Panic as Clinton jets out of Malawi, bees mystery

United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton might have had a tight schedule in Malawi but her first visit to the southern African nation will indubitably remain memorable to her as much as it will be historic to the country.

During her six and half-hour visit, Clinton mainly undertook three engagements which included holding bilateral talks with President Joyce Banda at the State House and visiting two US championed projects on girls’ education and food security.

Amid extraordinary security that enveloped the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in the capital, Lilongwe, Clinton jetted down in Malawi at exactly 10:09hrs and departed for Johannesburg, South African at 16:39hrs.

However, on her departure there was a mini panic at the international airport after bees thronged the area.

Clinton: Encouraged Banda to stay on a course of economic reform to make Malawi more attractive to foreign investment.

According to eye witnesses, scores of both Malawians and Americans including security agents took cover after the presence of the bees.

“There was a slight panic as the bees winged across the airport. People could be seen running away to keep cover as the Secretary of State  boarded her plane,” an eye witness told Nyasa Times.

Pledges support

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State has, among others, pledged a financial support of $36 million (about K9 billion) to strengthen Malawi’s agricultural value chain.

The US Secretary made the pledge when she visited dairy farmers under the Lumbadzi Milk Bulking Group, some 8kms North of Kamuzu International Airport.

The group is one of US Government’s funded food security programmes under the recently launched US Feed the Future Presidential Initiative.

Clinton, who is also the Chairperson of US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which was suspended during the previous regime of Bingu wa Mutharika but has now been reinstated to improve Malawi’s power sector, said the financial support will be given to Malawi stretched in three years time.

Malawi is a recipient of over $200 million US Government financial support in health, education, agriculture, economic growth and governance, among other sectors.

Malawi is also a recipient of all five US Government Presidential Initiatives which include the Feed the Future Initiative, Global Health Initiative; Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Malaria Initiative and the Global Climate Change Initiative.

Visits

The US Secretary also visited Lilongwe Girls Secondary School where she addressed over 60 girls drawn from various secondary schools who are part of another US project, Camp Grow Malawi, which was initiated in the country by US peace corps.

The wife of former American President Bill Clinton began her 11-day African tour in Senegal and has already been to Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya and her focus has been on terrorism, Chinese economic development in African and democracy.

She is expected wind up her African tour on August 10 in Ghana where she is expected to attend state funeral of that country’s President John Atta Mills who died on July 24.

Hillary Clinton becomes the second highest ranking official from the US government to visit Malawi after US former Vice President Dan Quayle in 1991 during the reign of Malawi’s founding president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

Women of substance: Hillary Clinton and Joyce Banda holding talks in Lilongwe

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