By Ofwono Opondo
With three weeks left to the November, 08, 2016 United States (US) presidential elections, it seems from all pointers that former First Lady, New York Senator, and Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton will be elected the first female president of the US, which should be a good thing for the world. Clinton’s election, if it happens, coming on the heels of that of Theresa May as British prime minister following the fall of David Cameron with the Brexit, and the firm grip Chancellor Angela Markel is holding in Germany should send women around the world boasting.
Back, in Africa, at the African Union (AU), the name of Kenya’s current foreign minister Amina Mohamed has been put forward to replace South Africa’s Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma as chairperson, and then we may say that girl power is truly on the rise, and perhaps unstoppable. The US, by its sheer economic and military muscle, through bilateral relations, and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) dominates and sometimes disorganizes the world, and so it becomes necessary for us in our small corners of the world to care about who becomes its president. President Barrack Obama has made the US less threatening to the world, reconciliation possible with Cuba, and Iran, less new wars, especially with Russia or China, policies which many think Mrs. Clinton may continue. All these trends are good for world stability, security, freedoms and prosperity.
With Republican nominee Donald J. Trump of MAGA (Make America Great Again) increasingly looking like a lame-duck and ever falling on his own swords, Americans must redeem the name and glory of their democracy. From what he has publicly said, most of them naked threats, it is hard not to imagine Trump taking the world back to the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush days of constant tension with rest of the world including small nations. What was initially seen as a neck-and- neck race is beginning to look like a blow out with all major opinion polls released over the last one month, including this week showing Mrs. Clinton leading by between 6-11 percentage points and it is hard to see how Donald J. Trump recovers. It is being reported that early voting also suggest that Mrs. Clinton is edging Trump, as women, Blacks and minorities are keen to see off Trump. But, like in our own case here with Dr Kizza Besigye over the last four election circles, desperate times calls for desperate measures, and the men trailing will never go down quietly. They kick hard to the last day, sometimes even beyond.
And like in almost every election around the world, everyone has an opinion in which candidate is going to win, including astrologers, which reminds me of our own elections here years back when a born-again pastor predicted wins, and even a death of a presidential candidate which never was, and that ‘born-again’ Pastor still moves with his head high!
It is hard to imagine how Trump lives in his own world, disputing every finding and boasting as he goes far low down the drain attacking in the most base terms whoever doesn’t agree with either is policy positions, character or style. Watching the second debate, it was hard to believe that candidate Trump made it appear as if he was running against former president Bill Clinton and rationalizing his own transgressions as if two wrongs make a right! It was good seeing Mrs. Clinton leaving Trump lying in the sewers where he had taken himself and not honoring his with a response.
In Uganda’s case, the beauty has been that Besigye not only lost the presidency miserably, but also the parliament where his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has never gone beyond twelve percent, and worse Local Councils, although he continues to make so much noise whose value is hard to evaluate. In the present tenth parliament, FDC has just 26 MPs out of 431 which are only 8.35%, however hearing them boast, one may think it enjoys an overwhelming majority.
However, Mrs. Clinton’s win and tenure in the Oval office is certain to be blighted if the Republicans keep their majority in Congress as she will have to negotiate with an angry opposition in which the loudest voices are likely to continue with the obstructionism they have perfected over the last six year of President Barrack Obama. And Republicans will be sulking at being kept out of the White House for three consecutive terms, at the very least, and so won’t take that lying down without a fist-fight that could leave political blood flowing. Many pundits believe that Trump has belched out all the nasty things he had up his sleeves in this campaign, and so has no new surprises. But, in the most unlikely event that Trump turns the remaining one joint presidential debate with Mrs. Clinton on October 19, 20116, and rallying the undecided voters to his favour, the world hopes that American system shall keep him in check.