OpinionLet the horror begin

Let the horror begin

Koert Lindijer has been a correspondent in Africa for the Dutch newspaper NRC since 1983. He is the author of four books on African affairs.

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“Let the horror begin”.

That may be a good summary of the reactions in Africa regarding the victory of Donald Trump.

Where Obama was Africa’s hero, Trump is seen as a racist.

My shocked sister in law jokingly but with a serious undertone said she expects me to send a rapid intervention force from Kenya to evacuate her family from the US.

Fears of mass deportation of Africans from the US looms more than ever, writes a Kenyan American in the Daily Nation. There are roughly 1.8 million African immigrants in the US, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research centre, with the number doubling every decade, writes Macharia Gaitho in the Daily Nation. Trump’s threat to deport all illegal immigrants was a message that no doubt was badly received by both the African diaspora in the US and Africans in Africa. It was seen as based on exploitation of latent racism in the US, and that sought to capitalise on white resentment off two term Barrack Obama, a much loved man in Africa.

Africa did not feature at all in Trump’s campaign, only in references Obama’s roots in Kenya.

In Nigeria Bolaji Akinyemi, a professor of political science, described Mr. Trump’s victory as a worrisome development, according to the Premium Times.

Mr. Akinyemi, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “It brings uncertainty into international politics because the world now has to deal with a man who is inexperienced, does not understand the complexities of international politics and has no respect for anyone who is not white or American; I think that is dangerous.

“There has always been an ugly side to the U.S. just as there is with every country in the world but the good side in the U.S. has always prevailed so that in tackling American problems, the interests of the U.S. are not defined in antagonism to the interest of the whole world.

“But this victory of Trump is a victory of the ugly side of the U.S.”

Dapo Fafowora, former Nigerian ambassador to the UN, said Mr. Trump’s victory was a lesson to Nigerians and Africans to remain in and contribute to the development of their countries.

He added that “there is nothing in his background to suggest he has any durable interest in Africa.

Trump’s victory may give a push to populist nationalists in Africa. “I think it is a lesson for Nigerians; people should stay here and make contributions in developing our country.

“I think it is a good development for Africa that we should look inwards and try to develop ourselves without relying on any major economic power.”

African presidents all did send congratulations to Trump. Only the Liberian president could not hide her feelings.

Liberia’s President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she is disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not win the US elections.

In an interview with the BBC, Africa’s first democratically elected female president said: “We are extremely saddened by this missed opportunity on the part of the people of the United States to join smaller democracies in ending the marginalization of women”. At least some honesty here.

Biggest question off course is whether Africa will develop its own version of a Trump. Where Europe has already got its own Trumps in France and the Netherlands, Africa still does not have many. But don’t be fooled, in Africa many politicians come up with a lot of rhetoric, little substance, a lot of lies and show their illegal acquired wealth as proof of their capacity to lead. Africa will not be immune to populists.

Columnist Charles Onyango-Obbo concludes in the Nation: Now in Africa, we are not about to have a Trump(although the venality and cruelty of some of our leaders are probably worse), simply because elections are stolen or there is repression. But eventually, as we have seen recently in Ethiopia, the dams of anger will still burst.







Koert Lindijer
Koert Lindijer
Koert Lindijer has been a correspondent in Africa for the Dutch newspaper NRC since 1983. He is the author of four books on African affairs.

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