Nov 24, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba of Kenya is a groundbreaking thinker. He is known for speaking powerfully to the plight of Africa and its peoples. This one-of-a-kind activist has inspired many Africans, and others across the globe. In any part of the world where there are hungry, unhappy and poverty-stricken people, Professor Lumumba has been a much hailed figure. He has fearlessly spoken of truths that the advanced world prefers to remain unspoken and unaddressed. This Kenyan has denounced leaders across the African continent for their failures in doing well by the people who gave them power.
A recent position on a particularly sensitive subject is sure to generate alarms and provoke a fierce whiplash of criticism from some corners.
This Kenyan is adamant that coup d’états have their purposes. It is not a blanket nod of approval for such a critical step, but a development that has utility in certain circumstances. According to Lumumba, when governments and leaders are deaf and unresponsive to the woes of citizens, then something has to give. The situation cannot continue indefinitely, not when people in rich countries exist in unending hardship and agony, not when their leaders betray them.
It is certainly a radical position, a revolutionary departure from standing norms, where democratically elected governments reflecting the will of the people are ousted from office. It was where Lumumba stood in the aftermath of the coup d’état developments in Niger and Gabon. His thinking is that this is a legitimate stream of expression by the people who are thoroughly disturbed by the way government and leaders hold citizens hostage, then subject them to a litany of enduring horrors.
It is an unpardonable horror when poor countries rich in natural resources still have significant fractions of their population that are barely making ends meet. It is a horror when many citizens in resource rich countries are forced to wonder about how they will get by from one day to the next. It is a horror, indeed, when those same poor citizens are weighed down by the fear about what kind of condition they will be in at the end of each day. It is what should not be in those African countries overflowing with oil, diamonds, uranium, copper, and cobalt, among many other much-in-demand commodities globally.
At the same time, when struggling citizens on the sidelines observe the families and friends of those in power living high and sweet, then their smoldering resentments intensify. It is of the joyful haves and the wretched have nots in countries that are rich, and the catalyst for what the people will not stand for much longer. In Lumumba’s considerations, it is in such fertile ground that the revolutionary is likely to occur, as people watch their children get sick or die before their eyes, know their own gnawing stomachs, and know that tomorrow and the next month and year, it will be the same pain of need and no relief.
More pointedly, Professor Lumumba did not pull any punches: in such circumstances, he is for the revolutionary that expresses itself in coup d’états. Coups represent an outpouring of pent-up disgust and grimness of the harsh conditions in which many in the population are compelled to live. The choice is an extremely tension-filled and problematic one: yielding to the atrocities of foreign exploitation boosted by conniving and crooked local leaders, as opposed to giving the freest expressions to the seething discontents and unending pain experienced at more and more punishing levels. Guyanese are rich statistically, yet information and financially poor in reality. If Guyanese truly know how much oil resources have been discovered, powerful anger could flare, given how they are cheated, their harsh circumstances.
People can only take so much for so long, and no protective rhetoric about democracy and democratically elected is sufficient to hold back the people after their ordeals. He is critical of exploitative foreign partners, and even more condemnatory of comprised local politicians who sell out their people for plenty for themselves, and pittances for those who need help the most. Lumumba is unflinching and courageous in this frank position of his. Leaders the world over should listen, there are lessons for all.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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