Trump elec­tion a wake-up call for African con­ti­nent

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/feature -

On Novem­ber 8, Amer­i­cans elected their 45th pres­i­dent, Mr Don­ald Trump, a New York real es­tate multi-bil­lion­aire and po­lit­i­cal right-winger of the Repub­li­can Party. Some 63 per­cent of male and 52 per­cent of fe­male vot­ers sup­ported him against Mrs Hil­lary Clin­ton of the Demo­cratic Party and for­mer Sec­re­tary of State. Most of Mr Trump’s elec­toral sup­port­ers were work­ing class peo­ple many of whom saw sal­va­tion in his un­der­tak­ing to de­port il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

Mr Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign war-cry was that he would make “Amer­ica great again” should he win the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Among the prom­ises he made to his coun­try were the fol­low­ing:

*His ad­min­is­tra­tion would de­port im­mi­grants

*It would erect a wall be­tween the United States and Mex­ico to stop Mex­i­cans from il­le­gally get­ting into the United States; while it is find­ing out what fun­da­men­tal Is­lam is all about;

*His ad­min­is­tra­tion would sus­pend the ad­mis­sion of Moslems into the United States while it in­ves­ti­gates in de­tail about Moslemic fun­da­men­tal­ism;

*It would re­quire some of its al­lies such as Ja­pan and South Korea to shoul­der their own de­fence ex­penses. The United States has 54 000 armed forces in Ja­pan.

A look at Trump’s pro­nounce­ments in­di­cates that to him, the United States is no longer as great as it used to be, hence his state­ment: “I’ll make Amer­ica great again!”

His­tor­i­cally, Amer­ica has been the world’s greatest na­tion for many years; eco­nom­i­cally for cen­turies, mil­i­tar­ily for many decades but par­tic­u­larly since Au­gust 1945 when it dropped two atomic bombs on Ja­pan, re­sult­ing in Tokyo’s sur­ren­der to end the Sec­ond World War.

The lo­ca­tion of the United Na­tions (UN) in the United States makes that coun­try the vir­tual cap­i­tal of the world in that lead­ers of all of the world’s independent na­tions go to that coun­try ev­ery year to dis­cuss im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional is­sues.

Its prom­i­nent role in the North At­lantic Treaty Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Nato) has in­creased since that west­ern Euro­pean-based mil­i­tary group­ing was founded in 1946.

In the field of global sci­en­tific ex­plo­ration the United States has been in the fore­front since the 1950s, but moreso since July 1969 when it landed as­tro­nauts on the moon.

Its ri­val in that field at that time, the Union of the Soviet So­cial­ist Re­publics (USSR) ceased to ex­ist vir­tu­ally since Au­gust 1991 when the three Baltic re­publics, Latvia, Lithua­nia and Es­to­nia, staged an abortive coup against the USSR’s re­formist leader, Mikhail Gor­bachev.

When in De­cem­ber that year, the Ukraine, Rus­sia and Be­larus­sia de­clared the USSR dead, the world had one ma­jor power, the United States, to look at. How­ever, outer space ex­plo­ration has now been in­ter­na­tion­alised as the USA, Rus­sia, China, co-op­er­ate in outer space pro­grammes.

Well, these are an out­sider’s view as com­pared to those of a cit­i­zen of that fed­eral state, the USA.

Mr Trump will on Jan­uary 20, 2017 be­come the United States’ first and most im­por­tant cit­i­zen when he is in­stalled pres­i­dent to re­place Barack Obama.

One can­not be­grudge him for promis­ing to de­port ev­ery­one who is liv­ing in the United States un­law­fully. Ev­ery coun­try has im­mi­gra­tion laws that have to be re­spected.

It does not make any sense to say the vast ma­jor­ity of all il­le­gal the peo­ple of the United States are ei­ther im­mi­grants or de­scen­dants of im­mi­grants.

Nor does it make an il­le­gal im­mi­grant’s stay in any coun­try le­gal just be­cause he or she has been in that coun­try for a decade or more.

Long oc­cu­pa­tion or pos­ses­sion of a stolen prop­erty does not min­imise the le­git­i­mate own­er­ship of that prop­erty nor does it le­galise the theft.

It is im­por­tant to point out that the Au­gust the United King­dom ref­er­en­dum showed the ma­jor­ity of that is­land’s pop­u­la­tion to be in favour of pulling out of the Euro­pean Union made that de­ci­sion pre­cisely be­cause they were op­posed to the EU’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, and want Bri­tain to take a closed bor­der stance against im­mi­grants.

The UK could not do so as a mem­ber of the EU whose im­mi­gra­tion laws are based on open bor­der poli­cies.

That brings us to the fac­tors that com­pel peo­ple to desert their re­spec­tive coun­tries for the USA or other coun­tries in West­ern Europe.

