ews reports are abuzz in local Malawi and the international media of the upcoming historic visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Malawi on Sunday 6 August, 2012. The trip is historic as it is the first high profile visit of a US government official for many years.
According to online reports Malawi is seeking support from the U.S and other donors to help her recover from its economic ills caused by the erstwhile Mutharika regime which was isolated by donors for democratic and economic mismanagement. Clinton will also tour other African nations including a one-day visit to Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa where she will hold the South Africa-United States Strategic Dialogue on August 7.
Malawi hasn’t enjoyed a high profile visitor from the world's most powerful nation since 1991 when former Vice President Dan Quayle visited the country when it was still a one-party state under Dr. Kamuzu Banda. That visit ended up with the Malawi Government calling for a national referendum for Malawians to decide whether they wished to remain a one party nation or change to multi-party dispensation. Malawi voted for multi-party rule.
Needless to say, a visit from Big Brother USA is no small matter. But this is precisely what some self-styled online commentators are saying about Secretary Clinton's visit to Malawi.
However, whatever the purpose of the visit and the full program of Mrs. Clinton, some analysts have called the 3rd most important person in the US political hierarchy, a "spent force". She only has up to November to be in office and has nothing tangible to offer, so runs the critic with his/her thought. The anti-Clinton barrage further alleges that Mrs. Clinton is coming to Malawi to make pro homosexual statements on the Malawian soil.... The critic concludes that there is no country including the USA that would give aid to Malawi apart from using the unsuspecting clueless Joyce Banda to make advances in Africa and to make a case for homosexuality.
There aren’t enough hours in the day that would enable a thorough unpacking of the various facets of the sentiments in the above paragraph. Suffice to say, Malawi is still young in its growth on the democracy path, however, any would-be analyst, educated or not, would do well to take a chapter or two from the home of modern mature democracy - the United States.
To be fair to Mrs. Clinton, November doesn’t in any way spell the end of her high-profiled category. For a start, she is a force in her own right and has been before Bill became President Bill and even after. She is a lawyer by profession and she has a history that is rich with its own intrigues. Secondly, she is the wife of a former president; and this is not just any former president, it’s Bill Clinton, America's most popular and loved living president. So apart from being the globe-trotting Secretary of State, who has been encased as a fixture found in circles where women are normally not found, she is also the former First Lady of the United States. This is a force that will never be spent, not by Americans: they love pomp and circumstance.
Mrs. Clinton, as First Lady of the world's leading democracy and superpower, was head of the US delegation to the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing whose outcome document is the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). This document among other things, is the guiding document on women and development throughout the whole world. Many of the numerous statements on women's economic empowerment and equity is straight out of the document with many having been engraved therein by Mrs. Clinton and members of her 1995 USA delegation. By the way, President Banda was among the Malawi delegation to Beijing.
It comes as a wonderful follow up signature therefore, when the records of history will show that amongst all the people Her Execellency President Joyce Banda has known in her life, it was Mrs. Hillary Clinton who was the first person to invest time through a phone call, in a show of support and encouragement when JB became President of Malawi - in a smooth take over following the passing away of the former head of state, H.E. Bingu Mutharika.
It is a good lesson indeed that Malawi's erstwhile critics should scoop up pages from the historical accounts of the United States in people treatment. They will see that American heroes aren’t only those that are dead and buried. There are bucket loads of heroes and heroines alive and kicking, walking the streets of the US of A. Many of them are enthused with philanthropic works while others are in academia and many more others are making the rounds in conference centers, talking about their experiences. So when come November 2012, as Secretary of State Mrs. Clinton retires - she has announced that she will not be there during President Barack Obama's second term - her high profile will still be as high as it is now. Maybe even higher.
This can be attested by the story of other former US Secretary of State officials from the late Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell to Condoleeza Rice. She will join the set of the most sought after talk show guests or motivational speakers. In America, there is no time to relegate anyone with the amount of nuggets of story-telling such folk like Hillary Rodham-Clinton have to share.
With her August trip to Malawi, she will be adding "now I know how Bill fell so easily in-love with Malawi" or something like that. Former President Bill Clinton adopted Malawi for his philanthropic work and beams with enthusiasm every time he talks about the interventions his organization makes in Malawi - imagine the many people that sit and watch President Clinton talk on television in wonderfully embellished overtones about Malawi!
It's a misnomer to think that Mrs. Hillary Clinton will ever be a spent force.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.