President Donald Trump has ruffled the delicate feathers of Africans by lampooning and calling their continent a shithole. Immediately, social media, talk shops, isiewu and mama put joints were overheated with angry cadences, righteous denunciations, condemnations and racial genuflections. I watched all the sentimental superficiality with amusement and Calvinistic calmness. What’s all the flex about, for shithole sake? What is the reason for the toxic words being bandied about POTUS? Sorry, POTUS is the acronym for President of the United States! When are we going to reclaim common sense from our fury and hysteria?
Be warned: this piece is not for hypocrites. If you are one, sign off. It is written, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed”. Yes, I may want to join the Afrocentric bandwagon and begin to lob rude and angry expletives on President Donald Trump, but because Africa is yet to weave its spell of greatness on me, I will not speak evil of POTUS. I will not be counted among the self-righteous mobsters who are defending Mother Africa from a man known for racist slur, bigotry, extremist views and for his preference for eugenics.
Again, it is written, “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him”. I will not be counted as a foolish African who cannot embrace the truth, even if the truth is coming from a distant, Alpha white voice. My rage or your rage does not matter anyway. President Trump, whether you like it or not, will always force reaction, positive or negative, as long as he remains the POTUS. Rather today, I want my discretion to get the better part of my polemical rage against Trump.
My question is this: Is Trump’s angry prognosis of the African political, social, economic, cultural and relational conditions right or wrong? Is the POTUS right to dismiss a huge, developing, sunny and pulsating land of black people a shithole? Does he have the moral right to such vexatious description? Is he voicing out what the white race had known all along about the Africans? Is his categorization of Africa as a shithole a mere illusion or real? Are we to thank the POTUS for saying it as it really is or join the self-righteous Afrocentric lovers and ask for his grey head on a platter?
Let me state here that America, Europe and Africa are lands of manifest differences. The nobility and greatness of America and Europe is the vision of their founding fathers and mothers. America and Europe were founded on the notions of democracy, fairness, justice, equality and transparency. Most African nations after the euphoria of their independence were founded on evil democracy, political rascality, vote rigging, tribalism, nepotism, inequality, unfairness, zero vision, injustice, oppression, police and Army brutality, treasury looting, graft, bribery and corruption and incredible impunity. Since independence, these aberrations have remained the common universal truth left standing in most African nations.
So, the plain speaking POTUS acting like a health inspector and seeing the consequences of our short term vision since our independence, finds it difficult not to say it as it is. President Trump sees a catastrophic and monumental waste of resources, opportunities and talents on a scale unimaginable. What the POTUS sees about us is this: Africans are parasites, thieves, plunderers, cheats, greedy, selfish, dirty, brutish, wicked, backward thinking, irrational, felons, undemocratic and liars. Soyinka, Sophocles and Shakespeare would have written our ongoing conditions in Africa as a tragedy.
For example, Nigeria got her independence after a bloodless struggle from the European colonisers. Since that independence, leaders in Nigeria are yet to find a final solution to the gravitational incongruities between integrity and survival, honesty and duplicity, transparency and corruption, greed and content, selfishness and selflessness and accountability and impunity. Politicians in Nigeria are forever consumed by a sort of fever for corruption. There is a lofty distaste for honesty, patriotism and the desire to make Nigeria great. The social and political order in Nigeria is now dictated by rogues in uniform, ‘agbada’, Armani suits, ‘babanriga’, political thugs, third rate brains, moneybags, godfathers and well-heeled poster girls dotted across Abuja.
Now, if Nigeria, the self-described giant of Africa could be counted among the countries that have slide into the bottomless pit of failed states, what then is the fate of less resources-endowed African countries? Here we can see the connection being made by President Donald Trump between our poverty, backwardness and decay which then translate into a shithole. So the Trump-African implosion is this: “Why are we having these people from shithole countries come here?” The question is, how do we know shithole countries? What makes a country a shithole?
It is written, “He who covers his sins will not prosper but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”. It may be troubling to say, but I must admit that many African nations are shithole, rat hole and even monkey hole. The greed-addicted forces that dominate many of Africa’s political, social, economic, legal and media institutions have colluded to make that beautiful continent into shithole. A critical mass of the population of most African nations are condemn to daily suffering and servitude. A continent where politicians steal brazenly, unaccountable, use terror to subvert the manifest destiny of their people is a shithole.
Nigeria is a senior shithole nation. Her shithole is larger, deeper and the noxious odor of its shithole stinks to high heavens. Nigeria’s elites and cabal are the biggest threat to the continued survival of poor Nigerians. Trump’s Africa is bleeding from a million cuts…from corruption, feudal mindset, brutality, political impunity, economic paralysis, hunger, diseases and total disregard for the vulnerable, weak, tired and old. In Africa, our domestic governance is through brute force and total disregard for any form of respect for the citizens’ fundamental human right. A continent so described is a shithole, rat hole and monkey hole. A nation of kidnappers, ritualists, occultists, lawless senators, politicians, zero safety net for the helpless is a shithole. A nation where its leaders run abroad from common cold is a shithole. A nation where politicians will empty the treasury and still walk around unmolested and unprosecuted is a shithole.
Let me thank the POTUS for letting the world know the conditions of Africa as a shithole. He has conscripted all Africans that may have been damaged and wounded by his insult into a new network of “Time’s Up”. His racist, demarcating, abhorrent and crude description of our continent is nothing short of a wakeup call on the current generations of all Africans to fight the stubborn forces of darkness and retrogression that have colluded for far too long to subject Africa, from the plain Angola to the greenery of Zimbabwe into a continent of sewer, shithole, rat hole and monkey hole.
Taju Tijani is a writer, raconteur, polemicist, devil’s advocate, provocateur and an online columnist for eagleonline.com.ng. He is a pundit and specialises in Nigeria’s social and political commentary. He edits the blog, www.ttsoundings.com. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org