Tag Archives: Elections

US President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech 2012

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election… Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.

By the way, we have to fix that.

Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone… Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.

We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honour and applaud tonight.

In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice-president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.

And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you’re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog’s probably enough.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics… The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.

You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow. We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known.

But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.

To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president – that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go – forward. That’s where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.

And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I’ve seen the spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbours, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

I’ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.

I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.


And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.


I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.


OBAMA: And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future.


I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.


America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.


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ANC is its own worst enemy

As much as the ANC managed to pull a historic landmark, where a seating president was defeated, this is a very rare phenomenon any where in the world, because cadres tend to be very afraid of state presidents, due to obvious reasons a case in point is Zimbabwe. However instead of the ANC consolidating its victories, it started creating its own problems, concerning bargaining deals it made prior and post Polokwane conference.
The following issues and many other critical issues have led to the demise of the movement. This document looks at those critical issues which are a challenge to the organisation under the following subheadings:

1. The composition of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and NWC.
2. Provincial, Regional conferences and branch meetings.


3. The Mangaung conference, Julius and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
4. The Recalling of former President Thabo Mbeki as Head of State.
5. Western Cape.

6. Lastly.


More than 50% of its NEC members are new to the NEC or any structure of this nature, thus closing any room for continuity and transition; again most of them are juniors (post 1994 politicians) to the movement.



Yes we do agree change was obligatory but this is not an excuse for flooding its highest decision making body with political infants thus compromising and crippling vital and constructive nation building decisions. The majority of these characters were just parachuted to this committee without any research or consultation; others were rewarded with these high profile positions for the mere reason of lobbing certain constituencies.


Now the NEC has turned into a mere dialogue + – 20 individuals, and once again collective leadership has been compromised.

Lately provincial and regional conferences have turned into absolute war zones, where instead of marshals, armed policeman and soldiers must be deployed to guard it against its own members. Meeting doors are locked and gates are constantly patrolled and inside those premises it’s absolute turmoil and anarchism is the order of the day. There’s a growing trend of 2 lists for contestation of leadership positions, meaning the members go to every congress as a wounded and a divided organisation.



Lately factionalism has even manifested itself into its grassroots branch structures, ordinary rank and file members belong to certain factions, in actual fact a branch of + – 120 members has a “Zuma and a Mbeki camp, What is that?. Factions, cliques and cabals are surfacing ubiquitously. The organisation is forcing its members to defect to the opposition parties a case in point is Sello Moloto.  The accusations that the members are labeling against each other such as traitors awaiting to defect to COPE is playing right into COPE’s hands or rather strategy.  


The ANC leadership that is the top 3 NEC posts incumbents are confusing the public sending too many contradictory messages, competing for publicity trying to look good to the public (thanks to their future aspirations) instead of communicating with media through appropriate structures. These leaders are playing right into some media traps to make the organisation look like a circus. One wonders, what was the point of employing Jessie Duarte and her entourage of media people if the ANC is not going to use them. 
This is a crisis and it needs burning attention, leadership and direction.



We are not going to dwell too much on this one due to the following 3 reasons.
• The sensitivity of this issue
• Lack of research on our side
• Our huge respect for Comrade Jacob Zuma and Comrade Thabo Mbeki.

This was one of the most drastic decisions of the movement since 1912, and it will go down into history as the move that tremendously dented the once famous liberation movement. “O.R.”, ZK MATHEWS, Inkosi u JOHN LANGALIBALELE DUBE and other liberation stalwarts must be turning in their graves, let alone Iisithwalandwe UTATA UMANDELA.



What a mess! Procedural and behavioural flaws let alone the premature election of Julius Malema, who has been parachuted all the way from Cosas to the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) and lastly to its national structures.



The whole conference was in tatters, from dodgy branches to self deployed power hungry cadres with no branch mandates. Commissions were hijacked and all plenary sessions were ruled by anarchy. Sasco comrades were marginalised and branded as campus comrades and once again the vacuum of political education was evident. It’s not surprising that this circus was suspended.


Fair enough another event was scheduled but in order to maintain a status quo cadres resorted to yester year soccer tactics, where if a game was suspended in the 86th minute due to whatever reason, we schedule another date and play the remaining 4 minutes. The conference continued as if it were still in Bloemfontein. The issue of the flawed election was not even entertained, as for other blunders they were all swept under the carpet.



Crisis, Crisis, Crisis. JZ calls it an interesting Province, we disagree this is the ANC’s worst problematic, difficult and hostile province. The ANC has allowed this beautiful province to be managed in a Taxi association style.


