Africa’s Journal

Your source for African news.

Re: Bush in Africa, Emphasizes Successes Over Conflicts

Posted by africasjournal on February 16, 2008

Please find below an article regarding President Bush’s visit to the African continent from The New York Times. In doing so please note that while the Bush administration continues to encourage the world of Africa’s importance to the United States this is only the second time in his presidency that he has decided to visit this continent. Ironically Mr.Bush decided not to address the stressful situation in Kenya (where over 1,000 have died) or Dafur (where over 200,000 have died and has already been declared a genocide). In his emphasis on success President Bush must realize that the funding that his administration gives to the African nation will not improve the continent until they address the instability as a whole. It is not surprising that Sudanese run into Chad when there is fighting in Sudan. Unfortunately unlike America, Africa does not have the luxury of closing our borders to the neighboring countries in their battle for democracy. In an effort to rebuild his legacy President Bush will always be remembered first for his self sustained Iraqi war, and second for the destruction of the American economy, and finally for his standing by and watching the “genocide” of Sudan.

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Opening a six-day tour of Africa, President Bush on Saturday defended his decision not to visit violence-stricken nations like Kenya and Sudan, saying he wanted to focus on his programs to fight AIDS and malaria instead. “This is a large place with a lot of nations, and, no question, everything is not perfect,” Mr. Bush said during a brief visit to Benin before arriving Saturday evening here in the capital of Tanzania. “On the other hand, there’s a lot of great success stories, and the United States is pleased to be involved with those success stories.”The stop in Benin made Mr. Bush the first American president to visit that tiny West African nation. It was on his itinerary because it represents the kind of success Mr. Bush wants to highlight — how American aid has helped improve water, schools, infrastructure and health care in some of the world’s poorest nations. In 2006, Benin signed a five-year, $307 million agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, created by Mr. Bush to help nations that embrace democracy and free markets and commit to fighting corruption. Benin also benefits from America’s antimalaria programs, as well as an education initiative that provides money to train teachers, build schools and buy textbooks.So it was no surprise that Benin’s president, Thomas Yayi Boni, had high praise for Mr. Bush when the two appeared together for a short news conference at the airport in Cotonou, the country’s economic capital. Vowing that “everything that would stain democracy will be suppressed” under his leadership, he said Mr. Bush’s visit was an important symbol.The White House is hoping that the Africa trip will remind not only Africans, but also Americans, that Mr. Bush has done more during his presidency than fight a controversial war with Iraq. Dar es Salaam was festooned with billboards bearing Mr. Bush’s likeness, including one on the road from the airport to downtown that declared, “We Cherish Democracy,” and another outside his hotel, the Kempinski, that said, “Feel at Home.”Still, there were some undercurrents of resentment. Two thousand people protested here on Friday, before Mr. Bush arrived, waving signs that suggested he was a terrorist. And he cannot seem to avoid crisis elsewhere on the continent. Before he left Washington, Mr. Bush said he would send Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to Kenya, where post-election violence has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people since late December. But at Saturday’s news conference in Benin, he was asked why his administration was not taking a more active role, not only in Kenya but also in Darfur, where 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been chased from their homes in an ethnic conflict that Mr. Bush has called genocide.

He said he had “a tough decision to make early on” about whether to send troops into Darfur, but had decided against doing so in favor of allowing African Union and United Nations peacekeeping troops to intervene. He also said he intended to bring up Darfur during his visit to Rwanda, where he planned to thank that country’s president for sending in peacekeeping troops.

As to Kenya, Mr. Bush said Secretary Rice’s visit was “aimed at having a clear message that there be no violence and that there ought to be a power-sharing agreement.”

The former United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, has been in Kenya trying to negotiate a peace agreement. Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday that Mr. Annan appeared to be “making incremental progress.”

Mr. Hadley said that Ms. Rice, who is traveling with the president, would spend only a few hours in Kenya. He described the visit as an opportunity “to show the president’s concern — but also get on the ground and help support Kofi Annan and maybe move things forward a little further and a little faster.”

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