When the American elections delivered up a winner in President-elect Donald Trump, several of Africa’s strongmen Presidents were not lax in sending in their congratulations.
Most of them had tweeted their congratulations along with hopes for better relations and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda actually went a step further to publish a lengthy missive calling on everyone to respect the electoral system of America.
An African election, recently, also delivered up a surprise winner in the person of Adama Barrow, a real estate agent now turned President-elect of Gambia who won Gambia’s presidential polls against President Yahya Jammeh; one of Africa’s strongmen Presidents who has ruled the Gambia for 22 years.
President Yahya Jammeh, who had once declared that he would rule Gambia for one billion years, conceded the elections and triggered celebrations of an improving African democracy in many parts of the continent.
Africa’s strongmen presidents, however, seem to want no part of that celebration. In sharp contrast with their quick congratulations to soon-to-be-president Donald Trump, most of them have not congratulated Gambia’s president-elect Barrow.
Only three African leaders have publicly congratulated President-elect Barrow to date; Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Ghana’s John Dramani Mahama and one strongman President in the person of Cameroon’s Paul Biya who sent in a congratulatory message on December 5.
Uganda’s 30 years ruler, Yoweri Museveni, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame who already has 16 years under his belt and seems to be looking to 17 more, and Gabon’s Ali Bongo, who recently extended his family’s nearly half-century rule of the country, have remained conspicuously silent.
All of the above mentioned African leaders had issued congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump but President-elect Barrow does not seem to have their vote.
Could it be that Africa’s strongmen Presidents are considering the irony that congratulating President-elect Barrow, who managed to unseat one of their own, would present?