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Africa’s Mixed Feelings about Donald Trump’s U.S. Election Win: America not ready for a Female President yet?

More than a few Africans are worried about the policy changes Trump may implement.

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Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga speaking to U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec during an election results watch breakfast at the ambassador’s home in Nairobi, Nov. 9, 2016. VOA
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Nairobi, November 10, 2016: Feelings about Donald Trump’s U.S. election win are mixed in Africa.

In Kenya, where President Barack Obama has familial roots, many were hoping Hillary Clinton could carry on his legacy, but were prepared for disappointment.

“Personally, I think it [Trump’s win] was expected because I don’t think America was ready for a female president just yet,” said Jamila Wafula, a student at Jomo Kenyatta University near Nairobi. “We were really hoping that Clinton would win, but it was expected for Trump to win.”

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally, Nov. 6, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. VOA
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally, Nov. 6, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. VOA

Sara Asafu-Adjaye, a Ghanaian social activist, says she would have loved to have seen the first female U.S. president.

“Not only is it that she is a woman. She’s a competent woman,” said Asafu-Adjaye. “And the fact that millions, over 48 percent of Americans believe that she’s not the better person for the job, it scares me.”

Charles Eboune, an international relations expert in Cameroon, was dismayed Clinton’s decades of experience in Washington was not enough to carry her to victory.

“[If] you look at the caliber of the lady who was in front of him in the election and all those who backed her, it was another translation that [the] majority is not always right,” said Eboune.

Change in style

Now, Africans have to adjust to the fact that a president with a very different style and priorities from both Obama and Clinton is going to take office.

More than a few Africans are worried about the policy changes Trump may implement.

“It might slow down immigration, probably from African countries toward the U.S.,” said Francis Kouamé in Ivory Coast. “It is going to make it more difficult. Really, I’m not happy that he won.”

Cardboard cutouts of both candidates on display during a breakfast at the home of U.S. ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya. VOA
Cardboard cutouts of both candidates on display during a breakfast at the home of U.S. ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya. VOA

A Congolese newspaper reported the election results as “The Trump Surprise,” while a popular Senegalese website displayed a photo of Trump, with a headline playing on the president-elect’s last name and the French verb se tromper, “to make a mistake.”

But an administrative worker in Dakar tries to remain optimistic about America’s choice of president.

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“I am a little disappointed, because I supported Hillary Clinton, but I see that the people of the United States have chosen their president,” said Moussa Traore. “Donald Trump is not bad. The essential is that the people are a little unhappy to hear this, but maybe there will be change.”

President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. VOA
President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. VOA

Keith Benon Robe was active in Uganda’s opposition during his country’s presidential elections earlier this year. He says he is excited because he believes Trump will stand up to Africa’s dictators.

“I jumped off my feet in celebration. I was so joyous and I’m still, it’s just unbelievable,” said Robe. “I’m sure the economy will be better, better than it is right now. And I trust him because he’s a businessman; he’s going to change everything. But the main point is he’s going to help us change this regime, which we’re tired of.”

A good example

The fact that Trump was legitimately elected was not lost on some Africans, who have seen many rigged or suspect elections in their time.

Stanley, a history teacher at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de la Gombe in Kinshasa who preferred not to give his last name, says that regardless of winner, the American election cycle sets a good example for other countries.

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“The lessons which I draw as a Congolese citizen, as an African, is that it’s a handover of power, clear and clean, without problem. Mrs. Clinton has even called Trump to congratulate him,” said Stanley.

FILE - Malik Obama, half-brother of President Barack Obama, seen in a Nov. 4, 2012 photo. VOA
FILE – Malik Obama, half-brother of President Barack Obama, seen in a Nov. 4, 2012 photo. VOA

African leaders and politicians in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic on Congo and Somalia, to name a few, have already sent or tweeted messages to Trump, congratulating him on his victory. Malik Obama, President Obama’s half-brother, has also congratulated Trump. (VOA)

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  • gene

    No, we do NOT need a woman president! We don’t need a man president, either..or a gay president, or a Hispanic president, or whatever. We need a GOOD president. (Hopefully, we’ve finally elected one.) We are ELECTING A LEADER; NOT choosing a MASCOT.

Next Story

President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

Trump
supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)