At 4 P.M. President Ahidjo was the guest of Long Island University [New York] which conferred upon him the degree Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa. Citation: Mr. President: I have the privilege of presenting to you His Excellency Ahmadou Ahidjo, President of the Federal Republic of Cameroun.
Born to the respected Fulani of northern Cameroun, he came south to study in the capital Yaounde, and here he was soon drawn into the swift political eddies of a people aspiring to independence. In 1947, when his country was yet a United Nations trust territory administered by the French, he won his first elected office, a seat in the Representative Assembly. He was then 23 years old. Sagacious beyond his years, quick-witted and persuasive in debate, he rose to become Prime Minister in 1958 and from this high office, guided his country to independence on the first day of January 1960.
From closing down Guantanamo and banishing lobbyists, to dressing down in the Oval Office and planting vegetables on the South Lawn, the Obama presidency is reshaping America.
1 When presidents get invited to the annual Gridiron Dinner for a night of political skits among the Washington press corps, they always go. Not this one, who became the first sitting President politely to decline.
2 We have had lots of canine companions on the rugs of the Oval Office, but Obama's is the first first whose name, Bo, is also his master's initials. Better still, Portuguese water dogs come with fine Democrat credentials – Senator Ted Kennedy has litters of them.
WASHINGTON, March 13 - Ahmadou Ahidjo, President of the Federal Republic of Cameroon, arrived today for a two-day state visit. The 38-year old leader of the West African republic was greeted at the Washington National Airport by President Kennedy.
"But for all the progress that has been made, we must surely acknowledge that neither Kenya nor the African continent have yet fulfilled their potential - that the hopefulness of the post-colonial era has been replaced by cynicism and sometimes despair, and that true freedom has not yet been won for those struggling to live on less than a few shillings a day, for those who have fallen prey to HIV/AIDS or malaria, to those ordinary citizens who continue to find themselves trapped in the crossfire of war or ethnic conflict." President Obama
As Africa anxiously waits to see how/if US policy towards Africa will change under the Obama administration, the following speech delivered in 2006 by then Senator Barack obama at the University of Nairobi in Kenya gives us a rare insight into the President's views oncorruption, ethnic politics and patronage in Africa.
"In spite of all the rhetoric about change, American foreign policy has been consistent over the years. It has been more of a gardening exercise than an act of bulldozing; a phenomenon described as the "change and changelessness" of US foreign policy."
President Obama's admonishment of those leaders "who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent" during his inaugural address has been widely interpreted in Africa to mean that, unlike previous US administrations, the Obama administration will go after leaders who oppress their people, violate human rights and prevent the growth of genuine democracy. In fact, in the past week, African newspapers, blogs, and internet forums have been replete with gleeful commentary announcing the impending discomfiture of those African dictators who refuse to "unclench their fists".
Barack Obama: To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
Paul Biya: Today, January 20, 2009, Mr. Barack Obama is being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. It is a historic moment which is full of symbolic significance and which raises great expectations.
Poem read by Maya Angelou at the Clinton Inaugural on January 20, 1993
A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Marked the mastodon. The dinosaur, who left dry tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
Lots of Cameroonians are borderline obsessed with [Obama] and his candidacy... I think it’s also about what Obama’s candidacy tells them about America. It tells them that son of an African student can rise to become leader of one of the largest and most powerful nations on earth. It reinforces the idea that somewhere in the world is a place where people can rise above the limitations imposed on them by others and make something of their lives.
If you thought I was out of touch with US politics, rest assured that’s not the case. Even if I had no internet access and no desire to follow politics, I would still be hearing about the election from all my Cameroonian friends (and some passing acquaintances and occasionally even strangers). Cameroonians have plenty of access to international news on the TV and radio. Via satellite or cable many households even have CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, not to mention the BBC, Al Jazeera, French news programs, etc.
"... the politics of division, demonization and fear which was promoted with religious zeal in the last eight years has been an abysmal and tragic failure...It is time for a fresh, inclusive, innovative and forward-looking approach to national and international politics"
“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities... My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery." This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer.” Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska at the Republican National Convention.
Even when Republicans have common roots, their understanding of the lives and concerns of the less advantaged is lightweight. How can Gov. Palin – and her speech writers - not understand what a Community Activist does?
US Senator Barack Obama with Eric Tande
How can she not understand the significance of a young man dedicating his life to mending the lives of people who have lost their livelihoods and the ability to support their families and community after the closure of steel mills in Middle America? Her attempt at belittling the service Obama rendered as a community activist does not even qualify as political theatre.
After an epic five-month battle that has transformed American politics, Barack Obama claimed the Democratic nomination last night, continuing his extraordinary quest to become the first African-American president in his country's history.
It was the most important milestone yet, in the meteoric political journey of Mr Obama, the son of a black intellectual from Kenya and a white anthropologist from Kansas who only four years ago was an almost unknown state senator from Illinois.
The spate of school shootings that has hit America in recent months struck close to home yesterday, February 14, 2008, when gunfire shattered the serene atmosphere at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Illinois. A gunman burst into an amphitheater and shot 22 students, killing five, and then turned the gun on himself.
NIUDeKalb is some 65 miles west of Chicago, and a mere 35 miles from my home. It is also my alma mater. My wife, also an NIU alumna, works with the mother of one of the victims.
Father Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas, has reversed his ban on Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He announced the decision in a letter to students and faculty of the university. Here is the full text of the letter:
Dear members of the St. Thomas community,
One of the strengths of a university is the opportunity that it provides to speak freely and to be open to other points of view on a wide variety of issues. And, I might add, to change our minds.
Therefore, I feel both humbled and proud to extend an invitation to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak at the University of St. Thomas.
The international firestorm which erupted last week after authorities at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota cancelled an invitation to South African Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak at the University is yet to subside.
According to Doug Hennes, vice president for university and government relations, the Rev. Dennis Dease, St. Thomas' president, decided to ban Tutu from campus because,