Friday, October 10, 2008



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
Friday, October 10, 2008

Story by: Times Writer

There is no doubt that the upcoming general election in the United States of America has attracted profound interest across the world. Because of its immense influence, the US presidency is undoubtedly the most powerful political office on this planet, and since every part of the world is likely to be affected in one way or another by the decisions of the occupant of the White House, there is tendency by non-Americans to be sucked into their presidential campaigns.

But the 2008 US campaigns have aroused special interest among Kenyans because one of the contestants Democrat Barack Obama, has his roots in this country. Could it be because of this that Obama’s political opponents in the US have decided to extend their fight to the ancestral home of his father?

This week, a rabidly hawkish Republican journalist Jerome Corsi ---going by his past history attempted to launch his anti-Obama book in Nairobi. The move was promptly thwarted by Kenyan immigration officials who telegraphed what most here see as his ill motives.

In this book titled, ‘The Obama Nation,’ Corsi attempts to paint Obama as a man suffering from the so-called ‘Black rage’ and who is out to use the US presidency to settle racial scores with the White majority. He also attempts to tie Obama with what he tags ‘extremist’ Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. In essence, Corsi attempts to show that Obama is not fit to be President of the United States because he is not only Black, but he also fails the ‘loyalty test.’

While we readily acknowledge that politics can at times be nasty, it is much more difficult to believe that Dr Corsi is motivated by a genuine desire to campaign for his Republican candidate John McCain. What seems to come out of this journalist is a racially motivated crusade to persuade American voters to shift focus from genuine issues affecting them and direct it to trivial personality matters.

But we have realised that the likes of Dr Corsi are indeed giving the otherwise respectable Republican ticket a bad name by making it look like it has lost the battle of issues and would like to shift the focus of the campaign to personality cults; an area it feels comfortable. But without necessarily seeming to tout Obama’s candidature, it would be a stain by Americans on the tenets of democratic practice to be swayed by tactics which are patently antithetical to the one system of government that ensures participation by the people.

We know that despite the challenges, American people are excellent at self-correction and that Obama’s candidature has proved that the American people are capable of overcoming racial prejudices by judging their sons and daughters seeking public office based on the content of their character and not the colour of their skin as Martin Luther preached 45 years ago and not as Dr Corsi would wish them to.

Besides, while we fault Dr Corsi’s motivation to launch such a tirade on Obama, we also find his judgement laughable. To suggest as has been reported in a section of the media that Obama encouraged ODM leader Raila Odinga to stir up ethnic hostilities in the run-up to last year’s disastrous general election is such a silly idea to come from a journalist of Dr Corsi stature. It is laughable that Raila could get advice from Obama on how to conduct his local campaign.

We also find it obnoxious that Dr Corsi chose to display his hate propelled political theatrics to an audience that does not take part in electing the US president! If Dr Corsi intended to influence the US presidential campaign in favour of candidate McCain, then he should have taken his theatrics to the American audience.

It is because of his flawed judgment of issues that we find Dr Corsi’s deportation justifiable and therefore laud Kenyan immigration officials for taking action against him.