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Saturday, November 5, 2016

From Obama to Clinton: Déjà vu?

"For the first time having a black president coming to power, in arguably the most powerful nation, there was that sense of belief, pride. In that regard, there will be a positive legacy that here is someone who is as black as Africans who managed against all odds to get up there.... But then there is also a negative aspect, the US is still a global military power and in a way, Obama hasn’t really managed to change that. The US is still a bully, bullying people all over the world. In as much as we Africans had a black person over there, he hasn’t been able to shift the global dynamics and again what can one person do? Even some of the things that they are trying to achieve in Africa like the power lighting in Africa.... If you look at it, it is really a corporate affair  – all these American companies coming... in the case of my country Tanzania – how on earth does a small place like Ubungo, a suburb in Dar-es-Salaam where I grew up manage to host Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, within a space of 5 years or so? Bill Clinton, George Bush - all of them have been coming. It makes you wonder what is so special about this place. Is it really about lighting Africa, empowering Africa.... But I believe for the young black people in the US, and elsewhere in Africa, the Obama Moment will always be significant. I was following the hashtag #ObamaAndKids, you can see that the level of inspiration... even in my case I have always had a mixed feelings about the US but in the case of Obama – but with Obama it has been very different – in some instances, you had to sympathise with him – no American President has suffered the kind of racism that Obama has suffered. So, I will always have that feeling that here was someone black, inspirational, but again, he was leading a nation that is spearheading military occupations and corporate incursion into our places. My expectations at the moment are not so positive because the candidates that the US got as TOP candidates have got a lot of problems. Trump as you can see is sexist and racist. The situation – I mean the future of America seems very bleak for me. He is coming from the corporate world where whatever he is going to do if he comes into power will be along those lines – corporate imperialism, racism, sexism. They will always tend to go hand in hand in marginalizing a lot of people who don’t fit into the mainstream. Hillary seems to be relatively better than Trump but, again, if you look at all these major projects that I was talking about, the ones that have been spearheaded in Africa and elsewhere - Hillary was instrumental in them. She came to Dar-es-Salaam to push for the American companies to get this power – electricity deal in Africa. Of course, the underlying argument is that they want to light Africa but if you are lighting Africa why does it have to be American Companies? And then all these scandals that  her campaign has in terms of undermining someone [Bernie Sanders] who seems to be more progressive, I think all of them are casting some kind of  a shadow. Some people remember her husband’s [Bill Clinton] reign [for the Democrats] as a lively force compared to the Republicans, so, there are some people who hope maybe Hillary will be more like that. But based on these scandals that are coming out and what she is doing when she was Secretary of the State, I think that she is going to be just an Iron Lady who will probably make us see more of the ruthless side of America" - Chambi Chachage (@udadisi): Interviewed by Ruth Aine (@Ruthaine)

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