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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

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)

  • 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

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump Increases Slightly among Republicans

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents

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US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, July 16, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll shows.

The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week.

Trump, who is seeking re-election next year, has lost support, however, with Democrats and independents since the Sunday tweetstorm.

Among independents, about three out of 10 said they approved of Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago. His net approval – the percentage who approve minus the percentage who disapprove – dropped by 2 points among Democrats in the poll.

US, President, Donald Trump
President Donald Trump portrays Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., left, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., 2nd left, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., 3rd left, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., right, as foreign-born troublemakers. VOA

Trump’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week. According to the poll, 41% of the U.S. public said they approved of his performance in office, while 55% disapproved.

The results showed strong Republican backing for Trump as the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution on Tuesday, largely along party lines, to condemn him for “racist comments” against the four Democratic lawmakers.

All four U.S. representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are U.S. citizens.

Three were born in the United States.

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The public response to Trump’s statements appeared to be a little better for him than in 2017, after the president said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In that instance, Trump’s net approval dropped by about 10 points a week after the Charlottesville rally.

This time, while Democrats and some independents may see clear signs of racial intolerance woven throughout Trump’s tweets, Republicans are hearing a different message, said Vincent Hutchings, a political science and African-American studies professor at the University of Michigan.

“To Republicans, Trump is simply saying: ‘Hey, if you don’t like America, you can leave,” Hutchings said. “That is not at all controversial. If you already support Trump, then it’s very easy to interpret his comments that way.”

US, President, Donald Trump
The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Pixabay

By criticizing liberal members of the House, Trump is “doing exactly what Republicans want him to do,” Hutchings said. “He’s taking on groups that they oppose.”

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The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English and gathered responses from 1,113 adults, including 478 Democrats and 406 Republicans in the United States. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 points for Democrats or Republicans. (VOA)