By Faruk Kirunda
By the weekend, the tally from US elections showed that Joe Biden was headed for election as the President-elect of the United States of America (USA) after edging out the incumbent, Donald J Trump, in a tense election held on November 3. Having come to power in 2016 after surprisingly defeating Hillary Clinton, Trump was set to settle among one-term presidents of the US.
Trump’s tenure has been a difficult affair at a time the world is facing crisis after crisis and America (Trump) was expected to provide leadership to overcome or understand them. It seems that he didn’t succeed in convincing Americans that he was doing enough to make “America Great Again” or they were interested in something else.
The best leaders are marked in times of crisis and America under Trump has had its fair share of crises, including the current wave of Covid-19 and the violent protests following the killing of a black man, George Floyd, in Philadelphia. Trump seems to have failed to manage Covid-19 and, as a result, America has the highest infection and death rates in the world.
For the Flyod riots, Trump failed to take charge of the situation; he was expected to articulate measures to get blacks and other minorities on an equal footing with their white counterparts but he didn’t. Instead, Floyd’s killer was treated with kid cloves and I believe many blacks came out to exact their revenge during the elections.
Systemic racism is a product of unfair social programs and other practices of inequality that continue to expand the range between new comers (blacks) and the early comers (whites) and Trump, from the start, much as he indicated he wanted to break away from the establishment, came off as a bigot, uninterested in the fate of blacks even as he claimed to understand their problems.
Still, with Biden coming into State House, there is no guarantee that we are about to see the last of racism. There have been Democrats in the White House before, including Barack Obama, yet racism outstripped their terms.
Blacks know that there is little difference between white Trump and white Biden in White House. Ideally, the racism factor and whether the lives of minorities matter is an enduring debate which will not be resolved by who was voted on November 3.
That is America for you! It remains the concern of blacks (and Africans in the great homeland) to work for their place in humanity’s equal ranks.
Trump set his agenda and fell with it. Whatever he goes for, he goes for it with all his strength and might and that’s the nerve he struggled with up to the end in a bid to salvage his legacy with a second term. What he seemed to lack was experience in leadership which is a key factor even if one advanced in age and with the best ideas.
He didn’t try enough to win over his opponents to work with him. His whole term he was combative and on the defensive.
Uganda happens to be in the throes of campaigns with elections due next January. We expect Ugandans to fully take charge of their affairs and take no orders from any one on who to vote. Our young democracy continues to gain mileage and each election comes with lessons to pick on for the next.
I can arguably state that Uganda is more democratic than the US. Why? If we are to judge the credential of American democracy by the standards of the presidential contest, the traditional dominance of the Republican and Democrat parties while locking out others and their candidates means that America’s democracy operates in a limited spectrum.
I was surprised to learn only recently that singer Kanye West was also contesting for president, alongside other candidates-some say in thousands. But you would never hear about him or his ideas. Here in Uganda, even the newest, minor candidate is seen and heard, accorded equal acceptance by all stakeholders in his or her weight; the rest is left to one and the voters.
And that operating environment has been made more assured by President Museveni who has had greater influence on Ugandan democracy than anybody. He deserves his reward.
Unlike Trump, Museveni has ably steered Uganda in the fight against Covid-19 to an extent that we are ranked No. 1 in Africa. But it is not in his character to try to benefit from a crisis or take credit.
However, facts are that his style of leadership unites and empowers the willing for a common cause, unlike Trump who failed to bring everyone together for the American dream. If everybody listened, Uganda would be far.
It is also telling that Trump has only led America for four years. If it really mattered that leaders be rotated regularly all the time, wouldn’t he have been elected automatically for a second helping? What matters is what one does while in power. The Americans are taking lessons from us. We take lessons from each other and none should dictate terms on the other.
Lastly, both Trump and Biden are senior in age (Trump, 74, Biden, 77). By choosing Biden over Trump, Americans have chosen “senior seniority”, as it will be here on January 14, 2021 when Museveni will win. Biden has been in leadership since 1972. Clearly, seniority is a treasure! Congratulations to the new POTUS!
The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management
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