Sunday, April 29, 2012

Malawi's Matron in Monrovia

This weekend President Sirleaf hosted the new President of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda, in a symbolic mini-summit of Africa's two female heads of state. Very clever of them, and perhaps gracious of Ma Ellen, as although Africa's 2nd female leader was hailed the world over, there has been some lamenting in Liberia of the diluting of Sirleaf's distinction,  with a headline in the New Democrat of 9 April reporting Banda's constitutional succession as: "Pres. Sirleaf Loses Iconic Place As Africa's Only Woman President." Sirleaf remains Africa's only elected (and re-elected) female leader.

When heads of state make official visits to Liberia, Tubman Boulevard's streetside poles are mounted with flags, as is the strange thin concrete arch over the street at Vamoma House. I can't help but marvel at the speed and efficiency with which these flags appear in orderly fashion just in time for these visits without even much visible installation---this compared the to delay and chaos in some many other basic government provisions that is so common.

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