We were all warned about Donald Trump’s intentions from the beginning. During his run for the White House, the man set himself apart by making sweeping statements and shockingly rude remarks.
Driven by a delusional arrogance, he’s practically looked down his nose at the whole world – an attitude worthy of a spoiled child, convinced that nothing is off limits.
As a joker, he trumps the Ugandan “last king of Scotland,” Idi Amin Dada, and as a megalomaniac he may outdo Bokassa I, emperor of the Central African Republic. Trump is a master provocateur. Nothing separates him, in this regard, from a certain Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president who publicly called Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”
It’s therefore not surprising that Trump would ban U.S. access to immigrants from seven essentially Muslim countries. Evidently, for the American president, all Muslims are Salafist jihadis, terrorists who threaten his country’s security. Ignorance or full-fledged discrimination?
But the billionaire in power never for a second imagined that some of his fellow Americans would oppose his executive order. Nor that a federal judge would suspend the implementation of a measure considered to be unconstitutional. Nor that an appeals court would uphold the suspension. His first major setback or just a bump in the road? Let’s wait and see.
An America of 'Redskins'
Donald Trump probably forgot that the U.S. as it exists today didn’t belong to “palefaces” but to the “Redskins.” Europeans arrived there fleeing persecution, religious warfare, poverty and other ills plaguing their countries. They then brought in slaves from the African continent. And exterminated indigenous peoples, whose descendants now live on reserves like animals.
Is it necessary to remind the American president yet again that the countries most affected by jihadists are Muslim? Misfortune is blind to both skin color and religion. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Judges to the Rescue
That being said, the twists and turns that the anti-immigration executive order has taken provide us with a lesson on the virtues of democracy. When can one contest a presidential order without becoming a target? In almost all African countries, the separation of powers is virtual. To such an extent that judges make rulings so as not to displease the president of the republic and his entourage, though they’re supposed to work independently to interpret the law.
But can they state loud and clear that a presidential order is unconstitutional and suspend or cancel it? In our countries, with few exceptions, the judges have picked their side: that of submitting to executive power and disregarding the law, while getting bogged down by corruption and bias. Citizens, no longer placing their trust in them, come to forget their most fundamental rights, convinced that it’s useless to go to the judge.
As for the U.S. president, he’s successfully divided the American people and made the traditional allies of his country retch. And why? He thinks he’s still on a TV show. Tune into the next episode.
About the author: A former Jeune Afrique journalist and a specialist on the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and African history, Tshitenge Lubabu regularly writes articles from his native country.