Society Magazine

Memo to Obama: There's a Country Called Kenya!

Posted on the 03 July 2013 by Aengw @alexengwete

Memo to Obama: There's a country called Kenya!

(PHOTO: From left to right: Senegal's First Lady Marieme Faye, U.S. President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and

Senegal's President Macky Sall at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013.)


"Obama, you should've gone home to Kenya to visit your family!" 

This was the universal mantra resounding in the streets of Kinshasa when TV and radio reports were broadcasting news of Air Force One being all wheels down at Dakar.

The rumor of the mantra went up a notch when TV footage showed Obama beaming by the side of Senegal's First Lady Marieme Faye instead of Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. 

"What a fool!" a woman yelled at the big screen TV in a Lebanese-owned snack bar that showed more footage of Obama in Dakar. "He should've gone home to visit grandma. I mean, the guy really thinks Senegal is a democracy!"

Well, that woman was right. Senegal isn't actually the model of "stable democracy" Obama claimed it to be despite a history of peaceful changeovers in political leadership with no coups d'état.

Take a look around!

Senegal's former president, Abdoulaye Wade, after long years in the opposition, turned into an autocrat soon after he assumed the presidency.

And just months into his presidency, Macky Sall had Karim Wade, the son of former president Wade and a former minister, thrown in Dakar's infamous Rebeuss Central Prison on trumped-up charges of ill-gotten gains.

Just as under Wade, political activities of opposition parties continue to be severely curtailed in the Sall administration.

A French describes well this Senegalese perfect symmetry: "bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet." In plain English: Tweedledee and Tweedledum!

What's more, a conviction on "unnatural acts," as homosexuality is defined in Senegalese law, is still punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

Well, I shouldn't be glossing over this mention of homosexuality by Obama on the first leg of his Africa tour.

Just as everywhere in Africa, Obama's unfortunate glee at a joint presser with Sall over the Supreme Court rulings overturning California Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage and striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) had a major negative reverberation in Kinshasa.

I was scolded by two female Christian fanatics to whom I was trying to explain that in both cases Obama wasn't a plaintiff--a notion I couldn't dispel after long minutes of a discussion that quickly escalated into insults directed at me over my unchristian defense of a "pro-homosexuality president."

To shut me up for good, one of the women exclaimed: "Why doesn't Obama just divorce Michelle and marry another man!"

Anger at Obama reached fever pitch on Monday when at another joint presser, this time with Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, he said:

"The countries surrounding the Congo, they've got to make a commitment to stop funding armed groups that are encroaching on territorial integrity and sovereignty of Congo."

"Who are these mysterious and unnamed culprits?" Kinois angrily wondered. "Who are those elusive 'countries surrounding the Congo' but America's strongest allies in the region: Rwanda and Uganda? Rwanda and Uganda who are doing America's dirty work in Africa!"

Congolese were especially exercised by what they perceived as double standard or "double speak" as one TV pundit put it: while Congo's aggressors remain forever unnamed, "Kabila was namely trampled in the mud" by Obama!

Obama actually said:

"President Kabila inside Congo, he has to do more and better when it comes to dealing with the DRC's capacity on security issues and delivery of services."

An opinion that eerily rehearses Rwanda and M23 propaganda; the same argument used to justify rape by what the woman wears...



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