The rise of racist, nationalistic and isolationist governments in the West could spell the end of the age of liberal democracy. Are we in Africa prepared for what this would mean for us?
My English teacher in high school loved to say "failing to plan is planning to fail".
Whether Brexit happens or not, the EU and Britain itself will never be the same. Whether Trump wins in 2020 or not, the USA will not be the same. The electoral victory of white supremacist political parties in the West points to the fact that we have reached the end of the post-WW II liberal order and are now in a new era. Africa must smell the coffee because it's increasingly fashionable in former liberal Europe and America to run and win elections on an anti-migrant crusade.
In 2015, a Polish ultra-conservative political party called Law and Justice (PIS) won the biggest landslide in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, to the extent that they govern Poland alone. This was a feat in a country were the political settings as per the constitution make it almost impossible to run a government without coalitions.
But PIS won as a reward for taking the most assertive stand against immigration from Africa and the Middle East. Its strongman leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski declared just before the 2015 election that Africans "bring diseases and viruses". His party won massively.
Just a decade ago, an election in the West could never be won by racist crusaders like Trump and Kaczynski and isolationist movements like Brexit would have been unthinkable. Alas, here they are, dominating the news cycles. Today, the US President can call 55 African nations "s**thole countries" and see his approval ratings among his supporters increase.
We have reached an era first predicted by Indian-American journalist, author and broadcaster, Fareed Zakariya in a paper written in 1997--'an age of illiberal democracy'. This title was adopted by the Hungarian autocrat, Victor Orban in 2014. He said his form of illiberal democracy disdained toleration of minorities, believed in strong forms of majoritarianism, rejected checks and balances, and believed in nationalism and separatism. Indeed, he rewrote the Hungarian Constitution to reflect these views.
This is the point in history where the whole concept of Western liberal democracy seems to have reached its limitations, threatening to unravel the fragile peace that the world has generally enjoyed since 1945.
Now that Time and History have had their say, Prophet Samuel...