An eminent Professor of Public Law from Kenya, Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, says until the day Africa achieves political reawakening, the continent cannot not occupy its rightful place in the world.
“Africa will rise in her splendor: it will only do so if we can identify the right things and do them right, we can rise”.
The illustrious African Legal personality who is also the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya School of Law made these remarks when he delivered the first leg of the 11th Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures at the University. The theme for the three-day lectures is “Africa Must Rise” and the first lecture was on the topic “Political Re- Awakening”.
Tracing the trajectory of Africa’s quest for political freedom from the neo- colonialists and how Africa has failed to recover, Prof. Lumumba called on Africans to embrace the ideals of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and liberate themselves from the kind of politics that has let them down. He reiterated the call made by Dr. Nkrumah that “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all others will be added” when he said “Africa must conduct the affairs of politics well, if we do not get it right in politics; we cannot get it right economically”,
Prof. Lumumba said a major African problem was that, Africans behave as if they were inferior to the whiteman. “We are quick to seek help elsewhere instead of finding our own solutions. Those of us who have gone to school are the problem”, he added. He noted that amidst the problems affecting Africa, two schools of thought have emerged, the Afro-pessimists who believe Africa is incapable of solving her problems and will continue to occupy the lower rungs of human development and the Afro-optimists who argue that while Africa has not realised her potential, she was capable of rising from her present situation to occupy her rightful position in the world.
Citing Botswana as an example, he said with the right leadership, that country was among the few countries on the continent to record budget surplus saying “this demonstrates that with the right leadership and the right mix, we can get it right”. Touching on the canker of corruption in the African society, he noted that until the ghost of corruption and ethnicity were exorcised, Africa could not develop.
He declared that, the African has to be well educated, and recommended the kind of education that Kwame Nkrumah described as “reawakening and rethinking of minds”. He pointed out that Kwame Nkrumah was ahead of his time and peers by 50 years.
Turning to the craze of democracy in Africa, Prof. Lumumba said, “Election is the new thing in town, our leaders remind us of the things they have done, and meanwhile nothing changes”. He however, asserted that leadership was about servant leadership. Prof. Lumumba wondered why African politics has always been controlled by the outside world. He said for example that after elections, African leaders wait for calls from European and United States leaders before feeling and accepting that they have really won the elections.