UK Foreign Minister – Boris Johnson referred to Africans as “watermelon smiles”


By Emeka Chiakwelu
…Boris Johnson is an embodiment of a colonial nostalgia.
The blond red-faced bombastic rabble rouser is back again on the
international news-scene. I am talking about Boris Johnson, the former
mayor of London, who aspired to become UK prime minister before he changed
his mind.

Boris was appointed the new British foreign minister by the new installed
British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Boris Johnson is a controversial
conservative Troy politician that never runs away from public eye and has
low tolerance for political correctness. Some have even described him as
the British Donald Trump.
According to BBC News, “Boris Johnson, who has just been appointed as the
UK’s new foreign secretary, has said several controversial things about
Africa during his time as a journalist. He has defended the history of
colonialism, saying that it would be best if African countries were still
colonised, and has also used language to describe black people which many
consider racist – for which he has apologised. “
Boris Johnson view on Africa is not pleasing to hear as he sounded more
like a colonial master posted in African mainland than a supposedly
English gentleman. He described Africans as “piccaninnies” and “watermelom
smiles”. His words:
“What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that
the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies
her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies; and one can
imagine that Blair, twice victor abroad but enmired at home, is similarly
seduced by foreign politeness.”

Johnson continues, “They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the
AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human
flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to
see the big white chief touch down in his big white British
taxpayer-funded bird. Like Zeus, back there in the Iliad, he has turned
his shining eyes away, far over the lands of the Hippemolgoi, the drinkers
of mares’ milk. He has forgotten domestic affairs, and here, as it
happens, in this modest little country that elected him, hell has broken
With such a racist utterances – does Boris Johnson have the discipline,
intellectual decorum and political savvy to be the flag bearer for British
diplomacy in the turbulent global village?

With British departure from European Union, she needs a steady hand and
cool-headed diplomat to repair bridges in the continent and extend hand of
friendship to rest of the world. But looking back at some of Johnson’s
undertakings in the past reveals that he may not be suitable for the job
of diplomacy.
Boris Johnson even referred to Obama as “part-Kenyan president” during his
campaign against British membership in European Union (EU). Another
British politician Chuka Umunna condemns his remarks as “beyond the
Writing on The Sun newspaper, Boris Johnson accused Obama of being
anti-British and for removing the bust of Winston Churchill from White
House when he was elected president in 2008:
“Something mysterious happened when Barack Obama entered the Oval Office
in 2009. Something vanished from that room, and no one could quite explain
why. It was a bust of Winston Churchill – the great British war time
leader. It was a fine goggle-eyed object, done by the brilliant sculptor
Jacob Epstein, and it had sat there for almost ten years. But on day one
of the Obama administration it was returned, without ceremony, to the
British embassy in Washington. No one was sure whether the President had
himself been involved in the decision. 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 – of which Churchill had been such a fervent

The new Prime Minister, Theresa May was probably paying back Boris’s
goodwill with this latest appointment, for he stayed away from not
contesting and running for the post she is currently holding. But her
home work on this appointment was a bit of disappointment especially to
the rest of the commonwealth members that deserve some respect from a
high esteemed lady that is presently occupying 10 Downing Street.

Good day.
Emeka Chiakwelu is policy strategist at AFRIPOL.

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