Lula is back and Brazil is now set for 10 great years

Saturday November 05 2022
Lula Da Silva President of Brazil

Lula Da Silva, who is once again President of Brazil after defeating Jair Bolsonaro in last week’s runoff election. PHOTO | CARL DE SOUZA | AFP


Lula Da Silva is once again President of Brazil after defeating Jair Bolsonaro in last week’s runoff election.

This will be Lula’s second stint having been first elected president in 2002. The election of Lula, who came from the working class and had few connections among the wealthy oligarchs who greatly influence on politics, was nothing short of spectacular. His second win comes after spending time in prison for alleged money laundering. Eventually, the Supreme Court nullified all charges, thus clearing him to run. Coming out of prison to defeat a member of the influential wealthy right wing oligarchy is as spectacular as his win in 2002.

But even more spectacular were his accomplishments during his first reign. Through his social programmes , he lifted more than 20 million Brazilians out of poverty. That is akin to lifting half of Kenya’s population out of poverty in 10 years. As a result, Brazil was taken off the UN list of the hungriest nations in the world. In Kenya by contrast, poverty keeps increasing. After every few years, millions of Kenyans face starvation and are in need of food aid.

Lula also reduced infant mortality rates, and unemployment. He increased school and university access for the poor. He increased access to healthcare for millions. He did this while reducing inflation and public debt. His administration made Indian tribes visible and addressed their concerns about the extractive policies of predecessor administrations that were destroying the Amazon.

Foreign policy

His foreign policy established Brazil as an influential voice in regional and world diplomacy. In fact, during his reign, Brazil became the voice of the poor regions of the world at gatherings of the most powerful nations. In summary, in just a span of ten years, Lula da Silva turned Brazil from a middling economic and diplomatic power into a major player in both those spheres, while initiating transformative domestic social programmes.


The regime Lula defeated aspired to duplicate Donald Trump’s nihilism. Bolsonaros’ prejudices informed disastrous extractive policies in the Amazon. Due to his ideological affinity to the Christian right oligarchy, he rubbished calls to address human rights abuses of the past military dictatorships. His nonchalant Covid-19 policies, just like those of Donald Trump, left hundreds of thousands dead.

At one time, some regions of Brazil resembled factories of death. Despair in the poor inner cities returned. So now Lula is back.

There is no doubt Brazil is destined for 10 great years that will establish the country not only as a world economic and diplomatic power, but also the voice of conscience for the poorer countries of the world. While we are busy begging Vladmir Putin to allow grain shipments to Africa lest we starve ( what a shame !), and clearing cabinet members of thievery and other crimes, Lula da Silva will be pushing Brazil to the next level.

Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator