Election 2012: The African Perspective

As an African, I view the US election process as an extremely costly, very lengthy, and a fiercely daunting mechanism that wastes far too many resources in the name of Democracy. Democracy is important, but should not be used as façade to encourage the misuse of important resources. Obviously, I am aware of the geopolitical situations around the world, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, who in my perspective may fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, but today we are talking about the US. The election process puts an early spotlight on the candidates and their families who are campaigning for the top two jobs in the White House: The President and Vice President. Through this process, there is a hope that the American people are thereafter fully informed despite the numerous news channels that spew misinformation – (crime?) and the blatant variations of the truth at rally’s and conventions (mostly republican).

Unfortunately, there is also the sometimes inhumane and disrespectful “free speech” towards the incumbent – yes, people – President Barack “Hussein” Obama is an American Citizen (someone please tell D. Trump). In the end, and through all the clutter, the American people are expected and somewhat free to choose who they think represents their interest the best. Although this is the process of the country deemed as the pillar of Democracy, if I did not know better, I would think that there are only two political parties in the US, but despite what may appear as an oligopoly, it is amazing to see what people take for granted and how money coupled with media win elections.

There is just too much money put into campaigns. According to OpenSecrets.org approximately $6 billion will be spent on the 2012 US elections. This money in my perspective could be better spent within the US economy or local communities. It should be clear by now that I, speaking for all Africans, by the power vested in me, clearly think that President Obama is the clear candidate of choice for the US, for Africa, and for the global community. There are some people who for some reason hate President Obama and willing to sink the Good Ship America so long as President Obama sinks with it. Never has a president done so much with unfathomable resistance from the opposition party to the extent that elected government officials are willing to hold hostage the progress of government business rather than see President Obama succeed or work together for a common goal.

Mitt Romney has shown no interest in Africa whatsoever.  In this day and age, how can we not see that war is bad and that the US, as a world super power, should have a president who wants to work on amicable nonviolent methods to achieve peace and stability? How can people be upset that President Obama wants dialogue with the perceived enemies of the US? How do people expect to solve issues of terrorism and global security if the US itself is not willing to participate in dialogue to promote peace and stability? America has the advantage. America is a wealthy nation. America needs to understand that there are almost 7 billion people on earth that look to the 350 million Americans as one example of what a good life looks like. More importantly, what a good life means. How can any American not want universal healthcare for themselves, their children, their neighbors? From the outside looking in, whether it is Uganda, Namibia, or Tanzania, it is a simple choice on what kind of global leader people believe will be the best suited help the US become better than it is today.

America is supposed to the beacon of hope for democracy but the election process as simple as it is sometimes made out to be, is in reality very complex. Africa (yes, generalization), does not have the institutional foundations positioned independently or strongly enough to withstand irregularities and other infrastructural impediments, but we do have the hope that we can do better, and in many cases look to America as being that better we strive for. Nevertheless, America can also become better. Africans should not entertain this costly mockery of what was intended to be free and fair democratic election process. Money should not buy elections. Elections should be won on merit, debate, facts, and who will represent the interest of the entire country, not just the ruling elites or wealthy. As critical as I have been, the US has a system that works for the American people and a system that has led to decades of economic growth, stability, and prosperity. However, the way that America conducts elections needs to be reformed because it is not good for America, and also does not give the best example to the rest of the world in how to implement democratic processes. We need to remove the crazy amounts of money that make or break political campaigns and have a fair and balanced approach to the representation of a candidate based on merit taking into account the heterogeneity of our ethnic populations and challenging institutional voids.

October 1, 2012
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