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Photo News: President Trump and five African leaders

6 October 2018 at 20:50 | 1514 views

Contributed

Leaders of five post-conflict African countries - four of them being members of the Mano River Union - never left the territory of America where they came for the UN General Assembly this year without having a photo opportunity with the American President Donald J. Trump and his wife Melania Trump.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio and wife (see photo#1), Ivorian President Alhassane Ouatarra and his wife (see photo # 2), Liberian President George Weah and his wife (see photo #4) and Rwandan President Paul Kagame (see photo #5) all stood at the same point at different times to show the world that they were with the world’s most powerful leader.

Among all five photos in the image that accompanies this post, only President Alpha Conde of Guinea (see photo #3) was photographed without his wife. This omission played into the hands of the anti-Conde opposition in Guinea.

As for Liberia and Sierra Leone, the opposition to Bio and Weah said the photos were fake, implying that their presidents are too ’inferior’ to pose with an, by implication, ’superior’ American president which calls into question how low and petty the opposition can go in trading ESSENTIAL bread-and-butter issues for TRIVIAL ones.

In the ensuing arguments across the Liberian and Sierra Leonean social media networks, the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Kagame (see photo #5) came up only to be used as the authentic one which is interesting.

Lastly, the Ivorian opposition has so far said nothing about President Ouattarra’s photo with Trump. It matters less not only because it has nothing to do with the basic needs of the Ivorian people, but also because a Ouattaran photo with any world leader as a former executive of the IMF was as routine before he became president as it is routine now as president.

But such a ’routine’ is not always a political advantage. In fact, in the mindset of the pro-Gbagbo socialist line toeing opposition media in the Ivory Coast, being as elitist as Ouattara with ties to the IMF (regardless of how prestigious this may be) is regarded more as political liability for a president than a political asset.

But in Sierra Leone and Liberia, showing one’s ELITIST credentials is a big deal and the deal does not make the common man or woman who is concerned about the deal less hungry. Above all, the deal is about a mentality that present and future leaders in the two poorest post-War plus post-Ebola countries must deal with.

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