Trump Nominee for African Affairs Slams Long-Serving African Leaders
WASHINGTON, DC, USA, 18 JUNE 2018 – President Donald Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, on Thursday slammed African leaders who extend their terms in office as “corrupt dinosaurs.”
Tibor Nagy did not name any African leader but said those concerned “want to stay presidents for life, immaterial of the harm they cause their own people.”
The Congress of the United States of America held hearings on Thursday for several State Department and diplomatic nominations, including for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Recently a vice-provost for international affairs at Texas State University and former ambassador to Ethiopia and Guinea, Tibor Nagy was also a former assistant ambassador to the Cameroons in the 1990s, where President Paul Biya has been in power for 35 years as president and seven years before that as prime minister. Tibor Nagy served in Cameroon during the 1992 presidential election believed to have been won by Ni John Fru Ndi of the opposition Social Democratic Front before going on to serve in neighboring Nigeria.
The announcement of Tibor Nagy’s nomination came on the same day as the Pentagon released a summary of its final U.S. – Africa Command report on the ambush last October in which four U.S. troops and others were killed in an ambush in Niger.
Some observers have criticized the Trump administration for what they consider a lack of engagement with Africa.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Congress, applauded the move, describing them as important but overdue.
“The Trump Administration must do a better job of engaging on this critical continent,” Sen. Coons said in a statement.
According to news reports, the White House had last year selected J. Peter Pham for the position of Assistant Secretary for African Affairs but Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) reportedly threatened to scuttle that choice over disagreement on the Western Sahara.
Illinois state senator Kyle McCarter was also picked as ambassador to Kenya, but important countries on the continent such as South Africa and Tanzania still do not have an ambassador in place.
There was a worldwide uproar last January when Trump referred to Africa nations as “shithole” places, but also for suggesting that Nigerians live in huts. The apparent lack of engagement is seen as coming at the wrong time when the U.S. needs to do more to address armed conflicts on the continent, to stop the spread of tyranny, including Muslim extremists like Boko Haram.
The other nominees are Gordon Sondland, picked to be ambassador to the European Union and Randy Berry, picked to be ambassador to Nepal.