Africa Must Be Seen as a United Continent

A Kenyan Law Scholar, Prof. Patrick Loch Lumumba has stated that Africa is the only continent that is referred to by European and American commentators as Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone.

This according to him was because the former colonisers still see them as their territories. “These descriptions underline the unspoken truth that in the minds of the colonizers their erstwhile ‘fiefdoms’ are still their little backwater territories to be guided and cajoled as circumstances may justify”, he noted.

Prof. Lumumba said this when he delivered the third lecture at the 11th Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures at the University. His topic for the concluding lecture was “Social Cohesion: A Call for African Unity”. The renowned African orator indicated that in 1963 for example, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah told African Leaders at a conference that if they did not unite they may not continue to occupy their positions but he was ignored. However, that ‘prophecy’ came to pass with all of them being removed one after the other including Nkrumah himself.  Prof. Lumumba therefore stated, “Disunity is Africa’s Achilles heels”. Conflicts have played significant roles dividing as well as deepening the woes of the continent. A critical look at the various parts of the continent would reveal myriads of conflicts that seem not to end soon to the detriment of the people. It is for this reason that the Lecturer said that history indicates that people of this continent were the most beaten when it comes to conflicts the world over. “Africa has the infamy of having the most conflicts in the world”, he noted.

Prof. Lumumba noted that when Dr. Julius Nyerere wanted Tanzania and Kenya and other Eastern African states to unite, the other leaders resisted, likewise when Nkrumah signed a union treaty with Congo to demonstrate that Africa could do it, divide and rule tactics were employed to torpedo that unity agenda. He wondered how long Africa would still be in political diapers or punch below her weight, or remain a junior partner? He said leaders in 1963 were in a class of their own as compared to what we have in Africa today. “What they could see in their sleep, current leaders cannot see when they are awake”, he berated. It is not all gloom for the continent since the speaker gave a hint that there was still some modicum of hope to be savoured. He stated, “On occasions that Africans have decided to be united they delivered. A classic example he cited was the period when through unity of purpose, Africa came together to help Mozambique and Angola to attain political independence from their colonial masters. But the sad aspect of this development, he said was these countries suffered from amnesia and gravitated towards their masters in no time. “African politics with greatest due respect is a curse”, he declared.

Prof. Lumumba said “the day African politics is liberated from the chains of greed that is the day Africa will move forward”. He reminded African leaders that longevity in office does not mean one has all the solutions as a leader. “Wisdom does not reside in the ballot box, if you are not wise the ballot box will not change that” He paid an unalloyed tribute to Kwame Nkrumah saying though he ruled for a short time he shook the world. He was of the view that Nkrumah was lying in his grave and weeping uncontrollably because his people are suffering. “What you told us 50 years ago is still evergreen, that unity is the only solution, there is a lot to be done”.  For this reason, he called on Africa to rise. But asked for whom: is it for India or China?

Meanwhile at a special congregation, as has been the tradition, the University conferred on the distinguished lawyer an honorary degree, the degree of Doctor of Letters, (D. Litt, Honoris Causa).