BY MAYIMUNA NABAGEREKA
Under President Obama, the US commitment to democracy and human rights [with the exception of gay rights] in Africa has taken a back-burner. President Obama and his government only seem to talk about democracy and human rights as an afterthought. President Obama has become a huge disappointment. We see him freely consorting, laughing, dancing, and breaking bread with leaders whose hands are dripping with blood of innocent fellow citizens, and whose pockets are bulging with stolen public resources.
Apart from giving high-sounding but empty lectures about leaders ignoring constitutional term limits, President Obama’s government has done nothing concrete to punish leaders who ignore or trample on human rights and democracy. Today, one of the oldest and longest-serving presidents in Africa comes from East Africa—with no end in sight to his regime. Two leaders seeking to change their countries’ constitution to prolong their stay in power are from East Africa. One of the most brutal thugs who has managed to kill his way to power while using a sophisticated PR regime to sanitize his regime in the eyes of the international community is from East Africa. And there are civil wars in South Sudan and Somalia. All these are happening without serious, thoughtful, and meaningful engagement from President Obama.
As an aside. During his recent trip to Kenya, President took a moment to meet with his Kenyan relatives. There are reports — I don’t know how accurate the reports are — that President Obama’s Kenyan relatives took him to task over his indifference to their welfare while in office. Now, while I do not necessarily support the President’s relatives’ expectations and demands on him, what I found very telling and very significant was his response to their questions, demands, and expectations. He reportedly told the relatives, “I cannot help you now because there are rules and regulations limiting my ability to help you now while in the White House, but don’t worry, I will help you once I am out of the White House.” Think about that, Africa!