On Wednesday, people the world over were amazed as a crowd of Trump supporters pushed down barricades around US Capitol (the seat of the US legislature) and stormed the building. In shocking scenes, the mob attempted to halt the delegate count, which was to declare the winner of the US presidential election in November 2020.
Under the US system, though one or the other candidate may receive the required number of votes to win the election, a body known as the Electoral College must ratify the victory before the president-elect is sworn-in.
On Thursday, as viewers around the world watched gangs of hooligans and thugs instigated by the incumbent President who was also the losing candidate at the election, stormed the building in an attempt to halt the delegate count, which would declare the winner of the November 2020 US presidential election.
Trump lost the election, but refused to concede, claiming voter fraud and raising issue at all levels of the US judicial system in an attempt to overturn election results. When the Courts threw out all appeals, he ordered his Vice President to reject the verdict of the US Electoral College. The failure of that strategy prompted the now desperate President to instigate his followers to attack the Capitol to prevent his impending defeat.
That act was in fact an attempted coup. Five people, including a police officer died in the attack. The inner part of the Capitol building is a secured area, where not even a single protest is allowed. On Thursday, surprisingly hundreds of rioters were trashing the building.
Equally astounding was the actions of the US police and others entrusted in restoring the law. Whereas the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and even opened gunfire at persons who were peacefully protesting against the killings of black Americans on January 7, US police stood aside as mobs took over the Capitol building.
Even more shocking was that the man instigating the rioting and attempting to overturn the election result was none other than the incumbent US President himself. The world has become used to seeing tin-pot dictators in so-called under developed countries attempting to overturn election results to maintain their hold on power.
Thursday, January 17, will go down in the annals of history as America’s day of shame. The day its sitting called for an attack on the legislature to prevent his electoral defeat. The incumbent US President is now on par with persons such as Robert Mugabe and a few East European dictators who attempted to retain power by subverting the laws of their own country and/or instigated riots to cling to power, come hell or high water.
Fortunately, the democratic structures in the US held firm and wanna-be dictator Trump has temporarily been prevented from trashing democracy in that country.
But many dangers still remain. Trump still has the nuclear codes at his command. In a fit of pique, such as his calling for an attack on the main legislative body in his own country, the unstable US leader could as easily initiate military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and order a nuclear strike.
Perhaps, fearing such an eventuality, Chinese leader Xi Jinping ordered his military leaders to be ready to protect their country at a moment’s notice.
The US is notorious for meddling in the affairs of other nations and fermenting uprisings the world over, Wednesday’s shenanigans in the US has led to a classic ‘one liner’ which is spreading like wildfire: “Due to travel restrictions this year, the US has been forced to organize a coup at home…”
Today, whether we admire the US or not, the world watches with trepidation at events unfolding in that country. One thing is clear, soon-to-be ex-President Trump instigated a failed coup in
Action needs to be taken to ensure that not only those who ransacked the Capitol are brought to book, but those who instigated the mobs, those who carried false reports of election rigging, which were the immediate cause of the attempted coup, should receive stringent punishment. If this does not happen, there is every danger of history repeating itself.
It is the duty of the US legislature, irrespective of party loyalties, to ensure that all persons - whatever rank or position they hold - and who were involved in last Wednesday’s attempt to overturn the election result, be made to pay for their crimes. This means the President himself and all his henchmen
A failure to do so will surely embolden others to follow Trump’s footsteps.