Trump Presidency and the new Chairperson of the African Commission.

Trump protests
Trump protests

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America in November, 2016 and his inauguration on 20th January,2017 as 45th President, has sent nervous shock waves to friends, foes and neutrals around the world .

His unguarded utterances on issues such as immigration, Muslims, free trade , refugees, the electoral system in America, women, NATO,the UN, Russia, China, Taiwan,  building a wall on the border with Mexico , persons living with disabilities , freedom of the press, enhanced interrogation ( a long hand for torture ), America first , the environment and climate change, among others , sent chills, not just in certain sections of American society, but to the world at large.

Within a few hours of his Presidency , there were a number of controversial Executive Orders signed, which were consistent with his campaign promises , such as withdrawing his country from the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty , travel restrictions on nationals of certain Muslim countries from entering the United States of America – including holders of green cards who had left the country and could not re-enter, as well as students studying in America who had gone to their respective countries during the festive season .

This led to massive demonstrations in more than 30 cities, by Americans who felt that Trump was taking the country in the wrong direction . Both Republican and Democratic law makers voiced concerns about some of these executive orders which they described as “un-American” and a violation of the first amendment of the US constitution regarding freedom of religion .

Some of these Executive Orders are being challenged in the US courts and the Congress by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and in many states of the union . It is clear that the election of the unorthodox  and unpredictable Trump from outside the main stream of the political establishment, will dramatically change America’s role and image in the world .

His administration is likely to be nationalistic and inward looking at a time when the world is moving towards globalisation and multilateralism. At a time when many countries are breaking down barriers to allow free movement of people and goods, Trump wants to build walls and by putting America first and advancing a conservative agenda, the impact in Europe is already being  felt and could affect election outcomes.

Although Trump’s Africa policy still remains unclear, some of the statements he made in the past about Africa and some of its leaders are indicative enough and Africa has no reasons to feel comfortable with Trump and his administration which comprises  billionaires and millionaires  with little or no government experience and have mainly come from corporate America.

He is the only American President who regularly takes to tweeter to express views which have not come through the bureaucracy to make sure that they are consistent with the official positions of his government . In the art of statecraft as opposed to corporate craft, where he was used to making decisions alone, decisions and pronouncements he makes either through press interviews or tweeter , are usually based on collective input of officials and others to make sure that they are consistent with government policy.

Tweeter diplomacy by a President, let alone the President of the United States of America – the most powerful country in the world – is risky and dangerous. The world is at risk of a new form of nationalism , which will negatively affect the gallant march towards globalisation.

Africa has now elected the Foreign Minister of Chad as the  new Chairperson of the African Commission of the African Union to replace Dr Mkhosazana Zuma of south Africa , whose tenure had to be extended by six months , because African leaders failed to elect her successor when they last met in Kigali, Rwanda .

The challenges facing the new Chairperson are daunting and they include industrialising our continent, peace building, less dependence on outside charity, strengthening African governance institutions , improving human rights, strengthening and consolidating democratic gains made so far , cooperating in the fight against international and domestic terrorism , increasing GDP growth , raising living standards of the African people, health care , producing enough food and attending to infrastructure development. African countries should support the new team by paying their contributions .

Dr Vernon J Mwaanga