“Africa cannot grow until it deals with corrupt leaders and corruption. Corruption is one of the things that have held Africa back”.
A distinguished Kenyan Professor of Public Law, Prof. P. L. O. said this when he delivered the second of the three-day 11th Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lecture at the University. Prof. Lumumba said the first thing African leaders do on assumption of political power is primitive accumulation of wealth so much so that they do not even know where such property and wealth are.
Speaking on the topic Economic Re-orientation, the Kenyan firebrand said he was sharing his agonies about Africa and indicated the continent was now enjoying flag independence, because if one follows the debate the question that comes to mind is whether Africa was truly independent? Kwame Nkrumah early in his stay in the United States realised that Africans were as equal to all people and have inalienable rights as well. Therefore, he conceived the idea that Africa must be liberated.
According to Prof. Lumumba, in the mind of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, colonization was an aberration to the human race. But he said, “Nkrumah was not alone on this plane, there were others who also thought there was the urgent need to for independence from the clutches of the colonisers”.
It must be pointed out that these leaders thought that the quest and struggle for independence was not for political freedom only but economic as well. Having attained political independence there came the question whether Africa could harness the numerous resources available?
Prof. Lumumba was of the view that when Nkrumah returned home, he realised that there were a lot that could be done to add value to the abundant resources on the continent to rake in the needed income for development. He said for example, Kwame Nkrumah talked about the possible value addition to the rubber in Liberia for Firestone and other tyre manufacturing companies abroad.
This, the Legal luminary, observed was an indication that Kwame Nkrumah did not restrict himself to Ghana alone but to the entire continent. He said, “That all these resources could be harnessed then Africa could develop. It was as if the gods have conspired that minerals and resources could be found in the belly of Africa”.
Prof. Lumumba opined that Africa could be liberated economically if there was one united market, one currency that could be effective everywhere. “If we do not create that common market, we will always be subjected to our former colonizers”. He said he was not against globalization per se, but he was against the perception of globalisation, which says Africa must be subdued.
He was not happy about the existence of 8 economic blocs that were expected to see Africa rise, but were not ensuring that, that happens. “Even goods that should take 8 hours to be transported take more than 24h hours”.
He indicated that for Africa to really rise was one of the key things that must be done is to eliminate corruption, improve upon science and technology and given the pride of place. There is also the need for Africa to liberate itself from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and Aid.