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Zimbabweans Say Obama's State of Union Address Refreshing

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

Some Zimbabweans have welcomed as commendable, President Barack Obama’s Tuesday evening sixth and penultimate state of the union address at the US Capital in Washington DC to a new congress controlled by the opposition Republican party.

One of them, Arthur Gwagwa, who is a human rights lawyer and Reagan-Fascell Democracy fellow, said the speech was very comprehensive and touched on issues of great importance to America.

He also said there were some clear lessons for Zimbabwe in the state of the union address.

“I think for me there were lessons not only for the Zimbabwean government but also other actors like the opposition and Zimbabwean civil society in terms of addressing issues that really concern the ordinary people everyday.”

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Another Zimbabwean, Den Moyo, said the middle class agenda set by Mr. Obama is applicable in most countries, including Zimbabwe.

“I think with willingness and leadership with a direction, it (Obama’s agenda) is achievable. I know that in countries like Zimbabwe where there is a high rate of unemployment it’s difficult to reverse that but you have to put plans in place that attract investment,” said Moyo.

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In his feisty and defiant speech, the president touted the improving economy on his watch and made the case that government has a role in ensuring equal opportunity for all.

Mr. Obama argued that a raft of new policy proposals, which include an ambitious plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and financial institutions to pay for progressive priorities that include favoring the middle class.

He called for cooperation between the two main political parties in the U.S saying there isn't a "red America" or "blue America”.

Mr. Obama received much applause for calling on congress to make sure women are paid equal pay as men.

President Obama challenged congress to take bold action that will help improve the lives of the middle class and also to bring women’s salaries at the same level with their male counterparts.

He also lobbied congress to make education at community colleges free.