Friday, April 8, 2016

Patrice Talon of Benin: An African Obama?

There is something about Patrice Talon that catches and holds one's attention. He seems to be resolute about running his country in a different way. He is in his first few hours of Presidency and I just want to reflect on what appears

First off, appearances may be deceptive. Most often, they are. So I wont be surprised if they turn out to be deceptive in a few years time.

The first, and perhaps, earliest information I got on Talon was that he is a rich business person. The other key information is that his running for presidency did not please the incumbent president. So I got curious about the BĂ©nin elections. In a country that has been touted to have a growing (and some times solid and vibrant) democracy, I wanted to see how things will play out.

The campaign was not a very “friendly” one as there were three “front liners”. The results of the first round was proof of how tight the race was. Over all, I kept my eyes on the Autonomous Electoral Commission and also kept faith. The results came as promised. Prime Minister Zinsou led with 28.44%, Patrice Talon with 24.80% and Ajavon came third with 23.03%. When Ajavon called to vote for Talon in the second round, the die was cast.

Two Days ago, Patrice Talon was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Benin. I love this photo shot of the first couple stepping out majestically.

I am intrigued. I am curious. I want to track this.
  • Who is this president who has decided that he can pretty well have a swearing in ceremony, himself, and just his people? The total number of “visiting presidents” to the ceremony was zero.
  • Who is this president that says he wont make appointments to “thank” people?
  • Who is this handsome rich “young” entrepreneur who wants to do things differently?
  • Who is this one that says he will only be in power for one tenure?
  • Who is this Claudine, his wife, he chooses to dress elegantly and beautifully with a sober made-in-Benin attire?
  • Who are these two who seem satisfied with who they are and do not seem to be looking for peer approval?

This question has been swimming round in my head.. and I think I should ask it:
Are we looking at an African Obama?

Only time will tell. For now, Talonism has been activated and is live in Benin.

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