The world is seemingly at a standstill as United States struggles to come to terms with the results of its own election. President Trump has refused to concede and it looks as though he is not going down without a fight. Armed protesters thronged the parking lot of one of the counting centers in Maricopa County, Phoenix Arizona. Tensions are running high and the president is also stocking the flames with his tweets and rants.
President Trump and his surrogates are alleging widespread fraud but so far no concrete evidence has been provided. What seems to irk the President more is the late rally that Joe Biden mounted in Pennsylvania and Georgia. As it stands, everything is pointing to a Biden win. The biggest challenge for America is how Trump is going to react. Without Trump conceding and dialing down his talk, there is a serious risk of an outbreak of violence.
A fiercely disputed election is something that outsiders especially Africans never thought could happen in United States of America. Before President Trump, America appeared to be the standard of democracy. The way their supreme court handled the Gore vs Bush dispute and the smooth transition of power even under suspicion of external influence in the 2016 election had cemented the infallibility of the system. This was before Donald Trump.
The past four years have seen heightened tensions in the country as Trump’s unfiltered outbursts put him in multiple collision courses while also emboldening racists and supremacists . In Trump, militias found a sympathetic leader. They started to openly show their colors, holding rallies and even running for office.
Before the election, judging by the rhetoric that was being fired from both camps, the tensions were already running high. It is rare in a country that prides itself as civilized to hear candidate referring to others as “Sleepy Joe”. Seeing gun-totting supporters of the President mobbing a Biden bus on a highway felt like a scene from a North Korea-bashing movie.
Trump also raised the tensions by opposing mail-in ballots and out-rightly allege fraud even before the elections were underway. As the president of the country, his talk seemed to undermine the same institutions that he was supposed to be presiding over.
Dial down or blood will be on your hands.
Africans watching the tense standoff in United States have been giving unsolicited advice to Americans. Samuel Al Rwigema a resident of Kigali in Rwanda had this to say:
“Americans should know that the tongue holds the keys to life and death. It starts this as a word, then the word becomes action. The things that you have never believed can happen in a flash. They have to pause a bit and reflect. Once they reach a point of no return, it would be too late. The leaders must lead”
Julius Malema, the firebrand opposition leader in South Africa has
“If they are defeated they must accept the results. They are the First World, they are supposed to be having sophisticated electoral system. So if we the Third World are still complaigning about rigging and the First World also complains, then democracy is dead; we can’t learn from anyone…”
Africans across the continent seem to have tough words for America for its handling of elections especially given how the US has been quick to judge other countries where opposition leaders have alleged rigging.