Donald Trump made some outrageous statements during the American presidential campaign. In the western world, they’re seen, depending on political preferences, as stupid, great or completely disgusting. Africans made a game out of it, using it to both mock the American feeling of superiority in democracy as to criticise their own electoral system. Using the hashtag #Nov8AfricanEdition, they show what Trump’s statements would signify in Africa. Cynical, but very funny. Of course it’s only funny because we know it will not happen that way. Or? For people without twitter, the website Quartz Africa, among others, made an overview of some of the best messages.
The tweets are based on huge clichés of African elections, that are certainly not valid for all countries. In many African countries, elections are fair and follow the rules, but that does not make for good news or humor. Unfortunately, the clichés are still daily reality in some countries. Elections are not peaceful and fair, the number or duration of terms for presidents is changed because the president wants to stay, and many people in power are very fond of exactly that: power. Usually for the wrong reasons.
As very often, South Sudan takes it to the extreme. There the president believes he has the right to be president because he has the most armed troops (I won’t say the largest army as that implies some form of training and discipline). It doesn’t matter that those troops only alienate most of the country. Weapons are power. South Sudan is made up of 68 tribes, and they should be represented in the army. The president, Salva Kiir, hails from the largest tribe, the Dinka. He recently admitted to recruit mainly ethnic Dinka for the army, because “the other tribes don’t want to serve in the army”. During a political meeting, he especially accused two tribes, from the Equatorias and the Nuer, of supporting the enemy. In the public were both his vice presidents, one from the Equatorias, the other an ethnic Nuer… How cynical does a tweet need to be to make that humorous?