President Obama and the freedom of the city award


Cape Town, South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) the ruling party said that President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle must not accept the Freedom of the City award. ANC Western Cape Secretary Songezo Mjongile said, “To us this is nothing other than a diversion and I think it would be a pity if Obama accepted the award from a city that doesn’t care about the poorest of the poor.”

The Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille, made a decision to honor President Obama and his wife Michelle for their inspiration, which have encouraged South Africans. The majority of the Councillors voted in favor of her proposal. The Obamas have accepted the honor, and rightly so.

President Obama who will be accompanied by his wife, as part of his first major African visit, since taking office, will according to newspaper reports officially visit Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania between 26 June and 3 July.

The trip will reinforce US ties with the sub-Saharan Africa. Cooperation between the United States and the countries he visits will advance peace, prosperity, trade, and investment regionally and globally.

During June 2012, President Obama unveiled a new Africa strategy and a goal of reinforcing security and democracy on the continent with the Chinese economic offensive and the terrorist escalation. The new blueprint would boost trade, strengthen peace, security, and ensure good governance. This strategy would bring democracy to a continent torn by poverty, corruption, discord and bring the next big economic success story to the world.

It is of great concern that the ANC refers to Cape Town as a city that does not look after its poor. Cape Town is one of the few cities in South Africa that have service delivery from the governing body. Cape Town boasts public transport that works, security infrastructure visible to the eye, roads without potholes and displays cleanliness throughout the region. The biggest problem Cape Town is presently facing is the asylum seekers and illegal immigrants; and it is just a matter of time before the Premier of the Western Cape, the formidable Helen Zilla and her hardworking, dedicated team tackle the problem, and find a positive solution.

The only reason the ANC have for objecting to the Obamas receiving the Freedom of the City award is that the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance dominate that province and have incorporated good governance therein.
The ANC calling for the Obamas not to accept this award is ridicules, the ruling party should know that America stands for truth, freedom, and justice – something they should try to imitate. The South African President Jacob Zuma would gain enormous support if he followed the directions of the Obama administration about good governance. Alas, it is not so, and perhaps there will come a time when we in South Africa have a president with the same caliber as Barak Obama.

The imminent visit by President Obama comes at a crucial time for South Africa and the rest of Africa. The growing influence by China on the African continent raises concerns around the world.

During a 2009 speech in Ghana, President Obama said that even though the continent needs international aid,” Africa’s future is up to Africans.” Yes agreed, but we need direction.

Written by Laura Oneale

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