US President Barack Obama arrived in South Africa on June 28th as part of his three-nation African tour which also included Senegal and Tanzania. It was his first major African tour since taking office five years ago.
But instead of a gracious welcome by the ‘Rainbow Nation’, he was met by some angry protesters who made their strong feelings about how unwelcome he is clearly known.
Protesters consisting of trade unions, student bodies, political parties and civil society in the ‘Nobama’ (No You Can’t Obama) campaign were against the President’s visit citing a list of issues including arrogant and oppressive foreign policy, human rights violations, war atrocities in Afghanistan, the use of drones to kill innocent civilians, colonial racism, the failure to close Guantanamo Bay and even the US’s contribution to global warming.
Furthermore, protesters discount the reason for Obama’s visit which was to discuss trade relations and investment, claiming instead that it is purely for the benefit and enrichment of America by wanting to capitalise on South Africa’s rich minerals and resources in the same way that America meddled with the Middle East because of its oil resources.
“We categorically make it known that the visit of the US president to South Africa is an unwelcome visit that will be protested, picketed and resisted by all justice and peace-loving peoples of this country,” the organisations said in a joint statement.
One particularly scathing protest poster read, “USA = Under Satanic Administration”. Another banner had a photo of Obama with the caption, “Meet the world’s top assassin”.
It is interesting to me that these people who have so much to say about the US president, do not target their own president in the same vociferous manner.
South African president, Jacob Zuma runs amok like a naughty rebellious child who has been left alone at home to wreak havoc and is rubbing his hands with glee. Like a Cheshire cat, the man just cannot wipe the smug grin off his face. He is having a blast and isn’t shy to show it.
He started off his presidency in 2009 under dubious circumstances. This is a man who was elected president despite being smack-dab in the middle of controversial bribery and corruption charges in respect to a dodgy arms deal. The case was conveniently dropped just before he took office.
This is a man who displayed shocking ignorance when he made a statement saying he took a shower immediately after having sex with a woman who was HIV positive because “it would minimise the risk of contracting the disease”. Yes, seriously, he said that!
This is a man who is currently spending R206 million (approximately $12 million / £13.5 million) of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his massive homestead in his hometown Nkandla for his family (which include six wives) and bulk up security which includes an underground bunker, while millions in the country live in abject poverty.
His Zulu culture allows him to have more than one wife. But who is footing the bill for the lavish lifestyles of his six wives? The taxpayer. Khaya Dlanga, in an article he wrote for News 24 about the president’s many wives said, “Hugh Hefner’s libido has nothing on the man from Nkandla. In fact, when Hugh Hefner dreams, he dreams he died and woke up as Jacob Zuma.”
And recently, he was caught with his pants down during an embarrassing incident when the Guptas, a wealthy Indian family who are known friends of Zuma, used a national key point, the Waterkloof Air Force Base, as their own private landing strip to fly in guests for a family wedding.
This created uproar by the public and the media. Waterkloof is supposed to be for state, visiting diplomats and military activity. Zuma and the ANC (African National Congress) government denied granting permission. Zuma absconded from answering questions about, the government knew nothing about it, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) did not approve it – basically nobody knew anything about it. Hmmm… really?
I flinch every time somebody talks about South Africa’s democracy. Democracy? What democracy? We have a government who ignores the peoples’ cries and are hellbent on doing whatever they please to the detriment of the country. That’s NOT a democracy.
Corruption thrives and to hide it the government has now passed the ‘Secrecy Bill’ (official name ‘Protection of State Information Bill’) which will severely restrict the media from reporting on certain government activity. Wait! Tell me again this is a democracy. Does limiting the freedom of press not threaten the essence of democracy? South Africa is on dangerous ground.
In just under 20 years, the ANC government has managed to take things that functioned just fine and screwed it up.
Electricity was affordable. In fact, South Africa had one of the lowest rates for electricity once upon a time, and availability was not a problem. Today we have ‘power bulletins’ as part of our news every night that indicate the level of electricity usage and urge people to reduce usage or risk power outages. Why? Because we are now in the midst of an energy crisis.
Reports were brought to the attention of government and ESKOM (SA’s only energy provider) many years ago that warned them that in a few short years energy supply would not meet demand. They ignored it. The result – power outages became a regular part of life in this country a few years ago. To compensate and fund new power stations and energy sources, the taxpayer has now been hit hard. Electricity costs have soared in South Africa and continue to increase steadily, hitting people’s pockets hard. Coupled with rising petrol prices mean less disposal income, making life a lot tougher for the average South African.
This is just one example of how Zuma’s government is creating more and more poverty in the country and utterly failing in their election promises of alleviating poverty. I recall the ANC election campaign posters spouting the slogan “A Better Life for All”. They have subsequently accomplished the opposite and made it a worse life for all. Well done Zuma!
Education is another thing that functioned really well back in the day when I was at school. Enter the ANC who implemented Outcomes Based Education. Fifteen years later they are finally admitting that OBE isn’t working very well and are looking at rewriting the school curriculum. In the meantime, we have an entire generation of poorly educated young people out there in the workforce. *slapping head in despair*
Zuma and his cronies are sitting pretty, their pockets stuffed and their bellies full, while their people suffer. Service delivery protests are common. Basic services such as sanitation are still lacking in many townships.
The list goes on… I could sit here all day writing about the mess Zuma has created in this country, but you get the point.
I hope those who vehemently opposed Obama’s visit and all the so-called atrocities America has committed, take a closer look at the mess and the atrocities being committed right in the own backyard while licking their lips on the MacDonalds burger or KFC they happily forked out money for. The idiots!