THE world’s most watched, most expensive and noisiest election finally ended on Wednesday with Republican candidate Donald Trump tromping to the White House in a startling upset of analysts’ projections and predictions.
The margin wasn’t as close as had been predicted. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was beaten, with her supporters slumping groggily in their seats.
We don’t know what decided the vote. But what is clear is that anyone who loses to Trump must be very bad indeed. The American people know better.
Trump won despite threatening to drive out the Latinos and other foreign nationals. He said he would close the border with Mexico by building a wall paid for by Mexico. He said Europe must pay for American protection. In the Far East, he has all but encouraged Japan and other nations in the region to arm themselves as a deterrent to the threat posed by North Korea. Muslims are not welcome in the United States. Barack Obama was such a bad President the United States will not see another black man at the White House “for generations”. He spoke of women as though they were objects, talking of “grabbing their p*****” even if they were not in a relationship with him – because he is a celebrity.
It takes a particularly disliked candidate to lose to someone who, on the face of it, upset every demographic group other than white males and gun lovers.
It is too early yet to know what Trump’s victory means for Africa. But world leaders jittery at the prospects of a Trump presidency would have welcomed his victory speech in which he appeared to express a genuine desire for a new deal in international relations.
“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations,” he said. “We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.”
In truth, Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, was not good for Africa. Her fingers are all over the egregious Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, the sanctions regime that brought Zimbabwe to its knees. Fair to say her defeat, mourned by many Africans, made for a nice breakfast story in Harare.
But there is also the case of Libya, a flourishing African nation that has been reduced to a wasteland because of rapacious imperialism’s depredations. America ganged up with NATO countries led by France while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State to bomb Libya to waste for daring to champion the cause of an independent Africa, united and possibly with its own currency and therefore less dependent on the US dollar or franc.
Its leader Muammar Gaddafi was brutally murdered in cold blood.
Gaddafi’s line of thinking was deemed dangerous, just as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was declared a persona non grata for his stand on the empowerment of poor people of the so-called third world. America’s reaction to Zimbabwe’s land reforms was sanctions, brought through a bill co-sponsored by Clinton.
In the case of Gaddafi, the opinion of the African Union on how the problems in Libya could be resolved in 2011 was completely ignored because that would have interfered with imperialism’s designs. The big powers had to have their way.
Hillary Clinton was in the thick of all this. She capped that with a memorable interview in which she declared maniacally: “We came, we saw, he died.” That was Gaddafi. She implied that they were innocent, that the life of an African leader doesn’t matter, regardless of how much he has done for his people. She laughed as she spoke. For this, Hillary Clinton should not expect much sympathy from a majority of Zimbabweans outside the feminist fringe and political parties which thought they would use the sanctions to weaken President Mugabe so much he would give up power at their say-so.
But perhaps for broader humanity, there was also a lot of anxiety about a Clinton presidency. She has not concealed her hatred for Russian leader Vladmir Putin. She has made wild accusations of Russia hacking the America system. This posed the threat of war if she won.
The world is better off without her, and at 70 years, there is little chance of her returning to the White House. Instead, it is the equally unlikable Donald Trump who won by promising to make America great again. ‘How,’ is what the world waits to see – but if he follows through his words of “seeking common ground”, “partnership” and shunning hostility, Trump could turn out into a breath of fresh air we all didn’t see coming.