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.