Obama: end of an era
WHEN Barrack Obama emerged as the 44th and first black president of the United States in 2008, he had the whole world at his feet. He departed this week in similar fashion. The end of the Obama years marks the end of an era in global politics. The son of a Kenyan father, Barack Hussein Obama will probably go down in history as one of the US’s most successful presidents, but perhaps also its most colourful.
He leaves the US economy better than he found it and will be credited for steering it out of the murky waters of the 2008 global economic meltdown. And that’s no mean feat.
No wonder then that when he bid Americans – and the world – farewell this week, Obama once again had the world at his feet. In typical Obama fashion, the script was the work of an orator and statesman.
And he ended his presidency where it all began – in Chicago, where his campaign started with the words that became the signature of his bid for the world’s number one job: “Yes, we can!”
Obama leaves the White House in the hands of a man the world is yet to understand – controversial billionaire Donald Trump.
It will probably be a long time – a very long time – before the US has another black president. Or a president of Obama’s calibre.
But that’s not to say he was infallible. The Obama presidency wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. His critics will be quick to point out that Obama was a war monger of a US president. And he probably was.
Many in Africa may also feel that for a man who connected so well with Africans as the first black man in the White House, Obama was never really quite the African we thought he would be. And that the US’s foreign policy on Africa remained largely unchanged.
But there is no doubt that Africa remained in his heart. We hope that now that he is out of the hot seat, Obama, together with Michelle and their kids Malia and Sasha, will have more time to travel in Africa, the continent of his forefathers, and to inspire our people so we too can say “Yes, we can!”.