Jan 17 2009

Ghana’s great leap forward

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 3:46 PM

The unexpected victory of opposition candidate Atta Mills in Ghana’s run-off presidential election is a reminder that sometimes elections do matter in Africa. After eight desultory years under the  avuncular but ineffective John Kufuor, the dominant New Patriotic Party put up a complacent candidate to go against two-time loser Atta Mills, who triumphed in a squeaker. My good friend Nana Kofi Coomson, publisher of the Ghanaian Chronicle, the leading independent newspaper in the country, views the unexpected victory by the protégé of former dictator Jerry Rawlings as potential a turning point in Ghana’s democratic history. “Mills has surrounded himself with brainy people, lots of talent,” Coomson writes. Among the talent is dynamic vice president John Mahama. While fears abound over the integrity of a Mills government – especially given the vast amount of foreign aid Ghana receives, especially from the U.S. – the peaceful transfer of power between political parties underscores the commitment in Ghana to a new style of African politics.


Jan 17 2009

From Obamaland

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 3:46 PM

I made a surprise visit to Andrew Mwenda in his Kampala offices today. One of the giants of African journalism, Mwenda owns and edits a remarkable weekly magazine, the Independent. With the eve of Barack Obama’s presidency, Mwenda proposed that I writer a weekly column on Africa’s place in the world in the time of Obama. I’d been thinking about such a column myself, and we quickly chose a name. My debut article will come in advance of the Big O’s inaugural speech later this month. Africans eagerly wait to learn whether the arrival of a black man to the White House – and the son of a man from East Africa – signals a profound change in America’s stance towards the rest of the world – and towards its important African-American minority, In “From Obamaland,” I plan to explore many facets of contemporary Africa from the perspective of political economy, society and identity.