Former President Barack Obama spoke in Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this summer to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, the country’s most famous political icon. But instead of simply memorializing Mandela’s humanitarian work, Obama didn’t hesitate to praise South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for “inspiring new hope” in South Africa.
This praise comes after Ramaphosa declared in December that he would soon allow the “expropriation of land without compensation,” particularly from white farmers, apparently as retribution for South Africa’s apartheid era that ended nearly a quarter of a century ago. And now that the government is in the process of amending their constitution to formally legalize the expropriation process, Obama’s praise for the South African president is looking especially shameful.
Obama “inspired” by government-sponsored persecution?
Concern over Obama’s July comments first came from Tucker Carlson, who condemned the former president’s speech on his self-titled Fox News program shortly after Obama spoke in Johannesburg. “Ramaphosa recently declared that he would change the South African constitution,” Carlson said, “and he’ll do it for the explicit purpose of persecuting a racial minority, seizing their land without compensation, not because they committed any specific crime, but because they are the wrong color…purely on racial grounds.” Watch below:
Obama had said on July 17 that Ramaphosa “is inspiring new hope in this great country” — but Carlson didn’t find Ramaphosa’s actions to be “inspiring.”
That opinion likely hasn’t changed, as the ruling party, the African National Congress, has now moved to “finalize the proposed amendment to the constitution that outlines more clearly the conditions under which expropriation of land without compensation can be effected,” Ramaphosa announced last week.
“It has become pertinently clear that our people want the constitution to be more explicit about expropriation of land without compensation as demonstrated in the public hearings,” the South African president explained.
Ramaphosa went on to explain that “the intention of this proposed amendment is to promote redress, advance economic development, [and] increase agricultural production and food security.”
White South Africans flee the country in fear
In reality, the amendment would do little more than provide cover for an explicitly racist policy that seeks to reverse the effects of the nation’s apartheid era — during which whites owned most of the nation’s land and blacks owned very little — by expropriating land from white landowners and redistributing it among black citizens.
As noted by RT, “There have been growing fears that the planned expropriation will deal a blow to commercial farming in the country and might put it on the verge of a food production crisis.”
Experts are concerned that the new farmers who take over the land expropriated by the government will have little experience in agriculture, an issue that could push the already-impoverished country into total starvation. Such a scenario occurred in neighboring Zimbabwe after the agricultural land was redistributed in 2000 — food production dropped as experienced farmers left.
Additionally, Ramaphosa’s land redistribution strategy has the country’s white population, which makes up about nine percent of the citizenry, concerned not just over the loss of land, but also about “what they say is a surge in violence and government-fueled hostility against them,” according to RT, who reported that some of the country’s whites have even sought asylum abroad.
“Thanks to policies like this,” Carlson said in July, “many South Africans have already been murdered in race killings and many more are fleeing the country for their lives.”
The future of South Africa rests in racist hands
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has maintained that he simply wants “dialog[ue], discussion, [and] engagement until we find good solutions that take our country forward.” He added in March that “there is no reason for anyone of us to panic and start beating war drums.”
But if there was ever a time to panic, it would be now. The South African government has prioritized explicitly racial policies over the wellbeing of its people in order to “promote redress” for racial policies of decades ago.
Even more horrifying: that sentiment is apparently “inspiring” former President Barack Obama. What a shame.