Obama warns tyrants in Africa

2013-06-30 20:39
(Evan Vucci, AP)

(Evan Vucci, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - US President Barack Obama warned on Sunday that Africa could only fulfil its rising potential with leaders who serve their people, not tyrants who enrich themselves.

In a strident call for democratic change and good governance, Obama used the political legacy of ailing Nelson Mandela and South Africa's emergence from grim years of apartheid as proof that freedom will ultimately prevail.

"In too many countries, the actions of thugs and warlords and human traffickers hold back the promise of Africa," Obama said at a speech at the University of Cape Town.

"America cannot put a stop to these tragedies alone, and you don't expect us to. That is a job for Africans. But we can help you and we will help you," he said, announcing major new US programmes to boost electricity and health care.

"History shows us that progress is only possible where governments exist to serve their people and not the other way around," said Obama, in a line that drew loud and prolonged cheers from his audience of more than 1 000 people.

The speech was delivered from the same spot where American political icon Robert F Kennedy delivered his famous "ripple of hope" speech in 1966, which called on students to decry the "racial inequality of apartheid".

Obama's goal was to inspire a new generation of Africans with the belief that they could ignite political change and the potential of their continent.

He slammed leaders who "steal or kill or disenfranchise voters", saying that the ultimate lesson of South Africa was that such brutal tactics will not work.

"So long as parts of Africa continue to be ravaged by war and mayhem, opportunity and democracy cannot take root," said Obama.

"Across the continent, there are places where still, fear often prevails," Obama said, warning of "senseless terrorism" from Mali to Mogadishu.

"From Congo to Sudan, conflicts fester," Obama said, hitting out at those who argue that American calls for democracy and freedom are "intrusive" or "meddling".

He also condemned the rule of Robert Mugabe in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where he said the "promise of liberation gave way to the corruption of power and the collapse of the economy".

Like the rest of Obama's trip to South Africa, the speech was rich in emotion when he mentioned his hero Mandela, who lies critically ill in a Pretoria hospital.

"You have shown us how a prisoner can become president," Obama said.
Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  nelson mandela  |  barack obama  |  cape town  |  zimbabwe  |  obama in africa  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
135 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.