PRETORIA – EVER the divisive figure, the gaffe-prone United States (US) President Donald Trump has incurred the wrath of some African activists, and at the same time earned some praise, for his alleged “shithole” utterances regarding the continent’s Diasporans coming to his country.
While others condemned the controversial leader for his sentiments seen as demeaning African migrants in the US, others feel Trump was justified in calling the African states as “shithole” countries, arguing it was a true reflection of the corruption among African leaders that forced migrants out of the continent to seek opportunities in Trump’s country.
Chairman of Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum, Nqabutho Mabhena, lashed at Trump, describing him as a racist.
“President Trump has demonstrated to all and sundry, that he is a hard core racist who does not value the contributions of black people in the building of the American economy from the days of slavery. The same countries that he calls ‘shithole’ are the very countries that the United States of America and her friends have looted its resources over the years,” said Mabhena.
He cited another recent remark in which Trump was quoted as accusing Nigerians of spreading HIV/AIDS in America.
“Any leader who accuses Nigerians or any African for spreading Aids is sick,” Mabhena said.
He called for the impeachment of Trump.
“If the views expressed by do not represent the views of the American people, then the American public must start the process of impeaching Trump and occupy all the streets until he leaves office,” Mabhena said.
Mabhena alleged companies from the US continued to exploit the oil in Nigeria, leaving locals with insufficient reserves.
“It is the United States of America and her friends that killed our progressive African leaders, the likes of Patrice Lumumba (Democratic Republic of Congo), Thomas Sankara (Burkina Faso) and very recently Brother Leader Muammar Gaddafi (Libya). These were committed to building an economy that would benefit every African.”
Mabhena lambasted Trump as “hardcore racist” whose stay in office reverses the gains made by progressive revolutionaries like Martin Luther King Jnr who fought for the realisation of an equal society where the colour of an individual was not an issue.
Gabriel Shumba, the prominent human rights advocate, said if the remarks ascribed to Trump were true, they would “extremely regrettable” and “unfortunate.”
“These sentiments, which we would ordinarily associate with unrepentant racist and xenophobic stereotype, are not to be expected of a head of state of one of the most advanced democracies of the world,” Shumba said.
He called on African nations to cut ties with America and intensify the “Look East policy” to strengthen economic and political ties with China and Eastern Asia’s emerging economic giants such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.
“The knee jerk reaction will be for African countries to gravitate further east. However, we would caution this on the basis that China and other Eastern powerhouses are not concerned with human rights and dignity of citizens, having even shown marked racism in their treatment of African labourers,” Shumba said.
“The best is for Africa to unite, improve democracy and make the continent a better trading and investment place to mitigate the suffering that causes forced migration. Closer to home, South Africa should note how racism and xenophobia undermine the dignity of all human beings,” Shumba said.
He thus called on South Africa to pass the Hate Crimes Bill.
South Africa has joined the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Botswana to condemn Trump’s utterances.
“Relations between South Africa and the United States, and between the rest of Africa and the United States, must be based on mutual respect and understanding,” the foreign ministry stated on Sunday.
Libyan migrant, Faisal Saad told CAJ News Africa: “Trump’s utterances require weapons of mass destruction thrown to Washington and New York so
that the country would feel the pain it (US) inflicted in the African continent.”
He said Americans exploited and demeaned Africans yet the continent provided American industries with resources and cheap labour, pointing out at the resurgence of slave trade in Libya.
“America destroyed my country (Libya) under flimsy allegations (against then-president, (Muammar Gaddafi),” he said.
He said under Gaddafi, unemployed youths from universities were receiving more than US$1, 000 (about R14 000) monthly from government while searching for employment, something that never happened in America or Europe.
He claimed young couples that aspired to get married would be given $50, 000 fee, a house and free fuel and a car.
“All these success stories were destroyed in Libya by the greedy America,” Saad charged.
Dickson Sirawa, Chairman of the Kenyan Diaspora and East African Forum, defended Trump.
“I found every utterance Trump made about Africa and Africans being correct,” Sirawa said.
“African leaders accumulate so much wealth for themselves, their families and cliques yet a majority of citizens they lead have no toilets, no safe drinking water, no houses with no industry to talk about in their countries. African governments have no care at heart for their people hence the need to have the likes of Trump to tell them the truth.”
Sirawa blamed African leaders for the surge in citizens in search of economic opportunities overseas.
“African leaders are causing suffering of own citizens through corruption and looting of resources which they later stash in Europe. I don’t see the reason why African leaders become angry when told the truth.”
Sirawa said he agreed with Trump’s observations of African migrants in the United States.
“I have no bad feelings against President Trump because he told African leaders the truth. African leaders have looted much of the continent’s resources to Europe instead of developing their own countries,” Sirawa
Trump has denied making the vulgar remarks.
– CAJ News