NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s racist and vulgar remarks on Africa at a White House meeting on immigration on Thursday has elicited fierce rebukes from Kenyans.
Trump reportedly described the Caribbean nation of Haiti and unspecified African countries in disparaging terms during a discussion with lawmakers on protection of immigrants.
Mainstream American media reported that Trump called Haiti and unnamed African countries “shitholes” and urged tougher measures to bar their natives from migrating to the United States.
The racially tinged expletives from the American leader triggered a volley of condemnation from the African Union, governments and ordinary citizens in Africa.
A statement released on Saturday by the 54-member African Union rebuked the racist comments by Trump and demanded a swift apology to avert a diplomatic fallout between Washington and the world’s second largest continent.
Kenyans joined people from the rest of Africa in condemning Trump’s demeaning remarks even as he denied ever saying anything derogatory in front of lawmakers.
Kenya’s second largest newspaper, The Standard, on Saturday carried an editorial which condemned Trump’s inflammatory ranting that could hurt global trade and diplomacy.
“While it can be argued that Trump’s toxic language and twitter rants towards his domestic opponents is not criminal because they are on opposing sides, it is wrong to imply that some developing countries more so those from Africa are in such worse state that they deserve such a derogatory moniker,” read the editorial.
The editorial noted that Trump’s erratic behavior and penchant to burn bridges could hurt relations with bilateral partners like Kenya which America needs to secure market for its manufactured goods alongside the fight against terrorism.
Kenyan experts on international relations, campaigners and social media influencers were united in their condemnation of Trump’s remarks about Haiti and African countries.
Martin Nguru, a Nairobi-based diplomacy scholar regretted that Trump had demonstrated an appalling disregard for civility and decency that underpins foreign relations.
“He is a very controversial man and his careless statements regarding other people and their countries only risk driving a wedge between America and its foreign partners,” said Nguru.
He added that Trump is ill-equipped to navigate the tricky world of diplomacy given his propensity to sow chaos and confusion through unfiltered statements.
“I would say he lacks credentials to manage diplomatic matters not just with Africa but also with the rest of the world,” Nguru remarked.
Boniface Mwangi, a Nairobi-based rights campaigner, joined a growing army of Kenyans who rebuked Trump’s remarks about African countries.
“Africa is not a shithole. It is the most beautiful continent in the world. Beautiful, hardworking people. We have diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum, cocoa, coffee etc,” Mwangi said.
Ibrahim Farah, head of a Nairobi-based think tank called Somalia Academy, blamed Trump’s advisors and core supporters for escalating his darker impulses that threaten global peace and cordial relations.
“It is his advisors to blame for the disparaging remarks about Haiti and Africa and such racist remarks will hurt U.S.-Africa relations,” Farah told Xinhua.
Other Kenyans who condemned Trump’s unflattering description of Africa includes Bernard Lagat, an elite runner who competes in major races around the world.
“I’m a proud son of the shining continent called Africa. My heritage is deeply rooted in my Kenyan roots. Africa is NO shithole, Mr. Trump,” Lagat tweeted.
His sentiments were shared by thousands of Kenyans in Diaspora who disavowed warped description of their continent by the American leader.