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An embrace that was long in coming: President Obama is greeted by

Senegal President Macky Sall at the Presidential Palace in Daka. Sall's

predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, who the U.S. regarded as irretrievably

corrupt, schemed for years to have such contact with President Obama,

only to be rebuffed.

 

Obama in Senegal: A 'Triumph of Gestures' (Sud Quotidien, Senegal)

 

"The gestures and strong actions of the Senegalese administration are visibly reassuring to its American counterpart, which advocates 'strong institutions' rather than strong men, and which, not long ago, thumbed its nose at the old regime and warned the current one, along with the rest of the continent, that 'governments that respect the will of their people, that govern by consent rather than by coercion, are more prosperous, more stable and more successful that those that don't.'

 

By Malick Ndaw

 

Translated By Ruth Woodrow

 

June 28, 2013

 

Senegal - Sud Quotidien - Original Article (French)

President Barack Obama stands at the 'Door of No Return' at the House of Slaves on Goree Island, Senegal, the point of departure for slaves headed to the New World, June 27.

ENEWS VIDEO, SOUTH AFRICA: U.S. and Senegal presidents don't see eye to eye on gay marriage, June 28, 00:01:37RealVideo

The scene unfolded at the G-8 summit in Deauville, and featured former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who, after the "family photo," contrived a conversation between Obama and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade (85). This was somewhat comical, since Wade had tried everything, with Sarkozy as his intermediary, to present his son Karim Wade to Obama, the first black president of the United States.

 

At the time, we spoke of Mr. Wade's desire for his son to succeed him. Now behind bars at the Rebeuss prison, not for political reasons but because he is suspected of illicit enrichment, he will hear the sirens announce the passage of the man who's friendship he tried to force, making his way to the Palace of the Republic for a voluntary meeting.

 

In any case, after having received George W. Bush during almost the same period in 2003, though only for five short hours, having participated in every G-8 summit, and having taken part in the World Forum in Davos as one of the African heads of state and a Pan-Africanist, Mr. Wade would have fallen over himself to gain an invitation to Barack Obama's table, receive a visit from him, or otherwise have a more direct political connection. He would ultimately leave office without having received an invitation from Obama, much less a visit, as he had so fervently hoped, and all because President Wade had shot himself in the foot several times.

 

Who in Senegal can forget the audience in May 2010, that President Wade granted the U.S. ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Marcia Bernicat, and his violent diatribe against the U.S. diplomat on national television? The Department of State, outraged by this media outpouring, couldn't possibly understand how RTS (Radiodiffusion TÚlÚvision Senegalaise) broadcast President Wade's series of attacks, leaving out Ms. Bernicat's equally cutting responses. They need have gone no further than consulting their representative in Senegal for more information on the matter.

 

Nevertheless, like the Senegalese, U.S. authorities committed no greater "sin" than releasing a statement expressing concern about corruption and the plundering of public funds, but the rot between Senegal and the United States had already set in.

 

http://www.worldmeets.us/images/Senegal-Dancers-narrow_pic.jpg

Greeting party: A Senegalese dance troupe along the road to

the National Palace in Daka, Senegal, greets President Obama.

 

It goes without saying that the U.S. authorities had other reasons for closing the White House door to Senegal's former president, in particular, the multiple violations of freedom of the press perpetrated by the former occupant of the Palace of the Republic during his rise to power; the intemperate summoning of journalists to the Criminal Investigation Department, attacks on journalists (the case of Kambel Dieng and Kara Thioune); attacks on press bodies' headquarters (L'As and 24 heures Chrono) and, last but not least, the forcing of a third term.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

The American administration's disavowal of the Wade regime was all the more scathing and obvious in that Senegal became "visitable" again almost immediately after Wade's departure from power. This was reflected in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Senegal in July 2012, a visit that had not occurred under the Wade regime, despite the intense and costly lobbying by U.S. public relations firms. Only eleven months after Secretary Clinton's visit to Dakar, Barack Obama finally set foot on Senegalese soil.

 

This is certainly not a first in Senegalese history, but this visit to Senegalese soil by the first American president of African origin is unprecedented in that Barack Obama has chosen the country as the first leg of his second visit to Africa, after his visit to Ghana in 2009. This is occurring a little over a year after Senegal's second political transition, which recognized Macky Sall as leader of the country, and just seven months after President Obama's re-election to a second term.

 

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Undoubtedly interested in the quality of current governance, or at least in the gestures of restored democracy so dear to the American administration, Barack Obama, with this visit, marks Senegalese diplomacy's return to the forefront, which had begun to lose its credibility on the international stage.

 

The gestures and strong actions of the Senegalese administration are visibly reassuring to its American counterpart, which advocates "strong institutions" rather than strong men, and which, not so long ago, thumbed its nose at the old regime and warned the current one, along with the rest of the continent, that "governments that respect the will of their people, that govern by consent rather than by coercion, are more prosperous, more stable and more successful that those that don't."

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:
The Citizen, Tanzania: Why Visit by 'Big Brother Obama' Should Worry Tanzania
The Citizen, Tanzania: In Snubbing Kenya, Obama Acts Like a Typical 'Luo' Man
Xewmedia, Senegal: Africa Needs Obama to Join Fight Against Witch Hunting

The Daily Independent, Nigeria: Shame on Nigeria ... Obama is Right to Shun Us!

Handelsblatt, Germany: Kenyans Appreciate Barack Obama's 'Slap in the Face'

Modern Ghana, Ghana: 'Snub' from Obama Reflects 'Death of Nigerian Diplomacy'

The Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana: Ghana Should 'Cash In' on Obama's Visit

Handelsblatt, Germany: Kenyans Appreciate Barack Obama's 'Slap in the Face'
Ghanaian Web, Ghana: Mr. Obama: It's Time for America to Give Back to Africa
La Stampa, Italy: 'Historic Handshake' for Ghaddafi and 'Obama the African'
My Joy, Ghana: In Ghana, Obama 'Will Cry' for Africa
The Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana: Ghana Should 'Cash In' on Obama's Visit
The Ghanaian Times: 'Why Obama Snubbed Nigeria'
The Daily Sun, Nigeria: The 'Stoning' of President Barack Hussein Obama
This Day, Nigeria: Obama's Choice to Visit Ghana and Not Nigeria Should Be a Lesson to Us

Boobab, Nigeria: If Obama Comes to Nigeria, 'I Will Stone Him'
 

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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 28, 2013, 2:28pm