Republican nominee Donald Trump’s repetitive claims about voter fraud and rigged system have horrified many people in African countries — along with giving them an opportunity to mock the elections.
The United States has often criticized African countries for their less than fair elections. However, this time around, the GOP candidate’s ridiculous assertions have made the American election the butt of the joke.
Trump, without any rhyme or reason, tweeted on Monday to expect “large scale voter fraud.”
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
Africans, many of them from Nigeria and Zimbabwe, promptly pounced on the claim and took to social media to show exactly what they think of American elections.
Sudan and Malawi refuse to rule out sanctions if they are unsatisfied with transparency of election process. #Nov8AfricanEdition— Gidimeister (@Gidimeister) October 18, 2016
Robert Mugabe suggests that a Clinton/Trump power sharing deal may bring peace back to d troubled North American country #Nov8AfricanEdition— Elnathan John (@elnathan_john) October 18, 2016
Please go and check out the #Nov8AfricanEdition poking fun at the US elections using African electoral clichés. It will brighten your mood— Ryan Cummings (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) October 18, 2016
Dangote trucks seen with bags of rice branded "I am with her" to be distributed in D.C ahead of elections. #Nov8AfricanEdition— DAN!EL (@DaniielAbdul) October 18, 2016
If you want to see a rigged election try Zimbabwe in 2008. The US election is not rigged. It's not quite fair, but not quite rigged. #Trump— Daniel Jones (@Daniel252525) April 13, 2016
Trump has given Nigerians opportunity to mock America and get some emotional release from dwelling on our own failures????#Nov8AfricanEdition— Remi Adekoya (@RemiAdekoya1) October 18, 2016
More reports of voter bribery in New Jersey:— Chimankpam (@Clarenceonyeks) October 18, 2016
GOP paying $10 per vote,
Dems = $15 per vote.
Green Party = begging. #Nov8AfricanEdition
Underage voters, horses and lamb seen queuing up to vote around ranches in Texas. #Nov8AfricanEdition— Babasola Kuti (@SKSolaKuti) October 18, 2016
However, not everyone saw the hilarity in the “dangerous words.”
Zimbabwe opposition leader Tendai Biti — who claimed his party defeated President Robert Mugabe in 2008 election and was tortured for crying foul— said he could show Trump what a real election rigging looked like.
“Donald Trump is a gift to all tin-pot dictators on the African continent. He is giving currency and legitimacy to rigging because if it can exist in America, it can exist anywhere,” Biti said.He was denied food, physically tortured and put in shackles after he challenged the fairness of Zimbabwe’s 2008 elections.
“He has no idea what he's talking about, absolutely no idea,” he added. "It makes us cross because in Africa there's real election rigging."
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also got a chance to slam the United States. In February, when he won the elections for the seventh term in the row, he became a target of controversy by the U.S. who accused him of arresting opposition figures, harassing their voters and threatening the media.
Museveni's spokesperson, Don Wanyama, said Trump’s remarks “should be an eye-opener to them. As they sit down to lecture other countries, they should realize that it's not easy. Democracy is a process and it really takes time.”
“I was shocked. I was horrified,” said Musikari Kombo, a former local government minister in Kenya, where 15,000 people were killed during ethnic disputes, the result of 2007 elections.
“People in Africa who have always challenged elections will say: ‘You see, we are vindicated. Even in the mother of all democracies, the presidential candidate is not willing to accept because there is rigging,’” he explained.
In Gabon, opposition party’s Jean Ping challenged President Ali Bongo — whose family has ruled the oil-producing colony for the past five decades — after losing narrowly to him this year. He claimed the results in the province of Haut-Ogooue showed 95.46 percent of voters supported Bongo, more than double elsewhere.
“I would say to Mr. Trump ‘Come to Gabon to see what a fake democracy looks like, to see what a stolen election looks like,’” said Alexandre Barro Chambrier, a senior Ping adviser. “There is no democracy here. There is the rule of one family and one man imposing a dictatorial regime. Mr. Trump is not serious.”
Although U.S. officials, which include Republican state governors as well, state there is no real danger of voting fraud, Trump and some of his allies like Rudy Giuliani claim some states are leaving dead people on the voting rolls and voting on behalf of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria