Boris Johnson: Does Africa Shrug or Smile

Boris Johnson: Does Africa Shrug or Smile

As it is known for a few weeks now, Theresa May has stepped down from being the UK Prime Minister following the shambolic negotiations with the EU in regards to the upcoming Brexit. It also came as no surprise to most I “in the know” that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (or Boris as widely known in the UK), the former Mayor of London took her place in a shift Conservative election.

The former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary succeeded Theresa May as the U.K’s next Prime Minister. Johnson on Tuesday (July 23) having been elected the new Conservative leader in a ballot of party members.

All of this of course is no reason for a news item (that has already been extensively covered by all media outlets worldwide), but nonetheless, his expected attitude and policies towards Africa as a continent are.

Boris is no stranger to creating conflict or a Buzz (his image is not the only thing similar between him and Donald Trump, the USA president) and has generated some buzz on social media relative to his past pronouncements about Africa. Boris visited Africa a number of times as leader of UK foreign policy going to places such as Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria and Kenya up until 2018.

So let’s have a look at some of Boris’ unlucky and controversial quotes that have caused a stir throughout the years:

January 2002

‘‘The Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.’‘ The Daily Telegraph, January 2002.

February 2002:

‘‘The best fate for Africa would be if the old colonial powers, or their citizens, scrambled once again in her direction; on the understanding that this time they will not be asked to feel guilty.’‘ The Sun.

April 2002:

‘‘Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.’‘ The Spectator.

October 2017:

Johnson, who has offended some allies with flippant remarks, told Conservative Party members that:

“They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai. The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there.” Claiming in October 2017 that Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors if they could clear the bodies.

August 2018:

“There is no government authority who runs the country and there are large parts of it where there is no government at all.” August 2018 interview with the BBC.

February 2019:

‘‘Hi people, it’s Boris Johnson here. I’m the first foreign secretary to have visited the Gambia for as long as anybody could remember and I’m here in Banjul, capital of the Gambia at a very exciting time.

‘‘Because there has just been a change of government and a new administration under President Barrow, they got rid of the guy who was really holding things up and they want to take the country forward.”

As he embarks on a post-Brexit world where shoring up trade interests with Commonwealth countries will be paramount, Britain’s next Prime Minister appears to have his work cut out for him in impressing African leaders.

We hope all of the above are mere errors of judgements and the UK prime minister will allocate the respect that is due to Africa but nonetheless, it does still remain to be seen.

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