Says African Institutions Must Learn From US Counterparts
Following the inauguration of the 46th Presidency of the United States today, the Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) has felicitated with President Joe Biden and Vice President, Kamala Harris.
The group however called for the restoration of multilateralism by the new administration of Joe Biden.
This was contained in a statement by the group Executive Director, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
“The historic character of the Biden-Harris administration will be found in the fact that for the first time, a woman has been elected, and sworn in as Vice President of the bastion of world democracy.
“Despite the many untoward developments in the last four years of the Donald Trump Presidency, which called to question the fate of democracy in the United States, it is heartwarming that peace-loving Americans can finally turn the page on what could be considered as one of the darkest points in their history.
“CHRICED salutes all the critical US national institutions, which showcased the fact that democracy is indeed the “government of the people, for the people and by the people.” These institutions achieved this feat by rising on several occasions to preserve the sanctity of the democratic process despite the onslaught of desperate political actors who engaged in peddling misinformation and the so-called alternative facts.
“Although, the United States is not perfect as a country, its stated ideals of democratic decision making, rule of law, respect for human rights, and entrenchment of social justice, confer on it the exemplary status of the “shining city upon a hill.” Even with all its flaws, the ideals which the United States has committed itself to promote across the world, have inspired pro-democracy struggles in other parts of the world, especially in Africa. As a matter of fact, the United States remains the reference point to which many oppressed people in the world look for encouragement and inspiration.
“It was therefore strange that in the last four years, the Trump administration used the high office of the US Presidency to give vent to unbridled racism, hate, xenophobia and sexism. The coarseness of Trump’s public communication, seriously undermined multilateral cooperation despite the prevalence of threats to global peace and security.
“In place of solidarity and international cooperation on key issues of global concerns, the Trump administration made the bizarre choice of retreating from the global stage. On the key global concerns like climate change, worsening economic inequality, and the global public health crisis as exemplified by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration preferred isolation instead of cooperation.
“Worse still, President Trump’s harsh, acerbic and very denigrating rhetoric emboldened despots and dictators especially in Africa to justify wrong doings against their own people.
“A ready example is the recent Presidential election in Uganda, which was lacking in the minimum standards for credible polls. CHRICED is also of the view that the racially-motivated tension, the incitement of insurrection, the storming of the Capitol building by right wing extremists and the other forms of violent conduct which trailed the United States 2020 elections, and beclouded the build up to the inauguration, will be repeatedly referenced by sit tight leaders and anti-democratic forces on the African continent.
“Notwithstanding the worrisome legacy of the Trump Presidency on the democratic ethos across the globe, especially on the African continent, CHRICED is optimistic that the Biden-Harris administration will work to urgently address the damage done. It is therefore commendable that the Biden administration would immediately reverse the exit of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, just as the discriminatory travel bans imposed by the Trump administration to target a specific religious group will be rescinded.
“CHRICED also calls on the Biden-Harris administration to strategically engage with Africa to salvage faith in democracy, respect for human rights, free speech, and the rule of law. For instance, CHRICED notes that as Presidential candidate, Biden weighed in on the issue of killings and abuse of the rights of #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria. With the weight and the influence of the US Presidency, CHRICED believes there is a lot more that the Biden-Harris administration can do to pressure the authorities in Nigeria and other African countries to ensure they respect, promote and protect the rights of all citizens.
“Finally, CHRICED hopes leaders of institutions critical to the success of democracy in Nigeria as well as other parts of Africa would pick up valuable lessons from the recent experience in the United States. Worthy of note is the judiciary, which in spite of pressure from desperate politicians remained firm and resolute in defending the supremacy of the votes of the electorate.
“CHRICED therefore calls on individuals and institutions in Nigeria as well as those in other parts of the globe still struggling to institute real democracy to pick the valuable lessons from the example of how US democracy triumphed, despite the clear and present dangers it was faced with.”