/ 1 October 2020

The African Union’s (un)official statement on the US elections


It might be time for Africa to intervene. After all, we know a thing or two about defending democracy from despots. The following piece is satire.

The African Union (AU) remains concerned about the worrying political developments in the United States of America and has in recent months involved itself in the assessment of the forthcoming presidential elections, especially its implication for global peace and economic activities.

The AU is an institution that is built on the fundamentals of liberal democratic values and good governance. The institution has for several years been involved in many activities aimed at bringing peace, security and good governance to troubled nation states.

The AU is, therefore, disturbed by the statements of the incumbent US President, Mr Donald J Trump, on the possibility of electoral fraud during the forthcoming presidential election in November. To this effect, he has expressed the possibility he may reject the election result. As demonstrated by the AU’s intervention efforts in many troubled spots across Africa, electoral fraud is an issue upon which the AU frowns. This concern also extends beyond the frontiers of our great continent.

In this respect, the AU has decided to intervene in this matter, to ensure that there is peace and order during and after the forthcoming elections. The continuing fragility of the US political environment endangers global peace and security, and the possibility of violent election-related conflict could lead to a sharp upsurge of US citizens seeking refuge in neighbouring Canada and Mexico, and other parts of the globe. 

Therefore, our intervention is predicated on a few factors. Firstly, the African-American population is recognised as part of Africa’s diaspora, and as such, we are responsible for their safety and wellbeing in the case of any election-related violence. Secondly, as part of the global community, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is global peace and stability. Lastly, we are inspired by the way in which US commentariats and institutions (both public and private) provide assessments on the quality and acceptability of African elections, thereby making it imperative that we do the same when similar conditions exist in the US, and any other part of the globe. 

Considering the above reasons, the AU has taken the following decisions:

  1. A committee of heads of states and governments has been set up to assess Mr Trump’s claims. The committee is headed by our fathers, HE Mr Paul Biya (Cameroon) and HE Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea). As the longest-serving heads of state in Africa, both leaders bring a wealth of experience in dealing with electoral matters. They will be assisted by other eminent presidents such as HE Mr Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), HE Mr Paul Kagame (Rwanda), HE Mr Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (Egypt), and HE Field Marshal Idriss Déby Itno (Chad). The members of this committee have impressive military backgrounds and have recorded landslide victories in all the elections in which they have participated. 
  2. This committee will establish an AU election monitoring group, to be deployed to the US with immediate effect. The election monitoring group will meet with all concerned parties of the US political establishment to identify the remote and immediate causes of the current wrangling.
  3. Should the US government refuse to allow the observer group to enter the country, the AU will not hesitate to trigger the following measures:
  • Refuse to accept any US aid, including contributions to the AU budget. We would also enjoin our member states to stop receiving financial contributions from the US;
  • Institute economic sanctions against the US, and further instruct AU member states that are currently engaged in bilateral trade negotiations with the US to halt activities in this respect;
  • Refuse to recognise the “winner” of the November elections, and enjoin our member states to recall their diplomatic staff stationed in the US;
  • Issue a serious travel warning directive to African citizens intending to visit the US;
  • Enjoin our African-American brothers and sisters to come back home and take up African citizenship;
  • Place visa restrictions on any US citizens involved in potential electoral fraud;
  • Ask the United Nations Security Council to refer any US citizen involved in election-related violence to the International Criminal Court (ICC);
  • And, depending on the severity of the situation, invoke Article 4(h) of the AU Constitutive Act which gives the AU the right to intervene to protect the civilian population (especially, in this case, our diaspora population).

In the interim, the AU has directed all African embassies to open their doors to anyone or groups displaced by activities emanating from electoral disputes. The committee will in the next few days announce measures for raising funds and materials for this initiative.

In conclusion, the AU implores the US government to allow the AU to fulfil its task as a member of the global community.

We await positive feedback from the US government in this regard.

Babatunde Fagbayibo is a professor of international law at the University of South Africa.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Mail & Guardian.