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Africa: Let Us Talk About US Politics

Obviously the upcoming American elections are of great interest to many people around the world and the role technology is playing has been interesting, to say the least. The Economist recently launched their Global Electoral College web application that encourages people all over the world to have their say with the American voters in November. Of course, these foreign votes won't count but it will be interesting to see how they compare to the actual outcome.

Perhaps as much as its friends around the world, Africa is especially interested in how the upcoming American elections will pan out with a number tuning in to watch the Presidential debate on Friday 26, 2008 (which almost didn't happen). Blogger and Ushahidi co-founder Ory Okolloh encourages Americans really think about their choices and the potential outcomes by participating in the “Dear American Voter Project”:

“Dear American Voter” is inviting you to be a part of a global dialogue featuring responses from around the world to the question, “What should Americans think about as they cast their ballot? ” (Uumm…if you vote for McCain…goodbye USA, hello Russia and China).

Meanwhile, Blackyard notes that Barrack Obama's performance at the debate appears to have given him a slight boost in the Gallup Polls. Everest Chiali wrote about the night's exchange in Swahili.

But there are other concerns as well. Siasa Duni suggests that the McCain-Palin ticket suffers from a lack of transparency and wonders if Sarah Palin is being protected from scrutiny by advisors who recognize that she isn't ready for serious questions from reporters. Especially after one of Palin's first national interviews with Katie Couric, drew an uproar of criticism when Palin embellished her own diplomatic record as Governor of Alaska:

In order to minimize the fallout from the Hail Mary selection of Ms. Palin, the Republican presidential campaign organizers have been limiting Ms. Palin’s exposure to scrutiny. While reporters are allowed to ask her questions, she’s never placed in a situation where she has to answer. In the past four weeks, I have only seen two reporters who have been blessed with access to Ms. Palin. There was the much ballyhooed interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News who was careful to handle Ms. Palin with the softest of kid gloves, even though he still managed to expose her as having limited-to-no understanding of international issues with a question about the Bush Doctrine and its interpretation (America has the right to preemptively attack other nations perceived as threatening).

Angry African likens America's current dilemma to gangs terrorizing a neighborhood:

So you got a guy who was a bit stupid but you liked having him around for a barbeque. Never a good reason to select him, but hey, there you go. You thought, “How bad can it get?” And boy did it get bad. He started fights with neighbouring communities even though they did nothing to your community. Oh, they talked tough, but you knew their community is way to weak to do anything. But he started fighting them in any case. Instead of those guys who kept on throwing bombs over your fence. The fights started sucking you dry and the place started falling apart. The houses started to crack, the lights went off in the streets, and the roads are falling to pieces. Basically your little community is just not the same anymore. And almost everyone agrees that this guy sucked big time. He is not coming to the next barbeque. It’s time to select someone else to run the show and fix up the place again.

So it has come down to two guys you can vote for. One is a guy who doesn’t look a lot like you, he is a bit young, tell you he has all these big ideas to make it better, but also tells you that you will have to pull your weight to make it better. Now he might be a bit shaky.

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