Saturday, November 1, 2008


As the curtains lower on the most expensive and (arguably) dramatic US presidential election campaign, Ngum Ngafor uncovers Cameroonians’ hopes for the next American government.

Cyril Nambangi, Student, USA: I won't be voting on election day but would like to see Barack Obama as the next president.

Their (US) policies do not really matter to me that much because I don't see anything worse that him or McCain can bring to the table. I survived 8 years of BUSH so Obama or McCain do not scare me! Now I can actually go to hell and dine with the devil and come back and laugh about it Obama to me is a phenomenon! I am just curious to see him become President in this country then I will believe a lot has changed! Then I'll believe Garvey, Malcolm, Bobby Hutton and Rev. King did not die in vain!

US foreign policy drives me crazy! Can't stand the way they bully everyone else and the "other people" just sit there and take it. Internally, their economy is a mess right now but that just shows you how different we are as humans. They have a failing economy but are still adamant on pumping billions on a "supposed" war against terrorism. Talk about misplaced priorities!

Cameroon has nothing to do or benefit from the next American president. He'll still be an "American President" and Cameroon and those other countries will still remain "suckers" to American "bling"!

Yvonne Tangang, Student, USA: I voted (early) for Barack Obama for one simple reason: change. He has a better plan for jumpstarting the US economy. We are in way too much debt, which limits the number of jobs available. Also, he proposes middle-class tax relief, a reform of bankruptcy laws and affordable health insurance. These are my priorities.

I really didn’t think of how my choice of candidate would affect Cameroon but I definitely will in future. However I believe Obama will pursue policies that could benefit Cameroon because he seems to care more about the “little” or average person than McCain does.

Fen Ngu, Student, UK: Forget the fact that Obama is black. From the presidential debates, one can tell that he has a lot to offer the American people - and the world.

Although democrats have traditionally instituted Africa-friendly programmes such as the Peace Corps (educational scheme), I don’t see Cameroon benefiting substantially from any American presidency until our government changes. Cameroon is self-sufficient and can provide for the immediate needs of its people. But what does our government do? Embezzle. Unlike Ghana or Nigeria whose governments, despite their shortcomings, still manage to provide for their people, our leaders want us to be part of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative! In their twisted opinions, the poorer we are, the more aid we get and the more money they can siphon abroad. It wouldn’t matter whether Obama or McCain is president. Even if other countries gain from a new American administration, we won’t until ours changes.

Kathleen Ndongmo, Business Analyst, Nigeria: Barack Obama is God’s own man chosen for His people – and this is God’s time for that purpose to be fulfilled.

To me, this election is about people moving from just being politicians and practising politics to being leaders and practising global leadership. I am certain that Mr Obama is more than capable of being the leader that the world wants to see.I credit him with a lot of good judgment and foresight and therefore believe that he and his team are a step ahead in the fight against terror. I see his strategy of paying immediate attention to America’s on-the-door-step issues (like the Israel-Palestine conflict) as important in gaining the trust of the American people. It would however be short-sighted of the future American president to compromise the rising potential of Africa and not address the need for America to become more involved in the possibility that Africa is the rising giant of the world. I do not worry about Mr Obama coming round to taking Africa along during his tenure.

Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Filmmaker, France: If I could make a film about the recent US elections, I would call it The Mainstream. This is because the event raises very serious questions for Cameroonians and Africans in general. How far are we ready to go to please whites? Obama’s capacity to win this election is tied to his ability to please them. Doing so is going mainstream. Can we apply this to a country such as Cameroon? For places like South Africa and Zimbabwe, it’s quite obvious. In Cameroon we have no (significant) white population. However westerners are present through their agenda and interest. I’m afraid that Africa might be the biggest loser of this election if we are not careful.

Although US-based Africans could play a significant role in getting Obama elected I doubt they could become as powerful as the Jewish or Cuban lobbies. These groups didn’t need one of theirs as (prospective) president of USA to become powerful. We need to rethink how the modern world functions and how we design our networks according to our goals. We tend to have a top-down model in Africa and in Cameroon particularly. We always feel disempowered by the system, forgetting that if we want our country to be a democracy, we need to get organized at the people level and push our agenda to the top using any method to get the results we want. A lobby is a group of people with an agenda who are networking with people at the top to get what they want.

George Mbella, Journalist, Cameroon: I have been listening attentively since I noticed Africa is not a topic on the electoral debate agenda. So many things are happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Zimbabwe, in Somalia, in Eritrea etc that need just one statement from both candidates as they did for Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan etc. Nothing is being said about promoting investment in Africa so as to reverse poverty. Even the famous African Growth and Opportunity Act is ignored.

However I endorse Barack Obama because I hope that he might turn the situation around and give Africa the attention it merits. The continent has the natural and human resources to play a leading role in world economic affairs. In other words, an economically strong Africa would be beneficial to the strength of the global economy. Obama has touched these realities during his trips to Africa and so he is better equipped than McCain to initiate durable solutions to Africa 's problems.

He could set up a fund to empower dynamic American-trained Africans who want to come back to their countries of origin and create ventures that would contribute in rebuilding our economies. So many African brothers and sisters have contributed to the American Dream and are prepared to shift to the African Dream.

Dibussi Tande, Writer, USA: The economic crisis is the most significant issue at this time because of its potential to spill over into every facet of life here in the US and beyond. I would like to see a new political climate in Washington because the politics of division, demonization and fear which was promoted with religious zeal in the last eight years has been an abysmal and tragic failure. I am also interested in the turn and tone that US foreign policy will take under a new administration. I believe that a less doctrinaire US foreign policy will make this world a much safer place for everyone. It is time for a fresh, inclusive, innovative and forward-looking approach to national and international politics. It is my contention that Barack Obama is best placed to deliver on this score. So he has my vote.

I believe Cameroonians can learn a lot from these elections – and American politics in general, especially with regards to establishing a legitimate, fair and transparent electoral process. Unlike the Cameroonian electoral system which has only a veneer of transparency, accountability and fairness, and is heavily skewed in favour of the incumbent and/or the party in power, the American system is a truly inclusive, transparent and democratic system at the service of its people. For more on Dibussi Tande’s views of the US elections, please visit

Many thanks to everyone who agreed to be interviewed. In case you're wondering where the McCain supporters are, rest assured, I am too. It seems easier to find a needle in a haystack. Yep! Cameroon seems to be solid Obama territory. Roll in November 4th.
That is it here from us at Dulce Camer.

Happy voting!

Stay sweet



No comments: