Africa’s continental leadership body has reacted with anger to the US president’s crude remarks about African countries.
The African Union Mission in Washington DC has condemned Donald Trump’s derogatory statements allegedly made about Africa and Haiti.
In a statement released on Friday, the mission expressed its disappointment in the president of the United States and demanded a ‘retraction of the comment’ and an ‘apology to Africans’.
‘‘The African Union Mission condemns the comments in the strongest terms and demands a retraction of the comment as well as an apology to not only the Africans but to all people of African descent around the globe,’‘ reads the statement.
Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, had earlier told AFP that Trump’s statement “truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice.”
According to the statement, ‘the African Union strongly believes there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current administration’ and that ‘there is a serious need for dialogue between the US administration and African countries’.
President Trump is reported to have called African countries and Haiti ‘shithole countries’ while discussing immigration with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House.
Trump is quoted to have said: “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.”
Trump has since denied using such vulgar language, tweeting that ‘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!’
The denial followed a backlash from African leaders, American politicians from both the ruling Republican party and the Democratic Party and Africans who used social media to mock Trump with positive images of their ‘shithole countries’.
“Africans and Haitians come from ‘shithole’ countries? Isn’t Trump demonstrating that he’s nothing but a racist and pursuing a policy of ‘Make America White Again’? I congratulate Botswana for showing the way. Our AU Presidents must respond strongly to this insult,” former President John Mahama of Ghana said in a tweet.
Senegalese President Macky Sall said he was stunned by Trump’s remarks.
“I am shocked by President Trump’s statements on Haiti and Africa. I reject and condemn them vigorously. Africa and the black race deserve the respect and consideration of everyone,” Sall said in a tweet.
Botswana’s government was the first on the continent to condemn Trump’s statements, referring to them as “highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”
Botswana summoned the U.S. ambassador to express its displeasure over the remarks and to inquire as to whether Botswana was a “shithole country”:
“The government of Botswana is wondering why President Trump must use this descriptor and derogatory word when talking about countries with whom the U.S. has had cordial and mutually beneficial relations for so many years.”
Adira Kallo with agency reports