Commentary: Ghana's an example of democracy

In Ghana tonight, the streets are lined with flashy new billboards of their new president and of ours. It's part of the hoopla and glory that has the West African nation standing tall as the first sub-Saharan nation to host President Barack Obama.

In Kenya, meanwhile, home to Obama's late father, politicians are carefully snuffing out talk that it's a calculated snub. But the snub is deserved.

By heading to Ghana, Obama compliments one of Africa's oldest successful democracies.

Ghana again peacefully changed governments after elections in late December and early January. President John Atta Mills defeated an incumbent, becoming the second opposition leader to peacefully take control in Ghana through elections. The nation serves as the backdrop for Obama's push for more peaceful democratic and economic developments across Africa.

In contrast to Ghana, the elections in Kenya in late 2007 and early 2008 — with bitterly contested results — led to horrific ethnic violence, more than 1,000 deaths and many still-displaced persons.

A compromise government has accomplished little; the president, vice president and prime minister were once all political foes. The Kenyan Parliament is still grossly overpaid, stalemates prevail and a new constitution hasn't made progress.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.