Why Obama's Ghana Pick Is Excellent

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Ghana is being rewarded for good governance, good economic management, and the rule of law, with a visit by President Barack Obama and Michelle in July.

The land of Kwame Nkrumah and Pan-Africanism has been shining lately.

The country, which had a smooth election and transition earlier this year with John Atta Mills stepping into office was selected over larger and more powerful African countries such as Nigeria and South Africa for the honor.

Nigeria and South Africa are weighed down with anvils.

Although South Africa qualifies as Africa's most powerful democracy, the newly elected president there, Jacob Zuma, is a man of unenviable morals and lacks integrity, which is important for a nation's president. His financial advisor and friend was convicted on bribery charges and served prison time.

He had reportedly paid the bribe to Zuma while he was vice president to steer arms contracts to favored suppliers. Yet, Zuma, the alleged recipient of the bribe, was never tried.

Zuma faced investigation for years and former president Thabo Mbeki dropped him as vice president. But Zuma had strong grassroots support. He defeated Mbeki for the ANC party leadership and eventually Mbeki was forced to step down, paving the way for Zuma's rise in the recent elections.

South African authorities had earlier dropped the investigation when it became clear that nothing could stop Zuma from becoming president.

He had also been involved in an earlier scandal when he was acquitted of rape. He claimed the sex, with a family friend, had been consensual.

The woman was HIV positive: Zuma claimed he minimized his own risk by taking a warm shower after intercourse. He became the butt of South African jokes and was widely ridiculed.

There was no chance South Africa, even with the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela, could be the first African country visited by President Obama, due to the stench from Zuma’s post-apartheid political career.

(Although Obama's first continental visit is to Egypt, the Cairo government considers itself more Middle Eastern than African).

Nigeria also was eliminated because of the rigged elections that ushered Umaru Yar'Ardua into office. The country also has terrible PR as a result of the ongoing conflict in the oil rich Delta region--the millions of dollars spent on "rebranding" will never be a substitute for good leadership.

All in all, Ghana, the first country to win independence from Britain in Africa, the mother of Pan-Africanism, and birth home of Nkrumah, was an excellent choice.

Please post your comments directly online or submit them for publication to milton@blackstarnews.com

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