Opinion

USA: Trump in their eyes

The beauty of United States’ democracy is slain in its high offices: how are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Iraq, publish it not in the streets of Beijing; lest the daughters and sons of communists and terrorists rejoice, lest the sons and daughters of dictators’ trump (sorry, triumph).

Donald Trump, the United States president, and the man who described African countries as “shithole” countries, has turned the United States of America into a shit-hole country. Trump has dug into a “hole” somewhere in the White House, and is blaring with a microphone and countless tweets that America is a nation of election riggers, and have managed to steal his election. Poor man! Though such scenes of complaining and whining are commonplace in Africa, there is something strange in this instant case. The characters do not fit the script.

In Africa, our Africa, it is usually the opposition leader who cries that he has been out-rigged in the election and his election stolen. How can the almighty president of America (the most powerful man in the world who sits on technology capable of destroying the world fifteen times over) complain of being shortchanged in an election? For goodness sake, he controls the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, National Guard, Armed Forces and Marines, Homeland Security, etc. and yet he is complaining of his election being stolen.

Who stole it? Where were these security agencies when it was stolen? Why were no arrests made? His story is so touching, though it sounds like a lie. Of course, it may be possible that he was outrigged in the election – like Goodluck Jonathan was in 2015.

In the course of the campaign he had urged his supporters in North Carolina to vote twice. But Jonathan understood that to complain that he was out-rigged would tantamount to an admission that he was an incompetent president, who could not use the agencies under his control to protect the election. He conceded and he had since called on Donald Trump to do the same… and let bygones be bygones. Well, Trump is not used to such niceties.

Instead of conceding the election he is prepared to paint the White House black and rename it the Black House. The moral of the story is that any man who talks “shithole”, can also do shithole. Put simply, this is another bit of evidence that what goes around, comes around – even if it is shit. Second, anywhere can become a shithole, especially if some people have political “diarrhoea” and refuse to use constitutionally-provided “toilets” for general convenience.

Much ado about shit! Though the expected handover date is January 20, 2021, the storm clouds are still gathering. For the first time in American history, a president, who lost an election, has refused to accept the election result, accept his loss and concede to, and congratulate the winner. Instead, he has sought refuge in a litany of cases he has instituted in court to truncate the election, and foist himself on the people.

If this sounds familiar to you, it is because we saw something like this in 1993. The late Moshood Abiola won the presidential election in Nigeria, and the military junta headed by President Ibrahim Babangida used a litany of cases as its excuse to annul the election. You would think that such political confusion only happens in “shit-hole” countries with sit-tight dictators – it is happening live in United States. Trump may not play the game well, because Africans still have the copyright. But with practice every amateur eventually becomes a professional. If Trump keeps at it, he will one day be more professional than our Sani Abacha and Mobutu Sese Seko.

When a man starts his journey from downhill, you never can predict the heights he will attain one day. Trump is doing pretty well so far by African standards. And the role fits Donald Trump perfectly. A product of reality television, he has managed to turn the American electoral system into a circus show and provide some needed comic entertainment to the world in this time of pandemic.

Trump has achieved a lot for the world! Courtesy of him, the United States has lost the moral right to sanction other countries for not conducting free and fair elections. Courtesy of Trump, United States has also lost the boasting rights that its democracy and democratic traditions are inviolate. Courtesy of Trump, the world now believes that they rig elections and steal elections in America. Trump has demystified America and the world is still reeling in shock that under the pile, the United States was not the saint the world thought it was.

Given this scenario, I figure it is time for President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the United States that Nigeria is watching them closely and all agencies should ensure that elections are free and fair there.

In fact, Nigeria should warn the United States that those complicit in rigging elections in America (as claimed by Trump) would be denied visas to travel to Nigeria! In fact we can do better by offering to send our police to help in anti-riot duties there. At the continental level, Africans should insist that Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, withdraw the admonition he issued to African countries: “The United States is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections.

The conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world. We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process.

Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies… Adherence to these democratic norms and to the rule of law allows all citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms. We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election- related violence.” Talk is cheap. USA should not seek to remove a speck from another country’s eyes when it has a “Trump” in its own eye.

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