United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of her seven-nation eleven-day African tour. Mrs. Clinton met with President President Joseph Kabila for talks behind closed doors after which she met with Congolese journalists and students in a town hall setting, during which a question directed to her sought her husband’s opinion on an international issue, throwing her off balance. The top U.S. diplomat is also in the DRC to help promote women’s issues.
One of the questions from the students, which had been apparently wrongly translated, got a sharp response from a visibly outraged Mrs. Clinton. The question had been translated into what Mr. Bill Clinton thought about Chinese investments in DRC. Mrs. Clinton responded saying: Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state I am! You want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to channel my husband. – Video below
According to observers, Mrs. Clinton who is also in the DRC to advocate for the advancement of the role of women in the society, was not amused to realise that Bill Clinton’s opinion, instead of hers as Secretary of State, was more valued. Philip J. (P.J.) Crowley, Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of Public Affairs, told reporters that the question cannot be separated from the setting. “If Africa, if Congo is going to advance, women have to play a more significant role. She was in the setting of a town hall, and the questioner was interested in what two men thought, not the secretary of state,” he said.
It was later understood that the question was about what Mr. Obama thought and not Mr. Clinton’s opinion.