Factions, cliques and cabals have manifested themselves in such a way that its members can’t even say one word in an ordinary branch meeting without being aligned with a certain faction. The organisation is being run by individuals, unfortunately ordinary masses align themselves with the organisation, not individuals, and in the absence of leadership and direction, they will easily vote for the opposition and the ANC’s loyal traditional followers would rather stay at home on election day.


Should the ANC lose this province, it will have no one to blame but itself. Considering the current developments it’s actually hand delivering the province to the opposition. A clear example is its recent blunder of failing to submit its candidates on time to the IEC for the upcoming by-elections.


The movement should clean its house quickly, before it turns what was once the greatest Liberation movement in Africa into a petty political party. History has thought us that, organisations and individuals who were once the nation’s greatest heroes and patriots can turn into our greatest villains for example Angola, DRC and most recently Zimbabwe. The ANC should not allow this to happen in its organisation.
It’s time it revisits the principles of its NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION (NDR) and not just preach them, practice them, review the strategy and tactics document and its fundamental guidelines.



It has also turned a blind eye into bread and butter issues such as macro economic policies, development finance, the Reconstruction and Development Program and other pro-poor policies that use to be the blueprint of the organisation.


Next year’s elections might look far way when in fact they are too close considering the current challenges the organisation is facing.


Co-authored by:

  1. Sipho January, Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Schools Media Outreach Projects Coordinator and,
  2. Sikelela Zumana – Sasco’s former Education and transformation chair as well as fomer ANCYL’s Phahamang branch chairperson.


Both wrote this in their personal capacities.


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Filed under ANC succession scramble, Commentary, Politics

When ANC wins elections, who’ll be the official opposition party?

A lot of focus has been thinking about how Shikota party (break-away party) will dent ANC’s election victory and less about who will be the official opposition party.

The way I see it, it’s either the ANC will get a significant win or will be dented by the break-away party. In the case where the ANC wins elections which we all know it will. Amongst the alternative parties (and there’re more than 102 political parties registered with IEC), who will be the official opposition?

Could it be the Shikota, DA, UDM or other? Could it be that the DA will grow or should they have embraced or offered a home for the Mbeki’tes through offering senior positions for the disappointed i.e. Lekota or Shilowa, of cause DA would have had to sacrifice some of their senior members’ positions to do this. Currently I’m still confused about how their parliamentarian job offers http://www.thetimes.co.za/Careers/Article.aspx?id=860230 will work for them? but let’s hope it has something up its sleeve.

The test for the possible new party will be this weekend, to see if whether it has what it takes to further dent the ruling party, it is certainly milking the ruling party off its intellectual capacity slowly but surely.
So far the UDM has gained from the defects and it remains to be seen how many more will leave their paid jobs for Shikota or UDM.

My prediction so far is that ANC will win elections by just above 50% or by a huge margin, depending on who will people sympathise with next year;  Zuma, Mbeki or Shikota). We have to face it that there are a lot more people who will vote for any of the sides that Mbeki chooses to vote for in the name of sympathy with the way he was recalled. Mbeki has a lot of people watching him closely waiting for his next move so they can ‘follow’. 

As for opposition party this will be a hot contested terrain between DA and Shikota…my pen will be waiting for the victor and of cause for the loser too. It will be a sad day when the results come out.

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Filed under ANC succession scramble, Commentary, Economics, Education, Politics, South African Government

The Obama miracle, another one from Khaya :-)

Couldn’t hold myself after reading this article by the award winning Khaya Dlanga…its certainly puting fact accross but in more humerous way.

“… barring some unforeseen event or the Republicans doing what they know what to do best every four years – stealing an election. It’s easy to use the typical and lazy argument that black people support Obama simply because he is black. Naturally, blacks will be proud of him, just like women would have been of Hillary Clinton had she won the nomination instead of Obama. As were Catholics when JFK beat Nixon.

To claim that his skin colour is the only reason black people want him to be president is an insult. That statement assumes that blacks are an unthinking herd that is only governed and motivated by colour. Besides, this simplistic view omits the fact that 88% of black voters voted for John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore got a whopping 90% in 2000. Blacks vote Democrat idiot! If they recall, before the Democratic primaries black people all over America were saying that Obama was not black enough. Of course now he is too black.