A fo­cus on African and Is­lamic coun­tries shows that a com­mon neg­a­tive fac­tor is po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity. In Asia, that fac­tor is caused by the politic­o­cul­tural ten­sion and dif­fer­ences in coun­tries such as Afghanistan, Pak­istan, Yemen, In­done­sia, Iraq and one or two for­mer USSR Is­lamic states and Cam­bo­dia.

In Africa, the neg­a­tive fac­tors are mis­man­age­ment of na­tional economies, eth­nic con­flicts (Ethiopia, Bu­rundi, DRC), poor gov­er­nance, ad­verse weather con­di­tions (droughts, de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion) and politic­o­cul­tur­ally gen­er­ated in­se­cu­rity as is the case in Nige­ria and also in a cou­ple of Sa­he­lian na­tions where Boko Haram is cur­rently caus­ing trou­ble.

We should al­ways bear in mind that Pak­istan was sep­a­rated from In­dia on in­sis­tence by Mus­lims in 1947 when the sub-con­ti­nent be­came independent.

Even in their own Is­lamic state, they find it well­nigh im­pos­si­ble to live with Chris­tians, a cul­tural mi­nor­ity whose tol­er­ance of other cul­tural groups is a well-known in­te­gral part of their doc­trine.

Why some of those Pak­istan-Mus­lims would now wish to live in the United States and else­where in Europe where the pre­dom­i­nat­ing reli­gion is Chris­tian­ity is prob­a­bly one of the things Mr Trump and his US Repub­li­can Party col­leagues would like to find out.

We should re­mem­ber that the Septem­ber 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist at­tack in New York was an un­for­get­table event, but some Mus­lims called it a great vic­tory!

It is such deeds that lit­er­ally turn some peo­ple into ex­trem­ists, into pas­sion­ate re­li­gious fa­nat­ics. We should un­der­stand the feel­ings of Mr Trump and his sup­port­ers in the light of what has oc­curred in the United States and also what is oc­cur­ring in var­i­ous parts of the world to­day.

Of course, we all know that in a gen­uinely demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal dis­pen­sa­tion, vot­ers elect their rep­re­sen­ta­tives freely, fairly, with­out let or hin­drance what­so­ever. The re­sults re­flect a govern­ment they want, whether it is lib­eral or au­thor­i­tar­ian it would be their own elec­toral cre­ation.

In the United States, Mr Trump prom­ises to de­port mil­lions of un­law­ful im­mi­grants, and in that way create jobs and even ac­com­mo­da­tion for American ci­ti­zens. Surely the or­di­nary American, and not those of the elit­ist or up­per class, was bound to sup­port such a party. That is why Mr Trump won.

In most African coun­tries, pop­u­la­tion growth rates are much higher than those of rel­e­vant na­tional economies. That has re­sulted in high un­em­ploy­ment lev­els, forc­ing those with in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cept­able pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tions to em­i­grate.

It is an un­for­tu­nate re­flec­tion on most African gov­ern­ments that they do not have pop­u­la­tion growth con­trol­ling poli­cies. Most of those coun­tries deal very closely with China, and pub­licly praise its eco­nomic poli­cies and so­cial pro­grammes, but say noth­ing what­so­ever about that coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion growth con­trol­ling mea­sures.

It is ob­vi­ous that xeno­pho­bic or­gan­i­sa­tions will sprout sooner than later in Europe, North and South Amer­ica, Aus­tralia and New Zealand, Ja­pan and in the Balkan and Aegean na­tions and the tar­gets of the ha­tred will be the black Africans.

In ef­fect, the re­sults of the Au­gust UK ref­er­en­dum men­tioned above, and the re­cent USA pres­i­den­tial elec­tions were xeno­pho­bia ex­pressed through the bal­lot box.

The elec­tion of Mr Trump to the US pres­i­dency should serve as a wake-up call to the en­tire African con­ti­nent.

African gov­ern­ments should create re­al­is­tic eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans and pro­grammes based on con­trolled pop­u­la­tion growth rates.

It does not re­flect any sem­blance of wis­dom at all for us to spend 70 per­cent of our time nos­tal­gi­cally (talk­ing about the past), 20 per­cent of it dis­cussing our usu­ally so­cio-eco­nom­i­cally stag­nant present, and only 10 per­cent talk­ing about the fu­ture. That is what one no­tices in most African coun­tries.

Mr Trump’s elec­toral vic­tory has ig­nited a very pas­sion­ate de­bate in the Zim­bab­wean print me­dia, and crit­i­cism of that man’s de­clared pol­icy runs through al­most ev­ery sen­tence.

American po­lit­i­cal lead­ers are elected by American vot­ers. They rep­re­sent American eco­nomic, so­cial, cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests, not Zim­bab­wean.

Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a re­tired, Bu­l­awayo - based jour­nal­ist. He can be con­tacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through email. sg­wakuba@gmail.com

US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump meets his sup­port­ers in this file photo

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