U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton must still be reeling from her whirlwind tour of the African continent. This, especially after that prickly question from a slapdash interpreter in Kinshasa who ruined a well-intentioned inquiry from a curious student.
You remember the question: “We’ve heard about Chinese contracts in this country.
The interference is from the World Bank against this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton and what does Mr. Mutombo think on the situation? Thank you very much.”
We all know Mr. Clinton as the husband to the Secretary of State, but we may not know Mr. Mutombo.
Well, Mr. Dikembe Mutombo, I am informed, has his roots in D.R. Congo, as the name suggests. Beyond that, he is merely a 7ft 2in tall former basketball player who was Mrs. Clinton’s guide in Kinshasa!
Understandably, Mrs. Clinton was touched to the quick. “You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?” she shot back. “My husband is not the Secretary of State, I am.
You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I’m not going to channel my husband.”
Clearly, she meant that she did not borrow opinions from her husband. Which is as well, only that the innocent student had asked about what Mr. Obama thought, not Mr. Clinton! The godforsaken ‘mis-interpreter’, unfortunately, had botched up the otherwise reasonable question.
That apart, however, after her visits to Kenya, South Africa and Angola already, what did she have to show for it?
Kenya was going to continue wallowing in her indecisive coalition government stupor, Somalia in her spirited self-destruction and both would continue to be potential safe havens for Al Qaeda and pirates.
South Africa wasn’t going to rein in the obstinate old bull, Robert Mugabe, any more than Angola was going to keep away the ‘red hands’ (of the Chinese) out of her oil barrels.
Nor did Mrs. Clinton expect any heartening news from the countries still on her itinerary: Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.
Doubtless, Mrs. Clinton mostly wanted to see the bad side of Africa. No wonder, then, that she skirted Rwanda.
A reason, in any case, that she highlighted in her remarks in Nairobi: “Today,” she enthused, “we look to nearby Rwanda. It has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa…”
“The Rwandan people believed in themselves. And their leaders, led by President Kagame, believed in policies based on evidence and measurable results …. a greater premium on professionalism in government…..”
And I say, Mrs. Clinton, you ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’, to quote the 40th US president, Ronald Reagan.
If you were to know that every year these leaders come together to set themselves goals in what they call ‘Imihigo’, you’d realise that this country, dubbed ‘the mother of Gacaca’, has many innovations to her name.
Innovations Rwandans keep to themselves, for the ‘Intore’ of Rwanda prefer to do now and sing later.
However, the tragedy at your hands: D.R. Congo, the country that has been described as “a vast, organised scam.”
This is a country where governance is a racket and everyone with a modicum of power uses it to prey on the populace and the country.
The more money you pour in, the more misery you assign to the citizenry. And those wretched of the east, as you saw them in eastern DRC, will continue to sink further into misery.
Misery which is compounded by a moribund peace keeping contingent known as MONUC, a polite term for ‘eunuch’, I guess.
Which eunuchs I wish they were for, apart from not being known for saving any civilians, they are not known for passing a chance to engage in gang-rapes either, even if they throw in coins of their free-flowing dollars.
So, Mrs. Clinton, why soil your diplomatic grandeur by bandying words with clumsy interpreters in the hot, humid and rancid airs of Africa?
You can do a better job sitting in your airy office and advising everybody to let Africans own their problems. Tell everybody that only the Congolese can stabilise their country.
And tell everybody to send that 200,000-strong contingent of eunuchs back and give those dollars to Rwanda and allow her into DRC to neutralise her génocidaires.
She routed them out of Rwanda and can stop their atrocious exactions on the local population any minute of the day.
Those ex-FAR/Interahamwe butchers are the main trigger for bigger conflicts in the area, the seed for the proliferation of xenophobic Congolese militias.
And while you are at it, Mrs. Clinton, advise that Belgium and France, especially the latter, do not put their meddling foot in this cocktail of agonies that they so passionately sired.