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February 23, 2019

G-Spot: Is Africa ready for US post-election drama?

Rigged elections
Rigged elections

By the time you get to read this, there will be just over a week until the US votes for a new president. As I write this, it still seems that whoever wins, there will be trouble on the ground.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has shocked Americans by refusing to say he will accept defeat if it comes. He is telling his supporters the result will be rigged against him. If you are from many places in Africa, you will have understood that as a subtle call to arms.

I say it is subtle because in countries across the continent, politicians who are not ready to lose an election might just have come out and said, “Prepare your pangas,” or something.

Post-election dramas are something many Africans are, unfortunately, well acquainted with. It has been our lot ever since the wave of “democracy” that swept our continent in the 1990s.

Africa may not be a country, but many citizens of African countries are used to incumbents who will use any and every trick in the book, and some that aren’t, to hold on to power.

Quite a few of us are used to having handpicked successors to the incumbent foisted upon us.

Political inheritance by family members of former presidents is also not a new thing in several African countries.

Neither is the rage of those politicians who refuse to recognise the result of the election unless they win.

Over the years, when the proverbial has hit the fan during an election in Africa, several European countries and the US in particular have urged their citizens to either leave or stay at home, and above all, to register with their embassy in case they need a rescue when things turn ugly.

With so many Africans studying, living and working in the US (whether legally or below the radar), I am hoping that individual African countries, or better yet, the AU, is planning to assist Africans who may be caught up in whatever post-election crisis there will probably be after the vote counting begins.

I am expecting the AU to have arranged to have its rapid reaction military wing, the African Standby Force, stationed in Canada and Mexico (the two countries bordering the US).

Or it can be put on stand-by in Cuba and other Caribbean nations, with as much air power as it can muster, in case it is needed to airlift Africans from the US.

At the same time, I am hoping plans will be put in place to help set up a US government in exile, somewhere in Africa, not forgetting a presidential mansion and staff.

It is surely the least we can do for our American friends, who have often been there when we Africans have needed a place to go lick our wounds and marshall our resources before heading back home to try and regain power.


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