Originally published at politicsunlocked.com on July 15, 2009
Obama highlights democratic gains in West African nation
President Barack Obama recently visited Ghana and delivered a speech to its parliament. The U.S. President focused on the achievements of Ghanaian democracy and called on all Africans to work for democratic institutions and accountable government. As with his speech to the Muslim world from Cairo, the President called upon the next generation to take responsibility and assert its authority to end decades of corruption, tyranny and war on the continent.
Not long after the President’s address in Cairo, the Iranian population burst into demonstrations for democratic rights and accountable governance. It is speculation to guess at how much, if any impact, the U.S. President had on the Iranian movement, and Obama himself has bent over backwards in efforts not to appear to interfere in Iranian political affairs. But as with the Cairo address, the administration made efforts to reach a wide audience, broadcasting the Ghana speech in coordination with African embassies.
The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs said that Ghana was chosen because it boasts a functioning democracy and civil society. Ghana has a major trade in African arts and tourism and is developing operations in natural resources. While the President has personal ties to Kenya, his father’s homeland, Ghana stands as a model of the government that President Obama would like to see throughout Africa. By contrast, Kenya’s most recent election was disputed and violence ensued. A power-sharing agreement in Kenya has met with limited success.
The President also visited Cape Coast Castle, where black Africans were held before being shipped into slavery in the Americas.
Watch the President’s speech to the Ghanaian Parliament below: