A comparative look at American president Donald Trump and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni shows a striking resemblance; these two men do not shy away from controversy. They are fierce in what they believe in, whether popular or unpopular, but they stand resolute to whatever their minds dictate them to do.
It is not surprising hence when the media is awash with the love that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has professed for Donald Trump. While the rest of Africa swims in the pools of deriding and piling scorn on Donald Trump, Museveni always decides to deviate from this narrative. In a speech he gave at the opening of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said that he loved Donald Trump for his frank remarks with Africans.
Yoweri Museveni’s fondness for Trump when the whole of Africa is always hungrily waiting for an opportunity to rant at Trump is getting profound and unique in ways that many African leaders will find hard to stomach. Museveni said that he loves Trump for being frank with Africans, a few weeks after Trump referred to some African nations as “shithole” countries during an immigration meeting in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump has since denied those claims. His line of argument, which has not been convincing enough to scores around the world, is that he used “tough language” but did not use the word “shithole”. Many do not believe him for obvious reasons. The lone Democrat Senator who was there, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill), said Trump’s denial was blatantly false.
How Museveni is defending his love for Trump
Despite the huge avalanche of outrage that was set in motion by Trump’s remarks, Museveni has described this phenomenon which others find repulsive as “being frank with Africans”. Museveni had this to say in supporting his assertions, “America has got one of the best presidents ever, Mr. Trump. I love Trump”.
“I love Trump because he talks to Africans frankly. I don’t know if he’s misquoted or whatever, but when he speaks I like him because he speaks frankly.”
We are not strong as Africans, goes Museveni. “It is the fault of the Africans that they are weak. They have this huge continent,” he said. “If you look at Africa, Africa is 12 times the size of India, in terms of land area, lots of resources, and the population is growing now. Why can’t we make Africa strong?”
Africa’s fury with Trump
Not everyone has had the luxury to give Trump’s remarks on Africa as “shithole” countries some dosage of lenience. The African Union (which was described by the CNN as ‘a group representing African nations’) issued a burning, stinging statement castigating Trump’s statements in the “strongest terms” and demanded an apology as well as retraction of the statements.
Botswana likewise also issued a statement denouncing the deplorable statements that had been reportedly uttered by Donald Trump. Interestingly, Museveni’s love for Trump comes after US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac said that “his words are obviously quite disturbing and upsetting”.
Whoever wants to claim the moral high ground, let them do it. Museveni has had his fair share of controversies in Uganda, and is known to be a champion of the “sit-tight syndrome” where he does not want to leave power. Donald Trump is infamous for some apparent racist and xenophobic remarks and it is not a secret that a part of him, maybe a large part, has absolute disdain for a huge chunk of foreign countries.