US election 2016
US President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York Carlo Allegri/ Reuters

Republican Donald Trump won the US election, securing more than the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to beat Hillary Clinton and succeed Democrat Barack Obama.

In February, Trump may have promised he would lock up Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe "in prison" if he got the top job, but African leaders, who were under pressure from Obama's administration to improve their governance, warmly welcomed Trump's victory.

For several commentators, however, Trump is a joke magnet, and it was not long before users took to social media platforms to share puns, jokes and satire about the American leader's perceived similarities with African leaders. IBTimes UK collates the best ones.


While Hillary Clinton previously compared Trump's economic policies with those of Zimbabwe in the 1990s, which resulted in hyperinflation and a humanitarian and economic crisis, President Robert Mugabe officially endorsed Trump in July.

Ghanaian economist George Ayittey posted on Facebook: "Oh dear, guess which African dictator was rooting for Donald Trump to win".

92-year-old Mugabe, who is hoping to remain in power after the 2018 general elections, is accused of being a dictator holding on to the top seat through rigged elections despite his advanced age.

"If the Donald Trumps of the world want to find out how the masters of manufacturing elections work, they had better visit Zimbabwe before their internecine struggles close them down," South African-based not-for-profit media outlet The Conversation Africa, posted on Facebook.


As Trump's victory was becoming apparent, user Tadegnon posted a Tweet in which he asked which authoritarian African leader – Sudan's Omar al-Bashir or Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, both of which have been accused of crimes against humanity – would congratulate Trump first.

President Pierre Nkurunziza was the first head of state to tweet, congratulating Trump upon his victory as the US President-elect.

After Nkurunziza won a third-term in office following controversial elections that prompted the country's 18-month bloody conflict, US secretary of state John Kerry described Burundi's election as "deeply flawed". Nkurunziza then accused the US of meddling in Burundi's affairs.

"The president congratulated the American people because what happened in the US in 2016 is exactly what happened in Burundi in 2015. The media demonised Trump as they did with our president but people showed they were on his side" presidential adviser, Willy Nyamitwe, told Monde Afrique.

A communications specialist and journalist, Diederick Kramers, took to Twitter to ironically highlight how authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin "mention[ed] Trump and Burundi practically in the same breath".

User Spaulding posted a factitious message – in which he imagined Algeria's authoritarian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika congratulating Trump as the "first black president of Burundi".

While the Burundian presidency had not openly endorsed Trump, the country's radical opposition bloc, CNARED, gave its support to Clinton.

Democratic Republic of Congo

There was also a sense of relief in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where Trump's policy of non-interference is seen as a welcome break following the Obama administration's efforts to ensure that President Joseph Kabila leaves office after his second term on 20 December 2016.

Obama, who provided some support to Kabila's opponent Moses Katumbi, urged Kabila to hold elections within the constitutional deadlines, and his administration has accused the Congolese head of state of trying to cling to power beyond the legal limit by delaying elections.

Following the results today, Kabila congratulated Trump on his "brilliant" victory and the American people "who, in a sovereign manner, has decided to entrust its fate in him". Kabila's administration has long criticised Clinton for her alleged support to Rwandan President Paul Kagame – himself accused of "hurting" Congolese people.

Kabila's message did not go unnoticed in the DRC, where Congolese took to Twitter to jokingly remind their president that "Trump will only take power after the end of [Kabila]'s mandate. Obama is still here, Kabila," activist Mike Malembo said in a tweet. Obama will remain in office until 20 January.

Another user, Richard Kabongo, tweeted: "Kabila, you are wrong to congratulate Trump, you will be the first on his list to throw you out, you'll be facing madder than you."


In Uganda ,where President Museveni secured a fifth term in elections marred by allegations of vote-rigging earlier this year, Noy Frederic, a freelance documentary photographer based in the capital Kampala, satirised:

Another user, highlighted how Trump will be the sixth president to take office since Museveni took power in 1986.

US-Ugandan writer Arao Ameny joked about having "to decide which 'president' to loathe more" between Museveni and Trump.

President Yoweri Museveni congratulated Trump after his victory, saying that "Elections in the US or any country are a matter for the people of that country".


As Kenya prepares for its next general elections in 2017, Deputy President William Ruto – whose International Criminal Court (ICC) post-election violence charges were thrown out earlier this year – congratulated Trump "for being elected as the President of the United States".

For unimpressed broadcast journalist Saddique Shaban, Trump's election was the right moment to refer to the corruption plaguing the East African nation. He joked: "If Donald Trump can win the presidency of the United States, then Kenya can jail the plunders and thieves of public funds. It's possible."

In May, Trump comments went viral on social media after he lashed out at African heads of state and condemned a proposed African mass exodus from the ICC.

"When I saw them gang up against ICC yet they can't even find an amicable solution for the ongoing quandary in Burundi, I thought to myself these people lack discipline and humane heart. They can't lead by example. The only thing they are interested in is accumulating wealth from poor taxpayers," Trump told reporters in Nebraska, lumping all African presidents together.

"Before they think of exiting from ICC, they should first restore peace in Burundi and other war-torn countries rather than gathering like hyenas with the aim of finishing the poor people."

EAC Dar Es Salaam Summit Burundi
African leaders (L-R) Jacob Zuma, Yoweri Museveni, Jakaya Kikwete and Uhuru Kenyatta pose for a photograph without Pierre Nkurunziza during the summit to discuss the crisis in Burundi REUTERS/Stringer