The time I was filing this article over 90 million Americans had cast their ballots in November 3 landmark election in the United States.
The outcome of that election will have significant impact on the world. Remember when America sneezes the world catches the cold.
Malawi, which used to lean towards China, looks to have shifted more towards the West in most of its recent policies since Peter Mutharika, a darling of China was booted out of power.
The new President Lazarus Mc Carthy Chakwera, who was educated in the US, leans both in policy and accent—towards America. His firm stand to open a consulate in Jerusalem cements my view. Only US’s Donald Trump has so far done so.
And after inking yet another multi-million dollar development compact with the US’s independent firm, Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Malawi cannot look for a better friend than the US.
Apart from the United States pushing for economic and political stability in the country for many years, the country has a long-standing and close military-to-military relationship with Malawi, including supporting Malawi Defence Force UN Peacekeeping Operations.
Malawi is also one of few poor countries eligible for preferential trade benefits under the US’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
While US investment is modest in Malawi, it’s firms have stakes in the agriculture, leisure and tourism, retail, and power sectors.
With so much goodwill coming from the people of the US through their development arm USAid and many other agencies and organisations, we on the streets, can only wish the US well in this election period.
Since Trump took office in early 2017, the US is no longer the same. The country has experienced an erosion of democracy and witnessed the unfolding of authoritarian leadership—something that’s typical in Africa.
Trump also does not hold constitutional safeguards in high esteem. The last three months have been particularly eye-opening, with Americans denied the right to peaceful protest, brutalised by the police.
The president has actively undermined the credibility of the US voting system, leading to speculation that he might refuse to leave office should he lose the election.
Hence, Tuesday’s election is a referendum on a president who has mainstreamed far-right extremism and pursued a foreign policy built on transactional alliances with murderous despots around the world.
As earlier said, Trump has repeatedly signaled that he might refuse to concede defeat, and many worry that he will foment political violence if the outcome doesn’t go his way.
The mere possibility of these scenarios is symptomatic of a degraded democratic political climate, and clear evidence of how far Trump’s authoritarian remaking of American political culture has already advanced.
In Joe Biden some Malawians see a true democrat who might steer America back on a democratic path. And in Trump, a racist and a man who stands with dictatorial States and not poor African people.
That said we all must prepare for the worst even though we hope for the best. Whoever has won has the world’s support.
We, on the streets, wish America well.