CON­TRO­VER­SIAL 5 YEARS AHEAD

US, world brace for Trump pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SHAN­NON EBRAHIM

AT NOON to­day in Wash­ing­ton, DC, Don­ald Trump will be in­au­gu­rated as the 45th pres­i­dent of the US, ush­er­ing in a new era for Amer­i­cans and the world.

Three for­mer US pres­i­dents – Bill Clin­ton, Ge­orge W Bush, and Jimmy Carter – will at­tend to wit­ness the peace­ful trans­fer of power, a hall­mark of Amer­i­can democ­racy. Guests have been warned of a 50% chance of rain, although it will be slightly warmer than Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s in­au­gu­ra­tion at 8ºC.

More than 60 mem­bers of the US Congress are boy­cotting the in­au­gu­ra­tion in protest against what they have called Trump’s alarm­ing and di­vi­sive poli­cies, for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in his elec­tion, and his crit­i­cism of civil rights icon John Lewis.

Many have re­sorted to Twit­ter to ex­plain their de­ci­sions not to at­tend, but Trump’s al­leged dis­re­spect for Lewis has been cited as the pri­mary rea­son.

As Trump en­ters the Oval Of­fice, it re­mains un­clear what ex­actly his poli­cies to­wards Africa will be, or how they will af­fect the con­ti­nent.

A plethora of fake news sites have posted deroga­tory quotes that Trump al­legedly made about Africans dur­ing and after his elec­tion, although most turned out to be false.

Prior to his elec­tion, Trump said he saw tremen­dous po­ten­tial in Africa, although he also com­mented on the ram­pant cor­rup­tion and vi­o­lence on the con­ti­nent. He has had lit­tle to say about Africa since his elec­tion.

“Africa is un­likely to fea­ture as one of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s for­eign pol­icy pri­or­i­ties, but this may even be a good thing,” Mo­hamed Dan­gor, an ad­viser to South Africa’s min­is­ter of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, told The Star.

“My prog­no­sis would be that the US will be­come more in­ward look­ing, but, like Obama, Trump will un­der­stand that he is not his own master as the Amer­i­can sys­tem is the Amer­i­can sys­tem,” Dan­gor said.

Given Trump’s pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with con­tain­ing Is­lamist mil­i­tancy, this will prob­a­bly be the key ob­jec­tive of his ad­min­is­tra­tion in deal­ing with Africa. The US mil­i­tary com­mand cen­tre for Africa (Africom) is des­tined to play an even more cen­tral role in the US’s Africa pol­icy, as it works with African states and regional or­gan­i­sa­tions in counter-ter­ror­ism ini­tia­tives. The US has al­ready es­tab­lished a se­ries of mil­i­tary bases across the con­ti­nent, and is set to ex­pand its drone pro­gramme.

US mil­i­tary bases on the con­ti­nent will pose a chal­lenge to the AU’s hu­man rights ar­chi­tec­ture, given the fact that Trump stated as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date that he would en­cour­age tor­ture in the fight against ter­ror­ism.

In terms of trade with the con­ti­nent, the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (Agoa), which gives African coun­tries tar­iff-free ac­cess to US mar­kets, was re­newed in 2015 un­til 2025.

“Agoa is a trade pref­er­ence and is not at the dis­cre­tion of the pres­i­dent, but is af­firmed and rat­i­fied by Congress. We hope that South Africans will con­tinue to take ad­van­tage of this ben­e­fit, which pro­vides South African com­pa­nies du­tyfree ac­cess to the largest sin­gle mar­ket in the world. More than 98% of South African ex­ports en­ter the US duty free un­der var­i­ous trade pref­er­ence pro­grams, in­clud­ing Agoa,” the spokesper­son for the US em­bassy in South Africa, Cyn­thia Har­vey, told The Star.

There have been con­cerns through­out the African con­ti­nent that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion would sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce aid and devel­op­ment pro­grammes, and may make cuts to Pep­far – Ge­orge W Bush’s plan to tackle HIV/Aids in Africa. The US has com­mit­ted more than $70 bil­lion to fight HIV/Aids, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, and malaria since 2003. The pro­gramme has pro­vided 11.5 mil­lion Africans with much-needed an­tiretro­vi­ral drugs.

What is likely to be of con­cern to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is the fact that the US is los­ing out to China in terms of busi­ness and in­vest­ment in Africa. China over­took the US as Africa’s fore­most trade part­ner in 2009.

WASH­ING­TON: A grow­ing group of Demo­cratic law­mak­ers will boy­cott Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion to­day to protest against what they said was his alarm­ing and di­vi­sive poli­cies, for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in his elec­tion and his crit­i­cism of civil rights icon John Lewis, a con­gress­man from Ge­or­gia.

There are now more than 60 House Democrats – 64, at last count – who have de­clared that they will not at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion on Capi­tol Hill this week. The num­ber rose sharply after Trump tweeted on Satur­day that Lewis is “all talk, talk, talk” and should “fi­nally fo­cus on the burn­ing and crime in­fested in­ner-cities”.

Lewis, who sees Trump’s Novem­ber 8 win as il­le­git­i­mate be­cause of Rus­sia’s al­leged in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion, is best known for lead­ing civil rights protests in the 1960s, in­clud­ing the 1965 march across the Ed­mund Pet­tus Bridge in Alabama.

PIC­TURE: EPA

DATE WITH DES­TINY: Don­ald Trump and his wife Me­la­nia ar­rive at Joint Base An­drews in Mary­land yes­ter­day, the day be­fore his swear­ing-in as 45th pres­i­dent of the US.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

ON THE LIST: For­mer US pres­i­dents Ge­orge W Bush, left, Bill Clin­ton and Jimmy Carter will be at­tend­ing the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony of Don­ald Trump.

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