African leaders and individuals of African descent should be measured in their reactions and responses to the “extremely derogatory and distasteful” utterances attributed to US President Donald Trump, Security Consultant, Irbard Ibrahim has cautioned.
“The responses from Ghana’s President Nana Addo and former President Mahama are great from a pan-African point of view. However, being cautious and measured in our response as a continent will be better for international diplomacy” he noted in a statement on Sunday, January 14.
He said: “Although the comment from President Trump is extremely derogatory and distasteful, African leaders should tread cautiously, and not do anything that would affect the bilateral and multilateral relations between America and this continent”.
He was reacting to comments by Mr Trump who described African countries as “shitholes”, a remark which has generated backlash from African leaders and the African Union (AU).
Mr Trump described El Salvador, Haiti and certain African nations as “shithole” countries during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Thursday.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Mr Trump asked, after being presented with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from those countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal. The Washington Post reported the remarks citing aides briefed on the meeting.
Trump demanded to know why the US would accept immigrants from these countries rather than places like Norway, whose prime minister he had met the day before.
Mr Trump has received international condemnation for his comment, one of those criticisms coming from Botswana, whose Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation called on the US’s ambassador to Botswana “to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the US.”
The ministry also asked the ambassador to clarify whether the US regarded Botswana as a “shithole” country, adding that Trump’s comments were “highly irresponsible, reprehensible, and racist.”
Mr Trump, on Friday, however, denied making those comments. “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
Mr Ibrahim further explained that: “Since he entered the American presidential race, many comments have been attributed to Donald Trump; comments that have unsettled the world sometimes.
“Africa should also be careful not to take the bait – there is a general sense of disquiet within the American political establishment with the sudden rise of a mogul to the White House. As a result, mainstream American media maximizes the flaws of the Trump administration to hurt his chances of re-election in 2020 while domestic policies he is implementing are completely overlooked”.
For him, the US President is “just like any one of us, President Trump is human and fallible and Africa should be careful not to fall prey to the anti-Trump narrative being pursued by a section of the US press. Comments our leaders make today may have far-reaching diplomatic consequences for us in the near future”.
He emphasised that Africans should respond in a “diplomatic and unprovoked manner in order not to escalate matters”.
He believes “to err is human, and to forgive is divine” adding Mr Trump is “not a superhuman and not perfect” and “therefore in our response, we must be measured and hope that such derogatory comments are not uttered again”.
“US Visa Lottery as an American diversification programme, has enabled Africans, Asians, Arabs, Latinos and other people around the world to seek greener pastures and also contribute towards the development of the US and, therefore, they do not deserve such distasteful descriptions by President Trump,” he concluded.