America is often regarded as a beacon of democracy. The country has one of the best electoral systems in the world. In fact, many countries are aiming to replicate America’s democratic system. Two enviable features of the United States democracy include free and fair elections and peaceful power transition. However, all that changed after President Trump lost his re-election bid.
For weeks unending, President Trump screamed electoral fraud without substantive proof. His lawsuits seeking to overturn the results of the elections were thrown out multiple times. However, events turned for the worst on Wednesday 6th January 2021 when his supporters stormed the US Capitol building in Washington.
Prior to the attack, the president spoke to supporters, repeating his false claim. Afterward, he told the protesters to match to the Capitol building and ask the senators to do the right thing. This led to the disruption of Congress’ electoral votes count to certify President-elect Joe Biden. World leaders have been expressing their disappointment or disgust.
World leaders react to assault on United States democracy
From the UK to Germany, world leaders have been commenting on the shocking incident at the US Capitol building. On Thursday 7th January 2021, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned President Trump and the rioters using strong terms. Responding to a question by a journalist at a press conference the Prime Minister said,
“Encouraging people to storm the Capitol and consistently casting doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election was completely wrong. I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol.”
Iran, which has suffered the brute force of President Trump’s leadership used the opportunity to lash out at the United States. In a televised speech on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Trump a ‘sick person’ and a disgrace to the nation. He further said,
“What happened in the US shows how fragile Western democracy is. Despite all their scientific and industrial achievements, we see a huge influence of populism. When a sick person takes office, we see how he disgraces his country and creates troubles for the world.”
If there is one thing that American allies and foes agree on, it is the fact that the event of the 6th was disgraceful. Below are reactions from other world leaders.
Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2021
Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 6, 2021
Deeply worrying developments in Washington, D.C. This is an assault on democracy. President Trump and several members of Congress bear substantial responsibility for developments. The democratic election process must be respected.
— SwedishPM (@SwedishPM) January 6, 2021
Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 7, 2021
The violent scenes we saw in Washington today are an affront to democracies around the globe. True and genuine democracy is a precious treasure that no nation should ever take for granted. We are confident the USA will soon close this ugly chapter once and for all.
— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) January 7, 2021
African leaders react to the attack on the US Capitol building by President Trump supporters
The majority of African countries under democratic rule use the United States as a model. For most of them, the United States democracy is infallible. However, that opinion may change after the events of the United States Capitol building on January 6. African elections are often marred by violence and litigations long after the pronouncement of the winner—but so is America now.
While the president of Nigeria was silent, the All Progressive Congress (APC), the president’s political party has released a statement expressing their displeasure. The statement suggests that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has more integrity than President Trump. The statement read in part,
“The events of the past 72hrs in the United States of America is, to say the least, condemnable. Over time, the elections of the US has been a touchstone for elections in other democracies. The US election saga strongly underscores the fact that the integrity of the country’s leader essentially complements the workings of these institutions.”
THE INTEGRITY OF A LEADER IS AS IMPORTANT AS STRONG INSTITUTIONS pic.twitter.com/Hr5QrIhQHJ
— APC Nigeria (@OfficialAPCNg) January 9, 2021
Under the leadership of President Trump, many African countries were sanctioned for one reason or the other. Nigeria was slammed with a visa ban for security lapses. Zimbabwe was for concerns about the country’s democracy. Following the US Capitol building saga, the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has lashed out at President Trump. Apparently, he is the only African president to do so. According to President Mnangagwa, “President Trump has no moral right to sanction Zimbabwe”.
Last year, President Trump extended painful economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, citing concerns about Zimbabwe’s democracy.
Yesterday’s events showed that the U.S. has no moral right to punish another nation under the guise of upholding democracy. These sanctions must end.
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) January 7, 2021
Additional responses came from Africa, as the world watched in shock.
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) January 7, 2021
One thing is clear, strong institutions are the only thing stopping President Trump from holding onto power. Perhaps, if Africa can build strong institutions, it will help to cut the excesses of corrupt leaders. Also, this should serve as a lesson to Africans who undermine their democratic progress by focusing on America as the ‘big picture’. In all of these, one question that remains hard to answer is the one by President Mnangagwa. Do you think Trump had the moral right to sanction Zimbabwe? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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