By Duncan Mlanjira
Staunch Pan-Africanist, Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba from Kenya condemns the xenophobic attacks happening in South Africa and pleaded with them to live in harmony with the foreign nationals in their country, saying Africa is one and each and every country should depend on each other.
Lumumba said this at the 2019 Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (ICAM) annual conference on Saturday at Sun ‘n’ Sand Holiday Resort where he was a guest speaker, saying the founding fathers of the post colonial Africa; the pan Africanists, had a dream for the continent.
“They envisioned a continent that was united, prosperous, highly developed and peaceful, one that was ahead if not an equal partaker in world business with the rest of the world, a continent with capacity to give aid to other continents.
“Yet, 50 plus years down the line, Africa still wallows social, economic and political instabilities. It still relies heavily on donations from other continents.
“The dreams of Pan-Africanists are yet to be realised. However, Africa boasts of increased professionals in different sectors since independence.”
He said it is unfortunate that South Africans vent their economic frustrations on foreigners who come to their country for their own economic salvation and they have the wrong perception that the foreigners are taking away the jobs they ought to have had.
He said most foreigners in South Africa don’t usually take away jobs from them but work for other foreigners like the Nigerians, Indians and the Chinese while the professionals are actually enticed to go there by the country itself since some sectors need specialized professionals.
“It actually doesn’t make sense that a taxi drivers will say that foreign doctors are taking away jobs meant for them,” he said.
“The African dream must therefore depart from her mythical conclave of merely an unattainable mirage and proceed to the precincts of a reality that can be achieved if only each one of us did what is required to sow the seeds, nurture the dream, talk the talk and walk the walk of a developed integrated Africa.
“The African dream envisages a continent thriving on the cardinal creed of peace, democracy, development, which is at par with or even above the rest of the world in human and economic development.
“The beginning point towards realization of this dream involves the identification of the threats that stand in the way of the dream including corruption, bad leadership, greed, and general apathy; which in turn breed violence in hearts of men and chaos, turmoil and war in the societies as a whole.
“Only then can we chart a workable road map to the promised land of hope and prosperity.”
He congratulated former Malawi president, late Bingu wa Mutharika, saying he came with a policy of food security and it worked.
“He applied the existing policies, he used the same land, he had the same farmers and it worked. It can be done.
“Look at what Rwanda has achieved in recent years. After a long civil war that devastated the country it has risen above every one else. If what Rwanda has achieved in very few years can be replicated by everyone else, Africa can move forward,” he said.
Commenting on Lumumba’s presentation, which was giving a resounding standing ovation from the 1,000 plus delegates, FDH Financial Holding Limited’s Chief Executive Officer Thom Mpinganjira said he was very moved and inspired by the great orator and agreed with him that every national is a leader and very powerful.
“If we can come together, we can influence change and development we need if Malawi should change just as Professor Lumumba said. It requires behavioral change.
”I have listened and inspired by several speeches he has made elsewhere but listening to him up close is really something I have cherished so much and my wish is that we should make sure we air this presentation several times for the benefit of every Malawian to learn from,” he said
The event as well as an exclusive interview was recorded by Times TV whose Managing Director, also a chartered accountant, was among the delegates, who applauded Lumumba as a true Pan African icon.
“The central theme of his message at the ICAM 2019 Annual conference is both challenging to the pessimistic Malawians and most relevant for those patriotic Malawians, who still have hope for this country
“We need visionary leadership at all levels of our society, leaders that will challenge status quo, leaders that will identify the priorities of our country and package the resources to implement change within the constraints of the economic resource envelope of the country.
“He argued successfully that we have to focus on our competitive advantages and we can’t be everything to everyone and hope for a miracle to happen, as he said “you can’t will a lottery if you can’t buy a ticket”
“The most important resource according to him is human capital. This is a resource Malawi has failed to consolidate and use is fully for national interests
“Political leadership tend to misguide us all as they assess and evaluate this critical resource using binoculars of political leaning, religious and tribal basis.
“This approach cannot get us the best results as we strive to champion the national agenda of change and transformation.”
ICAM Chief Executive Officer Dr. Francis Chinjoka Gondwe said Lumumba noted that poverty is a choice but one chooses to be poor.
“There are a number of resources available to liberate Africa. Professor Lumumba was very tight to say Africa and Malawi should harness technology.
“We can not continue relying on agriculture the way we have done in the past. We need to embrace technology. Leadership is about effective utilisation of resources. We are all leaders. We should not look for leadership elsewhere.
The presentation was very relevant to the the theme of Repositioning Africa’s Economic Renaissance – Malawi in the Equation,” he said.