Beneath the tantalisingly astronomical charming exterior that is Barack Obama lies a steely character full of resolve and dogged determination.
Of course the very fact that being black, notwithstanding, he had the audacity to run for the most powerful job in the world of over 6 billion souls is beyond daring. Then he had an equally audacious slogan “Yes we can”, testimony to the solidity of his mantle and essence.
But then Barack Obama has proven to be no ordinary human being. He is a rare leader in the best sense of the description. Everything he does has never been about him, rather it has been about the people and the wider good. That is the epoch and epitome of genuine leadership. Mandela, Martin Luther King and Gandhi amongst others had it. It is about leaders seeking positive legacies, being remembered for higher ideals and virtues and not being remembered as the gutter of the human race in the likes of Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Gadaffi, Saddam Hussein et al.
So after a very long wait Barack Obama did what everyone expected of him, visit his fatherland in the pomp, glamour, fanfare and grandeur that accompanies the Office of The President of The United States of America replete with Beasts, Air Force One and all the communication jamming in the whole area when he is visiting, including the ubiquitous yet unseen United States (US) secret service operatives that were all over the continent even as far as HS Winehouse in Blantyre, Malawi.
The amazing thing about Barack Obama’s homecoming visit was not its sheer largesse but rather the appropriateness of its his timing.
Ordinary folks would have embarked on it within the early days of assuming office, but he tactfully bypassed Kenya in his journeys during the first term of his presidency knowing how potentially politically explosive such visit would have been exploited by his enemies.
Not that he would wishfully hope to have no enemies, because as Winston Churchill said “You have enemies? Good, that means you have stood up for something, sometime of your life” and Obama has stood up for a lot of important things for a lot of time for a long time resulting in being probably the most loved and hated leader in equal measure.
Fact is he never cowers from a worthy fight because as Winston Churchill talking about his resistance to Hitler said “Never, never, never give up” and “We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost might be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender”
So equally has Barack fought on: Gun Control, Immigration and amnesty for 11 million undocumented immigrants, affordable health care derogatory called Obamacare by Tea Party Republicans, the Government shutdown and the infamous Sequester, and now the thawing and warming up of relations with Cuba. He has fought all them battles with honour and valour always believing in Churchill’s mantra that “if you are going through hell keep going”
Barack has internalized the Churchill Wisdom that “the Kite rises the highest against the wind and not with it”
Barack is a master of many virtues but on the specific point of the choice of timing to come to Kenya, he has consummated the grand persona of why against all odds he won two US Presidential races. He is a genius and when history is finally written he will go down as one of the greats.
My reflections on the greatness and resilience of Barack Obama takes me back to November 2011 to the Society of Accountants’ (Socam) annual Lake Conference at Nkopola and a presentation by a brilliant motivational speaker called Another Michael Jackson.
This awesome orator finished his presentation on the power of connecting with people by making a declaration twelve months before the US elections of 2012 that comes what may, be it hurricanes, thundering typhoons, a tattered US economy and even a devastating Tsunami, Barack Obama was going to win a second presidential mandate in the US. And like clockwork he did, against all odds especially, an ailing economy that hitherto had never seen an incumbent win. Over and above that he was still black but excessively charming because as Another Michael Jackson said Americans see honesty and sincerity in Obama.
If wishes were horses, one would have loved to see Obama become the President of Africa as soon as he leaves the white house. But that is a pipe dream.