All eyes were on the United States as Donald Trump left office last week. My way by Frank Sinatra played in the background after he finished his final address as president, before flying to Florida.
And what a fitting song it was. Appearing to be in a somewhat sombre mood, the point was driven home when Melania Trump appeared in all black, sending a clear message on how they felt about the events of the day.
Trump has always been open about doing things his way, there is no doubt about that, he was definitely different for a president and was never shy about showing it. There was a sense of pride he had about it and it was part of his campaign narrative of going against the grain.
During Joe Biden’s inauguration, many viewed the day as a moment of reflection. Looking back on the last four years was a sigh of relief considering how tumultuous Trump’s term had been.
Last week, America got to see what it feels like when a president steps out of the protocol bubble and does whatever he or she wants, whenever they feel like. There are examples of how African countries experience that with almost every sitting president, some behaviours more amusing than others.
This is one president (Trump) who spent several hours on the golf course during a crisis and even evaded crucial questions during press conferences. The awkward moments that were caught on camera as people grappled with how to react to the words coming out of his mouth or actions.
In his last address he made sure to speak from the heart, there was no teleprompter. Many were afraid about what he would say.
In Kenya it is the other way around, we always look forward to after the President finishes reading his official speech, because this is when his true thoughts come out. Off the cuff, simple dialogue that is raw and honest, gives us a glimpse of what is actually happening at State House and in government. Those words matter on the direction of leadership.
The other time important information about situations is expressed by our leaders when their speeches burst into their mother tongues.
Trump is also the first US president in 150 years not to attend an inauguration to hand over power, and what a time he chose to do that.
A nation’s unity is so important during this period but it will be a tough battle for President Biden because of all sorts of media mixing fact with fiction.
We live at a time when people can choose who they associate with. Mainstream media is not the only source of information, this means a leader can join social media platforms they can relate with and fit in.
Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive director, Siasa [email protected]