United States has finally reached the end of a long Journey with Trump going down in the books of American history as one-term President. His challenger, Joe Biden has got the 273 electoral votes needed to form the next government.
The journey will determine how the United States would like in the next four years in the face of one of the deadliest global pandemics.
The turn-out in the polls which has been described as unprecedented in decades in the United States has ushered Joe Biden in the White House.
President Trump is yet to congratulate the President-elect, but high profile Republican politicians including former President George Bush have. Credible media reports have shown that President Trump is ready to file lawsuits and incite mass rallies in several American states.
Back home, a great many Sierra Leoneans have not reserved their opinions that President Julius Maada Bio will definitely tread the path of Trump’s one-term presidency.
The opinions, Many Sierra Leoneans say, trace their root to the style of governance employed by the ‘New Direction’ dispensation. Circumstances that account for the one-term presidency of Trump has generated one of the most controversial debates in the streets, churches, mosques, market centres as well as academic circles.
This article explores a chronology of policies and programmes that hallmark the presidencies of Trump and Bio in a modern world.
It is incontrovertible that Pres. Trump came to power in 2016 in the midst of marked controversies as mass votes were not in his favour.
However, votes by the Electoral College earned him a victory. As a cherished tradition in the Unites States that the vanquished always congratulates the victor, Mrs. Clinton congratulated Trump and called on her supporters to exercise patience and restraint to uphold the greatness of the United States.
Although Trump emerged victorious in that tightly contested election, he struggled very hard to enjoy the love and admiration of a great number of Americans. The bashing of Trump has direct linkage to how he conducted himself in the campaign period and after he became President.
For Many Americans, little or no difference exists between Trump in the campaign period and in the presidency. However, analysts say it is during the Presidency that Trump embarked on greater lengths in showcasing his negative side in what most referred to as a ruthless pursuit of policies that angers the world community of nations.
Trump’s behaviour in the presidency lends credence to the adage that the real character of a man is known when entrusted with power.
Once in the seat of presidency, analysts say, Trump’s campaign slogan of making America ‘Great Again’ became a mere rhetoric. The argument goes that his conduct did not portray the greatness of the Unites States, a nation that wears the crown of the most powerful on earth.
Trump is widely known for bullying weak speakers during debates and press conferences with his endless war with the media. On several occasions, Trump is on record to have made the most damaging remarks against the media in his fake news allegations.
The allegations, no doubt, caused a strained relationship between Trump and conventional media around the world including citizen journalists (social media users). Throughout his tenure as President, Trump hardly enjoyed favourite media publications and portrayals, a media bias that went a long way to cost him the presidency. One of the most preponderant arguments holds that an alleged Trump’s collusion with Russia to interfere with the November, 2016 elections was the most tragic flaw.
The conviction that the alleged collusion lowered US status and dignity in the eyes of the international community made way for an investigation that would have resulted into an impeachment.
But, it appeared as if the authorities were poised preserve the peace and great democratic values of the United States, put a hold on the investigation and waited for the polls.
Indeed, the people of the United States have spoken loudly through the ballot box and their voices for change are appealing. As a result of those voices, Pres. Trump has only months more to stay in the White House.
Another disastrous move embarked upon by the Trump administration was the ‘American First Policy’ that seeks to completely isolate the United from the global community. It is the pursuit of this policy that set the stage for radical steps taken by Trump with hopes for successes.
A number of spend cuts and removal of America from inter-governmental organisations where America was manifesting her greatness was a direct consequence of Trump’s ‘American First’ policy.
The US trade war with China also adds another chapter of economic problems to the US economy in the face of a deadly and devastating virus. Stoppage of funding for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, funding cut for the World Health Organisation, and sustained waves of mass deportations of foreigners seeking fortunes in the US also traced their root to the philosophy of ‘American First.’
The policy, no gainsaying, considerably contributed to the high level of hatred directed at Trump by the US and other countries considering the strategic nature of America in global politics.
The policy, at one time, has been serious criticised by former President Bush Jr. as “hyper-nationalist.”
The Brutal murder of a black American, George Floyd by US police with impunity was an act that generated riots that reminded America of the 1967 widespread civil disorders by the black community in the US.
Arguably, Trump’s greatest blunder has to do with the manner in which he handled the Coronavirus pandemic which, records says, has claimed the lives of over 200, 000 Americans, the highest number anywhere in the world. An indicator of great negligence in the campaign against the deadly virus was markedly visible when Trump himself contracted it.
Signs of the virus receding in coming weeks or months are not yet clear, but, most likely, a Biden presidency may turn situation in favour of the Americans. The list of flaws that characterised the Trump presidency cannot be exhausted, but three must be great lessons for any US President.
The alleged Trump and Russian Collusion, philosophy of ‘America First’ and the perceived mishandling of the Coronavirus are significant factors that stole the elections from the Republicans. Like Trump, President Julius Maada Bio came to power in one of the hotly contested elections in the country’s history.
How President Bio controversially navigated the political terrain to stay at the helm of state governance continues to be one of the popular questions among Sierra Leoneans.
The week that followed the announcement of Bio’s presidency was marked by indiscriminate and unprecedented levels of violence, thuggery and incivility in Sierra Leone. Former government officials were targeted as well as judicial officers by youths who quickly haphazardly constituted themselves into disorganized bands for a brutal exercise code-named: ‘Operation Recover Stolen Assets.’
The President, Vice President and their deputies who once served the state as humble servants were branded as thieves as a way of justifying violence against them.
Ambassadors, high commissioners, consuls and principal representatives of Sierra Leone abroad were disgracefully kicked out from their offices leaving many to strand in foreign land.
It was a naked breach of recognised and esteemed diplomatic protocols. In stabilizing and consolidating power, Commissions of Inquiry (COI) which seemingly did not win the hearts of a majority of Sierra Leoneans was controversially set up to investigate officials of the former government.
The absence of rules of evidence to regulate proceedings of the COI as provided by section 150 of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone became the basis for which officials say is “kangaroo-styled.”
While government said it would coerce persons of interest to appear, the main opposition promised to put up the stiffest resistance saying “it would not bow to illegality.”
The stand-off was halted by Justice Biobele Georgewill who saw it necessary not to compel attendance of persons of interest.
The chaos that broke out in parliament in 2018 in parliament immediately President Bio came to power was one that deserves a particular mention. Opposition parliamentarians were physically assaulted by security operatives, and 10 were subsequently permanently removed from parliament through petitions.
The physical assault of opposition parliamentarians was a violent act described as the first in the political existence of Sierra Leone.
The act was also widely seen as another flaw on the part of government.
Intermittent waves of brutal killings have also caused resentment and anger against government, and the actions continue to dampen the ruling party’s popularity. The shooting dead of a villager by armed police officers, killings of defenceless and vulnerable prisoners at the country’s central correctional facility and most recently the shooting dead of six people in the eastern regional headquarters of Makeni, home of the former President Koroma are factors that constitute the most fatal flaw.
Widespread economic hardship brought about by low investment and closure of businesses especially mining companies also seriously hunts the government. Hundreds of civil and public servants who were forced to illegally lay down tools continues to nurse and nurture the heaviest grudge they are determined to vent out in the polls. Three factors must also not be ruled out in the coming elections: the killings, dismissals and a weak economy.
Despite the weaknesses, Presidents Trump and Bio recorded major achievements. Trump’s major achievement was the non-aggression against other states like other American Presidents.
Invariably, President Bio’s key achievement is seen in his quest to educate the children of Sierra Leone through the pronouncement of the Free Quality Education. It however goes without saying that if government fails to address the three important issues, the second coming of President Bio remains a big question mark.