Great Orator, Motivational Speaker
There are lessons to learn from Professor Lumumba who is a great orator and motivational speaker articulating the challenges that Africa faces today. He has built that reputation through many videos which he has made which have circulated on social media platforms. Many people did not realise that he was a lawyer by profession. So it was a surprise to see him in action defending the presidential election results in Kenya in which president Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected the president. Raila Odinga contested the results. I watched a video in which he was punching holes in the petition seeking to nullify the results of the presidential election. The opposition party led by Raila Odinga filed a petition to invalidate the result citing irregularities and rigging. He sounded his usual eloquent self and gave a strong defence for the winning president. The Supreme Court judges have nullified the results and ordered a re-election within 60 days.
Supreme Court Decision
The Supreme Court decision is a first in Africa and opposition parties such as the MDC in Zimbabwe have welcomed the decision as a beacon of hope for the future of democracy on the continent. When such events take place, they increase the trust in the political affairs of the nation states and the continent at large. Uhuru Kenyatta has also done well to quickly call for peace and point out that although he does not agree with the decision of the Supreme Court, he accepts and respects it. It is good for the integrity of the judicial system. It demonstrates that the judiciary is independent. However, I disagree with his comments that six judges have overturned the will of the people. If he respects their decision, then he should respect their judgement and not punch holes to their credibility. In Shona we say arikuruma achifuridzira, meaning that he’s angel and the devil simultaneously. The python snake is supposed to impress its prey with its beautiful shiny skin only to slowly squeeze the life out of it.
I Write in Context
This post is not about the politics on the ground in Kenya. I always try to write about anything in the context of physics, social media, and economic growth and development. Professor Lumumba has captured the attention of many Africans on social media platforms. They agree with the way that he has articulated our challenges. The professor is a motivational speaker par excellence and has probably won many court battles as a lawyer. However, he has lost a few fans after he seemed to suppress the arguments of the opposition. Whether he was right or not is not the argument. The people have the final say on his legacy. In Africa, incumbents are viewed with suspicion when it comes to elections and rigging.
Do then Talk
I’m here to highlight how one’s activities in the public domain are now under scrutiny from the entire globe. They decide on the value that you’re creating. Building a trusted brand takes time, but it takes no time to destroy. Professor Lumumba was seen as anti-establishment until he decided to defend Kenyatta. The defence is considered to be contradictory to what he stands for after one listens to all his speeches. He is a new breed of pan Africans who want to rebrand Africa as an economic player. When you decide to speak for Africa or many issues, you run the risk of the conflict of interest. The fundamental problem is when you talk about what other people should do to fix things. Some people will ask what you have done about the challenges from your you stand. It’s easy to tell other people what to do, but what are you doing about it? Motivational speaking should not about articulating what is going wrong and what we should do. It about what you have done. Tell us what you have done to motivate us. If I want to motivate you to write a book, I must show you the books that I have written and how I have written them. My integrity is left intact. If you want to motivate us about how to a run a country, then show us how to do it. We have opinions, but those opinions will soon lack credibility if we have no corresponding proof of concept.
Conflict of Interest
I used to debate a lot until the questions kept coming. I was asked to show evidence of what I had done. So I decided to write books, and I continue to do so. Now I can talk about my books and how to write them. If I try to sell my books at every opportunity, people will start to avoid me. So I have to talk about how I write them. I have to help others do the same. It is up to the readers to decide on the quality of my works. The more I create, the more choice people have to take action on the quality. Many public officials in Africa face the problem of conflict of interest. They are politicians who are also professionals. Sometimes their career interests may conflict with their political positions. A lawyer with a senior leadership position in the opposition cannot be seen to be representing a ruling party bigwig in a case of corruption. You cannot defend the person you have accused of corrupt practices in the past. But you want to feed the family, and this is a high paying client? Although you have not committed a crime, you have compromised your moral position. The people can no longer trust you. Trust is the new currency in a world where we are exposed daily. The truth will win over pretences.
In Africa, we have political problems which have forced most professionals into politics. By dabbling in political battles, our professional standing is compromised, and we run the risk of losing trust with the people and denting our brands. What is your take on Professor Lumumba? Has his integrity been tarnished? Should people choose between becoming career politicians and a lifelong professional career?