Global Voices

Africans ‘School’ US President on Good Governance After ‘Shithole’ Comment Sparks Global Outrage

"Yes, Africa [has] problems. We don't dispute it. But name calling & outright disrespect by the very nation that has stripped off its resources for years is totally crossing it."

African leaders at the 4th High-Level Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction. Photo by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

On Thursday, January 11, United States (US) president Donald Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries as a “shithole” during a bi-partisan meeting on immigration at the Oval Office in Washington D.C. (US). According to lawmakers at the meeting, Trump said:

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?

The US president's undignified comment immediately sparked international condemnation, including surprisingly humorous reactions from African netizens who used Trump's ‘shithole’ remark as an opportunity to air grievances on the lack of good governance in many of their respective African countries.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights described the statement as “racist:”

These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. There is no other word one can use but ‘racist’… You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome…It’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia that will potentially disrupt and destroy lives of many people.

The Botswana government “summoned the US ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by President of the US, Donald Trump:”

Trump tried to reduce the impact of his comment by denying it, stating it was “made up by Dems [Democrats]”:

African netizens took no time reacting to Trump's comments. Although not justifying it, some assert that Trump's statement is an indictment against the governments of many African nations:

James Proper, Ugandan contributor to Global Voices said:

The same sentiments were expressed by Ugo Agbaji, a Nigerian:

Kenyan netizen Daniel Makaya lampooned corruption and inept leaders in Africa:

Nigerian Kelvin Odanz was blunt:

Fellow Nigerian Onye Nkuzi's tweet refers to the lack of justice in Nigeria for people murdered by herdsmen on New Years Day in Benue State:

Steve Biko blamed Africa's tribal politics:

Ghanaian Seraphic Herbsman advised Africans to save their outrage and work toward “turning our situation around:”

However, some Africans were infuriated by Trump's comments. Ms. Nawande boldly states that “Trump is a shithole president:”

Nyaguthii wa Muriuki comments on American ignorance of Africa:

And Didi Angela reminded the world once again that Africa is a continent, not a country:

Gege, a Nigerian based in the United Kingdom, schooled the United States president to uphold the dignity of his office:

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