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Monday, November 5, 2012

Barack Obama, Atupele Muluzi in Cabinet

America votes tomorrow  Sometime in 2006 when I was settling down at Harvard's Cabot House, we were having the usual meet and greet with African students that I had just met at Harvard-African Students Association. The three would be my closest team until I left the place. There was a Zimbabwean, a Tanzanian and a summer school student from Benin who was just hanging around.
Out of the many topics we spoke of a Harvard graduate, a black senator Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan and wanted to run for Democrats in 2008. Some Professors at Kennedy School of Government were said to be hosting him somewhere near the Square for some influential in Cambridge and Boston area.
The following day at Kennedy School someone pointed at the Senator, but very few paid attention. Here was another black man trying to do the impossible.
As the primaries started and he triumphed, everything had changed, even some of the students on campus who were always presumed Republican, started talking more of Barack and changing attires to the suitable colours. Obama represented hope and change to America, more especially the black community which forever keeps shifting blame on someone for failing to attain the American dream.
I have had a privilage of talking to many Americans on why Obama should win or loose. Everybody, even the Republicans know Barack Obama will not loose, but many, they are reacting to the current economic crisis that has taken this great nation almost to its needs.
For many in Africa, Obama has failed to assist his continent and much attention has been paid elsewhere and they have enough reasons suddenly to turn around and blame Obama for failing to deliver for Africa.
Whatever happens tomorrow is America's choice, but it has impact on the short and long term basis over what Malawians would really want our future to be.
Obama inherited an economy almost on its knees, he stopped the recession and recovery has been slow and painful. This reminds us of how Joyce Banda inherited the economy. 
Hearing the criticism of the Republicans to Obama, one cannot help to remember what the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party has been saying about Joyce Banda.
The truth is that the Republicans had won, the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq or the global view of America could have been worse. Everyone found an excuse to attack America. I am sure the USA could have been fighting in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia and even Syria.
Barack Obama has managed to restore the role and image of USA a global peace maker. Even with China, Obama has changed the way Chinese looked at USA as a bully. Many today are willing to listen to the US views without thinking negatively.
The economy is still far from full recovery, but there is hope in the USA that things are moving in the right direction, what is required is the momentum that the economy can recover fully.
If I were voting, I am sure I would not be experimenting, but vote for Barack Obama, not for his race, but for his ability to listen and make decisions on what would be better for the majority middle class that a rich few.
As Americans decide tommorrow, I will be looking forward to results and lessons the elections have provided for to the world on democracy.
Locally, Atupele Muluzi was last week elected to be the National Chairman of the United Democratic Front. He has made his case to stay in Government bringing in a very interesting development to the way politics works in Malawi.
We have the administration of President Joyce Banda, and we have potential rival running economic planning and development Ministry. Atupele believes he can combine the two positions without contradiction, I know some of his key supporters are fuming.
But the biggest kudos go to President Joyce Banda for allowing a challenger to be in Cabinet. Despite UDF crossing back to Opposition, the President has once again demonstrated that party politics and Government are different business.
The continued stay of Atupele Muluzi in Cabinet should teach some politicians lessons, that a call to national service is different from personal ambitions. JB has powers to fire Atupele for being outside her party, but she has once again risen above petty politics.
Let our democracy be the winner!

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