No Meeting Between Donald Trump and Dennis Sassou Nguesso, President of Congo Brazzaville, According to Spokeswoman Hope Hicks

The prospect of US President elect Donald Trump meeting with the leader of an African nation, during his transition to the White House was unusual and unprecedented and it lit up the Internet with many people being critical of the decision. As it turns out, the whole thing was one big misunderstanding. Donald Trump is not meeting with Mr Dennis Sassou Nguesso after all. At least, not before taking office on January 20th.

Mr Trump does express an interest in having strong relations with African leaders, however. At the same time, it is questionable whether MR Nguesso is the right type of leader. According to Quartz.com:

Many were disappointed at the prospect of Nguesso becoming the first African president that president-elect Trump would meet. The Congolese leader has a shaky record on democratic and human rights. Nguesso, 73, has been president of Congo Brazzaville (also known as Republic of Congo) for 19 consecutive years, and was re-elected in March for another seven years. He has been president for a total of 32 years, excluding the five years he didn’t run the country between 1992 and 1997.

President Elect Trump to Meet with President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso

According to recent reports, it appears US president elect Donald Trump is cultivating his first political bedfellow in the African Union. It is the president of the Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso.

Mr Sassou-Nguesso heads the African Union High Level Commission on Libya. A communique was released from his presidential office in Brazzaville indicating the meeting which is scheduled to take place in New York on December 27 2016.

This is a strategic move by Mr Trump to gain alliances and bedfellows in the African Union – without doubt. His advisers must have advised him of the strategic economic, military and nuclear advantages China currently enjoys because of the country’s expansive relationships in the continent.

This is a good move by the US President elect.

Who Will Be Trump’s African Ambassador(s)?

If you ask a youngster in school in Europe or America to describe the first thing he or she thinks of when they think of Africa, the answers can be easily predicted. They are likely to start with “poverty” and end somewhere with “war and conflict.” Many kids are surprised to learn that there are high-rise buildings and highways and fancy sports cars in many African cities.

Where do these stereotypes come from and why do they persist? Indeed, ridding Africa of poverty, corruption, disease and violent conflict has been the holy grail of many US and Western leaders, not to mention Peace Corp volunteers and billionaire philanthropists for at least 100 years. Africa is the place where everybody is hungry and looking for a handout.

Most US presidents in the last few administrators treated Africa as an after-thought at best. They had no defined Africa policy. Like many people around the world, American Presidents – at least the last several – seem to still hold very stereotypical notions of the continent, and the people who live there.

This needs to change. Especially in America. To continue to harbor this propaganda and to believe it and to misinform children about Africa is not only a disservice to the people on this continent, it will become a security threat for the next generation of people on the American continent.

In the short run, over the next 4 years that is, continuing to hold these stereotypical notions about Africa could turn out to be a foreign policy disaster for Donald Trump’s administration.

Why?

China. China is and has been in Africa for some time now building relationships and promoting investment and trade. America is there too but perhaps in a different way and with a different motive. China sees the types of opportunity in Africa that America historically has not. China views Africa, if not an “equal” then certainly more as a “partner” in many ways than the US seems to at this time.

And make no mistake, there are many American companies, banks and investors in Africa who know the value of people and the continent. But the one thing many people seem to overlook is Africa’s geopolitical significance – especially in the new world order being carved out by Donald Trump.

A continent could not have been more perfectly situated than Africa is for what is coming. What is coming? Some very serious shizzo. A lot of it will be stoked by the Trump presidency. He knows how to rattle, perturb, unnerve and agitate. The world is not going to be the same world after a Trump presidency.

The Chinese saw this long before Donald Trump was elected and they have sought to exploit their opportunities to build partnerships and relationships that will help them when the time comes.

Trump is unlikely to hold Africa and the people there in high regard. He will not see them as equals. He will try to commandeer them and impose his will and to a large extent, he probably will get away with it. But it won’t be the same as before. Because of China.

Of course, Africa is not a country. There are many different players involved and many different types of opportunities. Hopefully, also, African leaders have learned their history lessons and will not allow their country and continent to be exploited any more than it already has been by the “great powers.” They will instead demand their place at the negotiating table like all the other partners in what is to come.

For now though, as far as nuclear Armageddon, much of Africa is still a bit of a sleeper. If the Chinese have “colonized” any of these states (insofar as their military ambitions go) they have been working with great stealth (crouching tiger hidden dragon). But it would be folly for a Trump administration to sit back and ignore Africa and think of Africa in this old fashioned way as a place where there is nothing but lack.

This simply is no longer true in many instances. But it is the potential Africa has – due to its geopolitical position – for nuclear exploration and exploitation by (desperate) rivals of the United States that should be of the greatest concern to the new administration.

 

Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia, Loses the Election But Refuses to Concede His Rule

According to foreignpolicy.com, Gambia could be on the cusp of civil unrest and chaos following their elections where the incumbent, President Yahya Jammeh, lost to his challenger Adama Barrow. First, Mr Jammeh allegedly conceded the elections and promised a peaceful transfer of power but after sleeping on it, he changed his mind and decided to challenge the legitimacy of the result instead.

This is not the fault of hackers or of a rogue electoral college or even superdelegates or media or RUSSIA. The fault seems to rest with the president himself who is accused of being predictably unpredictable throughout his 22 year reign as president during which time he could be counted on to fire, sack and remove members of his government at the drop of a hat, and perhaps commit other types of questionable deeds.

Indeed, in order to challenge the results in the nation’s constitutional court – as he will need to do in order to continue to defy the election results – he will have to appoint four new justices since he was trigger happy with firing justices over the years.

Foreignpolicy.com

But as Jammeh tries to wiggle out of a resounding defeat in this month’s presidential election, the habit of keeping his government in a permanent state of reshuffle has come back to haunt him. Two weeks after he conceded defeat to Adama Barrow, a property developer who once worked as a security guard in Britain, the president had a sudden change of heart, vowing to challenge the election result before the country’s Supreme Court. But Jammeh had sacked so many Supreme Court justices over the last year that the body is legally unable to hear the case unless he appoints four new justices. And as the Gambia Bar Association pointed out in a Dec. 12 statement: “Any Supreme Court empanelled by the outgoing President Jammeh for the purpose of hearing his election petition would be fundamentally tainted.”

Who will intercede in Gambia if things reach the level of a state of emergency? The international community is itself experiencing its own problems and would seem ill equipped to help the Gambians if their leader, in a desperate attempt to hold on to his power, decided to suppress, extinguish or extra-judicially punish them for challenging his rule and authority. Certainly, in the US where the presidential elections are under scrutiny, president Trump would hardly seem inclined to intervene even after taking office (if he does) on January 20th.