“If Africa was united and we had a government of the United States of Africa, I think I would have Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Paul Kagame of Rwanda in my dream cabinet,” says Patrick Loch Otieno (“P L O”) Lumumba, in conversation with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo for Sunday Night tonight, 9 August.
And the third member of this dream team that would help realise the reforms Africa needs? “President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” says the legal academic and social activist.
A tiny handful of other leaders would also have a seat, Lumumba says – Hage Geingob of Namibia, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, Macky Sall of Senegal.
The answer for and from Africa
Professor Lumumba is a distinguished legal scholar who will be familiar to many Ghanaians for his star turns on viral clips that have circulated and circulated again on social media.
He speaks hard truths to Africa about what must be done to haul the continent into the first rank of countries in the 21st century – and overcome the multiple legacies of colonialism.
As much a political activist as he is an academic, Lumumba served as director of his country’s then Anti-Corruption Commission from September 2010 to August 2011 but was dismissed in controversial circumstances. He has been the director of the Kenya School of Law since 2014.
Born on 17 July 1962, he holds a doctorate in the law of the sea from the University of Ghent in Belgium. He is a staunch pan-Africanist who has delivered countless speeches in which he seeks to find uniquely African solutions to African problems.
An admirer of Patrice Lumumba, the hero of Congolese independence who was assassinated in 1961, as well as Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso slaughtered in a palace coup in October 1987, Professor Lumumba refers to both pioneers and quotes from their speeches repeatedly. He is also remembered for an emotion-laden speech at the Third Anti-Corruption Convention in Uganda.
He was invited by the P A V Ansah Foundation to speak at the 2015 PAVA Forum on Good Governance in Accra on the topic “Whither Africa?”. In that lecture, he expressed grave concern about the energy crises that many African leaders had allowed to reach such a ruinous state.
He also addressed the blight of African youth fleeing the continent, blaming their exodus on economic hardship and “misgovernment” by the continent’s leaders. Yet the lecture saw a light in the distance, encouraging Africans to rise to the challenge of changing the continent’s fortunes.
P L O Lumumba has written several books on politics and law, including Kenya’s Quest for a Constitution: The Postponed Promise, Call for Hygiene in Kenyan Politics, An Outline of Criminal Procedure in Kenya and The Quotable P L O Lumumba.
Un homme engagé
Tonight, he talks to Kwaku Sakyi Addo about living a politically engaged life, the role of education in widening African horizons and how Africans can turn the tide of capital flight.
A master of rhetoric as well as a speaker of hard truths, Lumumba has shaken audiences from members of the Nigerian legislature formally involved in the fight against corruption to guests at the annual conference of the Association of African Universities.
His disquisition “A tall fool” is a classic model of oratory on the value of education.
Catch the scholar in conversation with Kwaku Sakyi-Addo on Sunday Night tonight on Asaase Radio 99.5 (7pm).
Nana Abena Boakye-Boateng