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U.S House Fight Unhelpful for Africa Democracy - Analysts


FILE - Morning breaks over the U.S. Capitol dome on the first day of the new Congress, in Washington on Jan. 03, 2023.

Analysts say a recent fight over U.S. House leadership not only shows that democracy is unsettled in a country that has for centuries preached democratic tenets, and also could likely threaten democracy in fragile continents like Africa.

''Recent political happenings in the U.S. point to very disturbing cracks, especially within the rank and file of the political elites,'' Adib Saani, an Accra-based foreign policy analyst told the VOA.

''The U.S. is a cradle of democracy and as an emerging democracy, a country, for example, like Ghana looks up to the U.S. and its democratic practices, not just Ghana, but a number of countries in Africa,'' he said.

The analysts said as a bastion of democracy, the long road to elect Republican Representative of California Kevin McCarthy as Speaker on Jan. 7 at the 15th round of votes - a historic one since 1859, has far reaching implications for Africa that has for long studied and learned from U.S. politicking.

''The holdup got a lot of African politicians confused about what is going on because if this is the country you look up to and if politics is done in this manner in which a whole government was brought to a halt, then you can imagine whether if similar things happen in Africa, anyone can hold us to account?''

Saani said the deadlock was ''quite disappointing for the ordinary lawmaker in Africa'' considering how impactful the U.S Congress is to Africans through development aid and support.

''Even though the stalemate has been broken, it still leaves some scars and now people watch American politics with a bit of skepticism, whether really it is what we seek to achieve,'' he said noting that ''whatever happens in the US has the probability of being replicated in other countries.''

Javas Bigambo, a lawyer and governance expert at Nairobi-based Interthoughts Consulting told VOA that election denialism, the Jan. 6 2020 Capitol Hill attack, coupled with a new breed of leaders is testament to the fact that ''democracy is facing clear and novel challenges in the U.S.''

''As a matter of fact the African continent has learned and admired the democratic practice in America, and so the development that took place last week in the U.S. has left a bad taste in the mouth,'' he said.

''Democracy in the US is actually on trial - ideologically and practically. And even the manner in which now new generations of leaders are emerging from the shadows to test the strength of the fabric of American democracy.''

Bigambo suggested a thorough interrogation into events leading up to the deadlock that could serve as a benchmark for African lawmakers.

''Various political players here in Kenya, and even across the African continent will find themselves accepting the recalcitrance that has been and continues to be evident within the American democratic fabric,'' Bigambo said adding ''and that in itself may start breeding new seeds of that kind of inclination within the democratic processes in Kenya.''

He also said he would not be surprised if the holdup in the U.S Congress does not replicate itself in some African legislatures where there have been hung parliaments in time past.

''The manner in which leaders are taking various ideological standpoints by way of internal or external influence from parliament itself is going to be learning points for various politicians in Africa,'' he said.

''And to that extent then I would say that they would be learning bad manners from a country such as America where good manners in democracy would have been expected.''

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