Africans are having fun mocking the US presidential campaign with a dose of self-aware irony

“If I were president, you’d be in jail.”
“If I were president, you’d be in jail.”
Image: Reuters/Jim Young
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Like pretty much everyone else, Africans are keenly following the build up to the US elections. But even though the elections are still weeks away, Africans have taken to social media to offer an alternate version of events that might occur if the elections were held in an African country. Using the hashtag #Nov8AfricanEdition, Twitter users around the continent and others are offering tongue-in-cheek examples of the aftermath of the election if the United States was an African country.

In an electoral season when standards have dropped incredibly low, Africans have been afforded a chance to mock America’s seemingly exemplar democracy. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has consistently undermined the electoral system with claims of voter fraud and has threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail if elected. As Trevor Noah, the South African host of The Daily Show, has pointed out very early on, Trump has sounded like an African dictator.

But the tweets also reveal the pervasive flaws in African elections. In the last 18 months, violence has broken out in DR Congo and Burundi as leaders have sought to extend their stay in power. Elsewhere, in Uganda, political opponents have been arrested for protesting electoral malpractice amid elections while social media was banned under the pretext of national security.

As Quartz has reported, an Afrobarometer study recently put in context the discontent most Africans have with electoral systems and commissions on the continent.

The results also showed an overall dismal view of electioneering: where opposition parties and candidates are prevented from campaigning, rampant bribery exists, and where voting doesn’t necessarily equate with electing leaders who are accountable or representative of people’s views.

While it clearly provided comic relief, the #Nov8AfricanEdition Twitter trend also served to a sobering reminder that in some parts of the world, Africa’s reality can only be considered highly improbable satire.