As the Democratic Party prepares to wield power in the U.S. House of Representatives after a land slide victory in the mid-term elections, the word ‘impeachment’ is increasingly rolling off their tongues. Such is the unprecedented level of mendacity, corruption and incompetence that permeates and characterises the Trump administration, that it will take the ‘wisdom of Solomon’ to divine which activities to shed light on and which miscreant/s to hold accountable. Meanwhile, global democracy is not only ‘at risk’ it is on life support.
The traditional, essential stabilizing role of the U.S. as a beacon, bulwark and standard bearer of democracy is now consigned to a bygone era as Trump, the de facto leader of the free world, is in over-drive to up-end democratic norms, values and principles. He has demonstrated ad nauseum that he is in fact the most un-democratic leaning U.S. president to hold office. His effusive praise of dictators and authoritarian leaders is in lockstep with his naked, ill-concealed lust for their unbridled power and his contempt for the rule of law is pregnant with sinister portents.
Alas, this new and bizarre benchmark is nowhere more consequential and more unwelcome than in Africa, where we are poised to have no fewer than 18 presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019. This is unfortunately against a backdrop in which most, if not all of our democracies, were cynically cobbled together as a by-product of self-serving European imperial interests. Africa has all too often witnessed the end results of ‘tribalism run amok,’ which have manifested in institutionalised persecution and civil conflict. This leap into societal darkness has been the reality for several African countries, constrained to co-exist and thrive as nation-states, despite the wildly hodgepodge composition of disparate groupings, many of which harbour age-old mutual suspicions and hostilities. As we approach 2019 and the looming elections on the continent, the question is how many aspiring ‘tin gods’ and despots, will feel green-lighted and unshackled to emerge from the shadows and crevices, by Trump who rode into power massaging and stoking division, fear and hatred? This modus operandi continues to define his leadership as president and has become synonymous with ‘Trumpism’. Africa cannot sustain the re-emergence of tyrannical rulers who hinder national progress and terrorise the populace by imposing their personal brand of megalomania. This phenomena also causes upheavals which contribute to the flow of refugees seeking sanctuary in Western countries.
Indeed, the specter of politically motivated dire events happening in Nigeria’s upcoming elections in 2019, recently prompted the EU and the U.S. to issue a joint statement in Abuja, warning against election turmoil. The statement said inter alia, ‘We wish to draw particular attention to the fundamental role of the security agencies in providing a safe and secure environment for the Nigerian people to exercise their democratic rights. It is vital that security agencies act, and are seen to act, in an impartial manner that maintains the high standards of professional conduct.’ The statement was also signed by Australia and the Republic of Korea.
Whilst I personally along with countless tens of millions of Nigerians, who have a vested interest in strengthening our democracy, appreciate the above expressed sentiments, I find it incongruous and a tad hypocritical that the U.S. would spearhead such a pronouncement. Increasing numbers of seasoned American political analysts attest to the fact that the U.S. is currently facing a deepening constitutional crisis brought about by Trump, who is under the cosh for alleged campaign finance felonies and for allegedly obtaining the presidency with the help of a foreign adversarial power. Thereby, defrauding the American people in both scenarios. Also front and centre of his political scandals is the question of whether he is ‘in flagrante delicto’ of the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the U.S. constitution.
Trump is knee capped under the weight of numerous on-going investigations, which also implicate his inner circle and family members. These investigations will soon expand to include Congressional scrutiny, led by a majority Democratic Party House of Representatives. In determining whether or not to impeach Trump, Democrats must look beyond the strictures of domestic political expediency. Democracy as a universal political system has proven thus far to be the most equitable form of governance and the best guarantee of individual rights and freedoms.
The future of global democracy is inexorably linked to the ability and willingness of the U.S., the most powerful nation on the planet, to protect and project its health and well-being. Democrats must rise to the challenge and impeach Trump, who has committed impeachable offenses, according to Representative Jerry Nadler, incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
I strongly believe that Trump is an anathema to democracy. He must be impeached because he has sown a cancer in the global body politic. There must be an immediate and forceful, remedial change of course-direction, which will deter leadership attacks that render the rule of law, legless and impotent. Holding Trump’s feet to the fire in impeachment proceedings, would be an object lesson to our leaders on the African continent and will go a long way in protecting our fragile democracies. I urge the leaders of the Democratic Party to draw inspiration from the priceless words of the iconic British statesman Sir Winston Churchill, ‘You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.’