Jean-Jacques Cornish

Trump behaves like a brazen African dictator

Invited by the U.S. Embassy to watch the results of the 2008 election, I was thrilled to see Americans elect Barak Obama, their first black President.

I was also deeply irritated to have a U.S. official point out that the result has been  accepted without any last-minute deals to keep the peace.

He was referring to seats given to the Inkatha Freedom Party to prevent bloodshed in KwaZulu/Natal 14 years earlier and to other post-election deals in Africa.

How the didactic have fallen!

A dozen years since the official’s irksome lecture we have the incumbent of the White House behaving exactly like a brazen African dictator.

Donald Trump has prematurely claimed victory and urged electoral officials to stop counting votes in states he  believes he is winning and to keep counting ballots where he fears he is losing.

Trump has gathered lawyers to keep the election results tied up in the courts.

He is hoping to be heard in the pinnacle tribunal to which he has appointed conservative justices hoping to get a sympathetic hearing.

He has taken a leaf from the African dictators’ handbook and deliberately left his compatriots wondering whether he will accept the election result.

Legal experts point out that in the unlikely event of  his case coming before the Supreme Court, the justices are painfully  aware that their credibility is at stake and  will make a decision on its merits.

They will not be swayed by loyalty to the man who put them there.

Trump’s single-minded pursuit of his self interest blinds him to long term damage he might be doing to American democracy.

A happier African example will come into play here if the Supreme Court behaves like the judiciary did in apartheid South Africa and saves the country from its cynical, selfish and misguided politicians.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.