Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 February 2019

African expats in UAE voice strong support for Clinton

Africans living in the UAE believe that Democrats have been friendly towards Africa and believe Hillary Clinton to be a choice of stability.
Peter Babangida Oyelere, a Nigerian living in Al Ain, is an associate professor of accounting at United Arab Emirates University. Christopher Pike / The National
Peter Babangida Oyelere, a Nigerian living in Al Ain, is an associate professor of accounting at United Arab Emirates University. Christopher Pike / The National

This is the fifth in a daily series that explores how expats from around the world feel ahead of the US presidential election on November 8. We have spoken to people from Latin America, South Asia, Africa and East Asia. Next we talk to people from Russia and countries in central Asia.

ABU DHABI // Africans in the UAE have voiced their strong support for Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election, saying her presidency would maintain global stability and benefit their countries.

“I have a lot of respect for the outgoing government and I wouldn’t mind its continuation of that policy in terms of the stability the US brings to the world,” said Peter Oyelere, a Nigerian living in Al Ain.

He said Africa would benefit from a Hillary Clinton presidency, as opposed that offered by Republican Donald Trump.

“I think Democrats are generally Africa-friendly. They are closer to us in terms of the main issues that concern Africa, even from the days of Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton,” Mr Oyelere said.

“Republicans are generally hard-nosed and I wouldn’t say Trump is a Republican as such but Africans have less to benefit from him.”

He believed that Mrs Clinton had travelled abroad and understood other countries, knowing there are no easy answers to challenges around the world.

“The most important thing in my opinion is continuity. Africa has very little to benefit from instability in a global perspective,” said Mr Oyelere.

“When the US is busy elsewhere, Africa loses, so I would like a situation where the world is stable so issues in Africa can be dealt with.”

For Simon Smith, a 34-year-old South African in Dubai, Mrs Clinton’s experience in world politics is unparalleled.

“She was the first lady for four years and worked for national security, so I trust her more than someone with zero experience in government, and especially with national policies and interaction with people outside US borders,” he said.

“I think Trump is an idiot, to be honest. Being South African, prior to the liberation, I feel every vote does count and people should vote but not for Trump. He’s a racist and has this ideology of white supremacy.”

He thinks that president Barack Obama’s performance will be difficult to match.

“People don’t understand how much it was for him to win an election for African Americans and people of colour in a white-dominated country,” Mr Smith said.

Charles Wandia, from Kenya, also would vote for Mrs Clinton.

“Women have been seen as not able to lead for decades. Looking at Clinton’s ability and policy, it is a sign of good leadership,” he said.

He saw Mr Trump’s campaign as extremely negative regarding foreign policy and freedom of worship, by sidelining Muslims.

“His public speech is not worthy of a leader. Thus, in this race, he is outright defeated,” Mr Wandia said.

Nigerian Zakaria U agreed, calling Mrs Clinton a “top-class diplomat”. Mr Trump’s foreign policy was a big concern for the Nigerian, who believed Mrs Clinton works on building allies.

“She has the experience spanning over 30 years and I think she has a wider perspective of global events more than Trump,” he said. “As a businessman, he only thinks about his personal interest.”

But Mohammed Z, from Sudan, said if he had the choice, he would not vote for either.

He believed that former president Bill Clinton had bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory in 1998 “to deter attention from his scandal with Monica Lewinsky”.

At the time, the White House had said the plant had been used to process a nerve agent, but US news reports said that officials later acknowledged that the evidence was less clear-cut than portrayed.

With Mr Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, however, the choice would be tough, Mohammed said.

“I think more than anything, Sudan wants stability in Libya and Egypt, and will go for whoever would provide that,” he said.


Updated: November 4, 2016 04:00 AM