Obama and Malawi adjoined

In my entry of 15th August 2012 in the opinion and analysis column of manaonline, I alluded to the fact that Barack Obama would win the second term. You and I can agree that prediction has come to pass. I further posited that in his second term, Obama will be more outward looking and more aggressively positive with his foreign policy. I want to think, seriously, that this too will come to pass. Take it or leave it.

As I write the President of the most powerful nation on the planet is in Rangoon, Burma in South East Asia – making him the first American President to visit that country, which has had a significant share of its own political problems and it is the country where a political rights activist, now a member of Parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the most prominent political prisoners in history and a leader of the National League of Democracy in Burma. She is a woman. Now that, I think, says something about and on where Obama wants to take his foreign policy. I will not belabour myself arguing about what Obama will do for Asia – I want to try and twitch how Obama will treat Africa in his second term at the White House.

Obama is going to treat Africa, this time round, with a lot more attention. Let’s contextualize this a little. Obama has roots in Africa –  in Kenya to be precise. That is not a small linkage between the White House and Africa. If Africa was voting for Obama in 2008, he would have won the vote close to 100%. Do not ask me why! I want to add, if Africa was voting for Obama in 2012, he would have scooped more than 80% of the vote – the difference between 2008 and 2012 vote would have been because of how Obama treated Africa in his first term.

US President Barack Obama and his family took to the stage for his victory speech in Chicago after winning second term [AFP]
He only visited Africa shyly and only once and there were not major policy decisions that benefitted Africa much more than what America routinely does for the continent. I think, not anymore. Obama will visit Africa, I can predict, a few times, this time round. This is simply because Africa expects more from Barack Obama, a man Africa has every right to claim has helped him to be what he is today. And indeed Obama will be willing to do more for Africa. And that is only my guess.

Africa may be larger than what I really want to say in this entry. I want to try and focus on Malawi. On 5th August 2012, at 10:09am Hillary Rodham Clinton, the whole Secretary of State for US of A, winged into Lilongwe via Kamuzu International Airport and she was around for close to six (6) hours before she winged off to South Africa. That was no small achievement by the Joyce Banda Administration. And there can be more to come. Here is why!

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a wife to one Bill Clinton. Hillary loved Malawi and Bill Clinton warned Hillary before she came to Malawi that “hey, get ready for a treat.” This came out of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s own mouth at Lilongwe Girls Secondary School. I was there so I have that on very good authority. And added to all this, Uncle Bill, allow me to call him that way, played a huge role in Obama’s second term re-election campaign. And the Clintons are no ordinary family in US of A. They are big. And Bill Clinton’s foundation is doing big stuff in this country.

Now look at that linkage carefully. Bill Clinton is talking to Barack Obama, directly. Hillary Rodham Clinton talks to Barack Obama on a daily basis and they will continue to do that even if she gets relieved of the Secretary of State’s position.

Done well, calculated nicely – on one of his sojourns to Africa (remember I have predicted this already), Barack Obama, abode Air Force One (or even a lesser plane)  – can land at Kamuzu International Airport and that, that alone, will be massive. Barack Obama, landing in this land will be a moment that would turn things around for our country, for a very long time.

Let us use our linkage to the Clintons to our positive advantage and get Barack Hussein Obama land in this land.


*The author is Director of Information  in the Malawi Government.

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