African leaders have demanded a retraction and apology from United States President Donald Trump who described African countries, Haiti and El Salvador as “shithole” countries during a meeting last Thursday.
Botswana was the first country on the continent to condemn Trump’s unguarded remark which sparked outrage around the world. South Africa among others also expressed their displeasure followed by the Senegalese and Ghanaian presidents who tweeted about their “shock” at the insult.
PRESS RELEASE |Botswana condemns remarks made by President Trump @VensonMoitoi @MIACBW @OfficialMasisi pic.twitter.com/16i7CUMR4x
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) January 12, 2018
Je suis choqué par les propos du Président Trump sur Haïti et sur l’Afrique. Je les rejette et les condamne vigoureusement. L’Afrique et la race noire mérite le respect et la considération de tous. MS
— Macky SALL (@Macky_Sall) January 12, 2018
The language of @realDonaldTrump that the African continent, Haiti and El Salvador are “shithole countries” is extremely unfortunate. We are certainly not a “shithole country”. We will not accept such insults, even from a leader of a friendly country, no matter how powerful.
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) January 13, 2018
An unprecedented statement was released by the continental body African Union and African ambassadors to the United Nations. The former condemned the comment in the strongest terms and demanded an “apology to Africans and people of African descent”.
And the African Union speaks. pic.twitter.com/brUVx6SS7S
— John Dramani Mahama (@JDMahama) January 12, 2018
The latter condemned the “outrageous, racist and xenophobic” comment and expressed concern about the “continuing and growing trend from the U.S. administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour”.
These reactions are timely and Africans deserve proactive leaders who will come to their defence in such instances. However, many other insulting comments and actions in the recent years have gone by without any statement from African leaders.
The most notable “insults” are the planned expulsion of about 40,000 African refugee-seekers from Israel who have been left with no choice but prison or deportation to Uganda or Rwanda.
These refugees are mainly from Sudan and Eritrea where they are suffering from the political and social instability, yet the Israeli government says it will not accommodate these migrants as refugees but can accommodate them as prisoners.
Another insult is the torture, murder and enslavement of migrants who use Libya as a transit route to reach Europe. Libyan authorities financed by the European Union have locked up migrants in concentrated detention centres under harsh conditions while others have been caught on camera selling some of the migrants into slavery.
These and many more insults did not receive quick reactions from African leaders nor action to protect the lives of fellow Africans.
We cannot forget about the fact that fellow Africans in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions are being tortured and killed by the Paul Biya government for expressing their desires and calling for an end to marginalization. Thousands were killed by the Ethiopian government forces for coming out to demonstrate against ill-treatment and marginalization by the government.
Can the African Union and other leaders issue statements and take action against these injustices in the continent to protect us from further insults and ridicule?
Here are shared sentiments on this perspective:
How Africa reacted to “shithole insult” from @realDonaldTrump.
It appears that word alone shocks them than the migration scandal in Libya pic.twitter.com/Io5ojkIz5F
— Mimi237 (@Mimimefo237) January 14, 2018
Strong, unprecedented AU statement on Trump. It’d be great if they summoned similar courage to speak out when citizens are killed, elections are blatantly stolen and human rights abused with impunity. pic.twitter.com/aWNvxjrqaR
— Jeffrey Smith (@Smith_JeffreyT) January 13, 2018
Where were they when NATO invaded and destroyed Libya?
Where were they when the ‘liberated’ Libyans were selling their fellow Africans as slaves in 2017?
They are up in arms because Trump called them out for what they are?
When is the next pilgrimage to Washington DC?
— Docere (@No1Discipulus) January 13, 2018
Thanks to @realDonaldTrump we are now aware that #AfricanLeaders could react towards an insult. Why can’t #AU use its on military to fight & eradicate dictatorship in #Africa? Why cant they set an example with the present case in #Nigeria abducting #AmbazonianFreedomFighters?
— Prince Ismael (@muah_ga) January 13, 2018
Africans are sold and mistreated in Libya ! Any strong worded statement to that effect ? None !! What about mistreatment of Africans in the Arab world ? The USELESS members CLUB of AU are quite about !!
— SILAS NYAROO (@silasbogonko) January 14, 2018
50 Dictators out of 54 so maybe they want to clear the score with Mr @realDonaldTrump . This statement will be coming from 5 countries for sure no need to name them.
— A Koudouss ABEIDNA (@UnadPr) January 13, 2018
Africans let’s also use the same energy and outrage and speak in one accord against poverty, corruption, unemployment, racism, tribalism, poor health and education services, lack of democracy and infringement of Human Rights in out countries as we have done with #ShitHole #Africa
— OgadaOndiwo (@CherylSylvia_) January 13, 2018
This is too rich from a continent that has turned a blind eye to all the human rights abuses! Hypocrites! Absolutely hypocrites! Easy to say something against US but where was the courage to deal with Mugabe? DRC? Angola? CAR? Togo? Zuma?
— studymore nyahunzvi (@s4nyahunzvi) January 14, 2018
Did AU issue any statements on the daily #FulaniHerdsmen killings of hundreds in Nigeria ?
— JJU (@umohjoe) January 14, 2018