HARGEISA, 20 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) – All Africa reports, “The election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States is celebrated as a milestone in several, well known respects – not only will he assume office as the first president of color – but as an underdog who entered the race for the White House with a slim resume, an unfamiliar name pitted against an established political brand and a political novice whose prospects of raising enough money to meet up to the task were not extremely bright at the starting line.
The response to Obama’s conquest of these challenges across Africa has been, unsurprisingly, euphoric. Most obviously due to Obama’s Kenyan heritage – and as many have been quick to note, the almost involuntary inspiration that Obama’s mix of intellect and emotional intelligence often evokes.
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But apart from the goodwill that Obama’s election elicits – there are crucial lessons to be gleaned on the importance of active citizenship and of ordinary citizens taking full responsibility for the direction that their democracy takes. Several across the African continent would do well to emulate the example set by ordinary U.S. citizens who have, through the election of Obama, painted a vivid picture of a democracy that has indeed come of age.
However, it is Africa’s broad network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) seeking to change the continent that has a rich case study of an effective grassroots movement to glean lessons from – particularly given the spirit of volunteerism and civic participation that buoyed Obama’s bid for the presidency.”