I like what Chris Rock says about people who say America can’t have a black president, “Why not? We just had a retarded one.” My second favourite quote about Obama’s candidacy is from comedian and talk show host, Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s Real Time (I watch the programme on the “internets”). He said, “Don’t lie and say you won’t vote for Obama; it’s because he’s smarter than you. That’s why you won’t vote for him. That’s why you voted for Bush twice!”

He will be the first American president in eight years I can say without doubt is smarter than I am. It doesn’t take a lot to be smarter than me. And I hope I can say the same thing about South Africa’s next president.

Obama overcame every single hurdle that has been put before him; sometimes they were not just mere hurdles, they were like the Great Wall of China. Let’s start with his name. Here is a man who has the “misfortune” of having his middle name as “Hussein” in the United States of all places. And he decided to run for president too with that name. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his surname sounds like Osama and his name is Barack. All very “un-American sounding.” Television reporters have often made the mistake of referring to him as “Democratic nominee Barack Osama” on live television. He had to overcome that. He has been accused of being Muslim. I suspect that being called a Muslim is code for terrorist in some parts of the US.

Of course had he been Muslim there should have been nothing wrong with that either. During his hard fought primaries against Hillary Clinton there was a poll that showed that 13% of Americans thought that he was Muslim and a whopping 80% of those said they wouldn’t vote for a Muslim.

When General Collin Powell, (former Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State) a Republican, broke ranks with his own party to endorse Barack Obama, a Democrat, he tackled the Muslim issue in a fashion that I hadn’t heard any major political figure address. He said that he was disturbed by what was permitted to be said by the Republicans. The lazy and anti-intellectual wing of the Republican Party said that Powell endorsed Obama because he is also black. (Interestingly, the ANC has been displaying some anti-intellectual signs of late.)

Powell gave the example of an elderly lady who said at a McCain rally during a Q&A session, “Well, you know that Obama is a Muslim?” McCain grabbed the microphone from the lady and said, “No ma’am, he’s an American.”

Powell said, “The correct answer is he is not a Muslim, he is a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim kid believing that he/she can be president?” Then he went on to admonish senior members of his party, the Republicans, for implying that Obama is a Muslim and might be associated with terrorists.

He went on to talk about a photo assay about soldiers that had died in Iraq. He mentioned a picture he saw of a mother in a cemetery; she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. The headstone had her son’s name and awards. “At the very top of the tombstone was not a Cross, or the Star of David, it had a Crescent and a Star of Islamic faith … he was an American.” No one has said that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim and an American at the same time as Collin Powell. No one has refuted the silent bigotry that being Muslim is un-American with the same eloquence and intellectual fluidity as Collin Powell.

Then there is Reverend Jeremiah Wright who almost single-handedly sank Obama’s hopes. His sermons after 9/11 when he railed against America, which essentially said that America got what it deserved. “God bless America,” he said. “No, God damn America.” Suddenly Hillary saw a glimmer of hope; maybe she stood a chance after all. Instead of addressing the crisis in a typical politician’s manner – managing and spinning the crisis, he did the opposite. He decided to tackle the issue of race in the United States head on and spoke to Americans as if they were adults in his great speech, what I believe to be his greatest speech, “A more perfect union.” He survived that because he spoke about race in a way that had never been done before; he addressed white fears and black fears all at once.

Then there was Hillary Clinton. People forget how tough Obama is. They look at him and see the nice guy with an easy flashy smile; the ladies see a guy they’d introduce to their mothers. Obama is one tough SOB. This is the guy that defeated the most powerful political machine in American history. Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, that should be a plural: the Clintons.

It is a miracle that he has gone this far. He is a black man, with a father from Africa. He has a Muslim middle name. His surname rhymes with Osama. His preacher almost sank his presidential aspirations. He can’t show emotion, because if he does then he will be seen as the typical, angry black man. He has little experience. He didn’t just run against one Clinton, he ran against two, and one a popular former president. The Republicans paint him as one who palls around with terrorists. The list is endless.

Barack Obama has destiny written all over him. He is one of those rare individuals whose mark of destiny is hard to miss. He knows it. We know it. He knows we know it. But we should not mark him as a great man yet. Because destiny must be fulfilled, for before it is, it is mere potential. And potential is nothing without results.

Because of his self-awareness, he is humble enough to poke fun at the Messianic expectations that have been set on him. Just two weeks ago at the Al Smith dinner (he was the first Catholic to run for the presidency of the United States) where both candidates were invited to poke fun at one another, Obama said of himself, “Contrary to the rumours you may have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton, sent here by my father Jo Ell to save the planet earth.” There was much laughter after this.

What a breath of fresh air he will be, God willing”.



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