Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday 19 September attracted distinguished guests from around the world, including presidents, such as Joe Biden from the United States (US). The world leaders joined members of the British Royal Family to pay their last respects to the late British monarch at Westminster Abbey in London earlier today. But one detail of the procession did not sit well with Twitter users. Why was Biden exempt from travelling in a bus like fellow funeral-goers?
While hundreds of presidents, prime ministers and official delegates from around the world made their way to the church via a fleet of coach buses, one leader was visibly exempt. US leader Biden and his wife, Jill, travelled to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service via an armored presidential limousine nicknamed “The Beast”.
According to the UK’s Express, the White House demanded that Biden travel via a six-car motorcade for “security reasons”. Their request was granted by UK officials and the vehicle was flown to the UK. The rest of the guests were transported in buses to “ease traffic congestion”, claims the publication. According to 9News, “The Beast” — manufactured by General Motors — is bulletproof and is can resist gas attacks. The vehicle is also equipped with packs of President Biden’s blood type in case of a medical emergency.
But it wasn’t just Biden who was excluded from the VIP bus brigade. Others included the royal families from European countries. Also on the list were leaders of G7 countries, like France’s Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and Canada’s Justin Trudeau among others. This, also for “security reasons”. But despite the reasoning behind Biden and other safety-compromised leaders, tweeps questioned why some presidents were not offered the same treatment. Others shared pics of a group of African leaders seated together in a bus, suggesting the “segregation” was racially motivated.
“It’s extremely dangerous to carry our African presidents in one bus what if God forbid the bus rolls, does it mean we won’t have presidents in Africa?” asked Esimba.
Seth Othale wrote: “‘Catch the Bus!’….but it’s not a bad thing after all. My only concern is how African Presidents & Heads of State were bundled together in identical buses.”
However, while others thought it was not wise to have African leaders on one bus, some opined that it was a sign of humility.
“Humbleness is a cardinal principle in politics,” said Konde Hanza on Twitter. His sentiments were echoed by Augustine Kipsegei, who said, “Humility is the best model.”
Other didn’t see a problem with the leaders using a bus to travel, saying it’s a norm in other continents.
“This bus arrival by Head of States is not a problem for Europeans. They wouldn’t mind arriving by bicycle if possible. It is poor Africans who always flaunt wealth they don’t have that are feeling it,” wrote Sir Dickson.