Newsie Events:- #Opinion by Caleb Onyeabor
The status of the United States of America and its overwhelming influence in the international economy, global politics, and culture make it attract the attention of the world during its presidential elections. For most countries in the middle east and Asia where a successful U.S foreign policy is a magic wand for the restoration of peace, interest in U.S elections is even stronger.
Since the turn of the 21st century, US-Africa relations have been more about foreign aid, a phenomenon that the common man in Africa is most likely to be unaware of or less interested in. Unlike the middle east, Most Africans developed a connection to America by consuming the contents of the media and entertainment industry as well as learning about American exceptionalism and ideals. At this time, America was the number one destination for Migration of most Africans who wanted a good American life. There wasn’t much interest in American politics.
Things changed when Barrack Obama, an American with African identity became the first black American President in 2008. The story of Obama, a black man, an African American, being the President of the most powerful of the world was met with joy and expectations. Obama’s emergence awakened consciousness and interest in Africa on who becomes the President of America. The Politics of Obama did not go down well with Africans who feel he has done so little or nothing for the continent as a black man. Obama’s legacy in Libya and the controversy that surrounded his support and push for LGBT rights in Africa made him lose the massive love he once enjoyed from people in Africa.
Then came Donald Trump with what was termed dangerous and hateful rhetorics in 2016. His many harsh references to Africa including the popular statement where he described countries in the continent as shithole countries ought to have made him unpopular in the region. His tough stance on Islamic terrorism and a display of what was interpreted as hatred for Muslims ought to make him unpopular among the vast Muslim population in Africa.
4 years down the line, the Trump administration has not made any serious efforts to strengthen the US-Africa relationship neither has his administration pushed forward a favorable foreign economic policy towards Africa – a thing that the continent is in dire need of. There is hardly an economic or political gain that the Trump administration can point to as its foreign policy achievement in Africa but 4 years down the line, Mr. Trump has become more popular than Obama was in Africa.
The major factor driving Pro-Trumpism and anti-Trumpism in Africa is purely religious. While the dislike from a significant number of Muslims in Africa remained intact, Trump has become the favorite President in the world for conservative Christians in Africa. The position of the Republican Party – Trump’s party, over controversial issues like abortion and LGBT rights is in tandem with the views of majority of conservative Christians in Africa. The news of the banning of prayers in schools and the widely circulated conspiracy theory that attempted to link Obama to the beast and anti-christ talked about in the Christian Bible made conservative Christians in Africa to see Trump as a messenger of God who was sent to pull down the plans of the devil that was championed by former President Obama. President Trump has not performed badly in meeting their expectations as he has positioned himself as a President fighting for the preservation and restoration of Christian values – values upon which has been argued to be the foundations of American society.
His support for Israel, the Holy land for Christians, even in defiance of the positions of majority of countries in the United Nations, has cemented his place as a hero.
Trump enjoys popular support from these conservative Christians in Africa who have been convinced that he is doing the work of the Lord. This contrasts with the views of conservative Muslims. However, the pro-Trump fuelled by the religious factor supports Trump’s economic policies and other policies in America. They even think of Trump’s bashing of Africa and African leaders as right.
Consequently, there are die-hard supporters of Trump in Africa who although have nothing to do or contribute to and in America but vehemently demonstrate their support for the American President through defending him ferociously in debates, conducting solidarity rallies and processions in support of Trump and keeping a close eye on what the outcome of the next American election will be.
It would have been a lot better if Trump’s support base in Africa was based on economic and political reasons. There is a lot America can do to partner with Africa in meeting her developmental objectives. To them, they don’t care much, the dreaded anti-christ talked about in the Bible is approaching and Trump is all that stands between them and the anti-Christ. They wouldn’t mind him staying in the white house for another 4 years.
Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via twitter.com/caleb_onyeabor
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Newsie Events:- #Opinion by Caleb Onyeabor