THE BLOG

Obama Campaigns for South African Ruling Party ... in Zulu

More like South Africa's embattled ruling party, the African National Congress is using Barack Obama to attract voters. National and provincial elections are set for next month (April 22).

The party has unveiled its new election song: "NjengoBarack Obama owaleth' utshintsho e-America, votelani i-ANC kube nokuthula e-Africa." Translated it means: "Just as Barack Obama brought change to America, vote ANC so that there will be peace in Africa," as South Africa's Sunday Independent reports.

Predictions are the ANC will win the election, though by a reduced and tainted by the association of its presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma, with corruption and populism.

ANC spokesperson Lindiwe Zulu told the Sunday Independent that the ruling party had been "bitten by the Obama bug."

The ANC's open attempt at associating its campaign with Obama seems odd, given the party leaders' refusal to meet with Obama during a 2006 Africa by the then-Senator from Illinois. At that time Obama publicly criticized then-President Thabo Mbeki's wrongheaded AIDS policies.

Oppositions parties also play up a supposed link to Obama. The breakaway Congress of the People that split from the ANC late last year, play up "Hope" and "Change" in their party literature, while the largely white Democratic Alliance copied Obama's logo.

This is at least not as far-fetched as the Ghanaian opposition candidate who ran posters of himself with Barack Obama that made it appear like Obama was his Vice Presidential running mate in last year's presidential elections. That candidate, John Atta Mills, is now Ghana's President.