UNITED States President Donald Trump was unfortunate not to be born African; he could have simply forfeited results, arrested his rival, unleashed the army and declared victory before things got out of hand. They must be saying so at Jongwe House.
It has been an intriguing week to those who believe in electoral democracy. The global super power, the US, as usual takes the world to a standstill whenever a landmark event transpires. Voting in the country put democracy at stake, with Trump prematurely declaring victory despite, at that time, trailing behind the former vice-president Joe Biden in a tightly-contested race for presidency. Reminiscent of the 2000 US disputed polls between George W Bush and Al Gore, Trump also sought legal intervention against three states: Pennyslvania, Michigan and Georgia. The lecturer of democracy — the US — finds itself in storm of potential criticism from other nations, feeling being held to ransom by that country, after imposing sanctions and embargoes on them for failing to uphold free and fair elections.
If Trump fails to secure another term, he joins the league of his predecessors such as William Taft (1909-13), Herbert Hoover (1929-33), Gerald Ford (1974-77), Jimmy Carter (1977-81) and George Bush Sr (1989-93), who, for various reasons, failed to charm Americans to give them a second nod.
While the US is usually the first to urge other countries to respect the rule of law, embrace peace and accept electoral outcomes, especially those that favour opposition candidates, this time, it has to be the onlookers from across the world who should be saying the same. America needs to respect democracy.
News that Trump’s supporters (armed with rifles and handguns) besieged election counting centres in different states demanding ethical counting of votes dispels the notion the US is a model democracy worth emulating. It is a sad replication of violence that frequently accompanies polls in dictatorial countries, where the incumbent employs intimidating tactics to safeguard the throne, and mostly, for personal aggrandisement.
Meanwhile, the Trump circus of fearing to accept defeat should not be a blessing to Africa’s rigging perfectionists. If the US fails to clip his wings to let democracy prevail, in the event he loses, all dictators of the world will definitely use the US 2020 elections as a precursor to upgrade their tyranny. They can even abolish elections and institutionalise de jure one-party states, forgetting their economic problems still need redress, achieved through democratic practices.
And for Zanu PF — which spends sleepless nights pleading with the gods of famine for a downfall to water drought-stricken plants — the Trump soap opera is an opportune diversionary occasion to preoccupy its daily business for the entire century, however, without sorting out the mess at home. Precisely, violence, electoral rigging, dictatorship, looting and selfish leadership should have no place among us.