I never knew, but the visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in some ways put our country on the spotlight. On the spotlight that our country is a recipient of all five US Government Presidential Initiativesâ€”the Feed the Future Initiative, which President Joyce Banda officially launched in July; the Global Health Initiative; the US Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Presidentâ€™s Malaria Initiative and the Global Climate Change Initiative.
While on the one hand I want to thank the people of the United States for parting with their hard-earned dollars, on the other hand I feel saddened that we are so poor, sick and desperate that we cannot handle our own problems. Ours is a country that cannot stand on its two feet without the help of people like the Americans.
I have been thinking how to interpret Clintonâ€™s visit to Malawi. My sense is that if Bingu was still the countryâ€™s president, Clinton would not have set foot in this country. I do not know if this thinking is accurate as there is no way of telling. I do remember, though, that Bill Clinton was a regular visitor to Malawi even when Bingu was still at State House. Of course, president Clinton seemed to have stopped coming when we became more unreasonable and autocratic.
Do good presidents have high level Western visitors? I am asking this if one were to conclude without reservation that the good President Banda is the magnet that is pulling benevolent Western governments to Malawi. This may be the case indeed, but I do not for sure know since president Kamuzu Banda was visited by United States Vice-President Dan Quayle in 1991. Further, the Holy See (the Pope) visited Malawi in April 1989. Both Dan Quayleâ€™s and the Popeâ€™s visits were at the height of Kamuzu Bandaâ€™s â€˜dictatorship.â€™
I would like to differ with the wholesale generalisation that the forthcoming by-elections in the North will be the â€˜legitimacyâ€™ test for the Joyce Banda. Let me confess upfront that I do not understand this whole issue above legitimacy. For me, the issue as to whether Joyce Banda is legitimate or not, does not exist. The Constitution is clear on who can be legitimate rulers of our country. Joyce Banda happens to be one. Rather than thinking whether Banda is legitimate or not, my preoccupation is really to understand an academic question: Did Joyce Banda have to resign as Vice-President before being sworn in as President?
Or, if one is being sworn in as president, does it mean that the post they held, eg. Member of Parliament or Vice-President automatically evaporates? Who said there was nothing like â€œconstructive resignation?â€
If anyone thought that the debate on homosexuality is going to be easy, that person is naÃ¯ve. The way ahead is going to be painful, full of deception, political posturing and lies. People will label others holding contrary views various sorts of names. Uncooked arguments, largely leaning towards what my Philosophy lecturer at Chanco (the late Dr Didier Kaphagawani) referred to as argumentum adhominiem will be the order of the day.