plans will include Africa; otherwise he's a scumbag and a hoax."
Kenya is preoccupied with its own elections. Yet despite everything, Mwangi, who took out a bank loan to be in America for Obama's historic 2008 win, hopes that he will repeat the feat. "He's more progressive than Romney in every way. Romney will be bad for America and the world. He's shallow and slimy, like a car salesman selling junk."
Obama, who once hailed the "blood of Africa within me", has spent only 20 hours on sub-Saharan African soil since becoming president (it was a stopover in Ghana in between summits elsewhere).
By contrast, the president of China, Hu Jintao, has made seven trips to Africa, five as head of state, and visited at least 17 countries, according to the Brookings Institution.
But the Democrat remains way ahead of Romney in terms of brand recognition. Shehu Sani, an author and human rights activist in Nigeria, said:
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If Africa votes Obama

THE forthcoming election in the United States of America, had taken much of the global airwaves, and daily assuming a media glitz of dizzying dimension.
In the next few days, Americans would be going to the poll again; to vote a president that will preside over their nation for the next four years.
In the present
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