Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
“I have lived now 27 years in seven different countries from Russia to California, trust me, corruption is not the main problem of Africa. Brain drain is the problem. Corruption maybe is just a by-problem,” said Dr Papa.
Dr Papa, Director of Italy’s Enel Foundation, highlighted human capital flight (brain drain) because of its adverse impact on most developing countries notwithstanding the personal advantages that accrue to individuals who emigrate.
Ethics and Institutions
Dr Papa was giving a keynote address at a roundtable discussion with 70 law students of Kenya’ Strathmore University.
Kenya’s future lawyers, on a study tour, were all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed during the event held at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (La Pontificia Università della Santa Croce). The theme of the discussion was “Ethics and institutions, what prospects?”
Dr Papa is actively involved in international think-tank activities. He is also a member of Harambee Africa International, the organisers of the roundtable discussion and knowledge sharing held with the Strathmore students. Harambe Africa International is an NGO inspired by St. Josemaría Escrivá.
Corruption has no skin colour or geography
“Corruption doesn’t have a skin colour or geography… the world is similar everywhere. Africa is just another part of the world like anywhere else. Most people looking at Africa, today, are not asking the right questions, at least not from the point of view of my sector (Energy),” said Dr Papa.
Africa’s leaders must put public money to good use
Louisa Ochilo, a Strathmore university student, told Vatican News, that if The Powers That Be (TPTB) put public funds to good use, some of Africa’s finest would choose to stay.
“It is true that a lot of Africans choose to live abroad, but the problem, I still think, is corruption because you can’t work for a system that is going against you. As much as you may have all the ideas, all the innovations, all the inventions, if the system is not working with you, then you would rather go to a place where the system will work with you. So, once we get rid of the selfishness and corruption, and we are willing to put public money to good use then the people who keep leaving will want to stay and build the country,” said Louisa.
Clear thinking and hard work
Dr Papa further encouraged the visiting students to embrace hard work, clear thinking and aspire for excellence.
“Whatever lawyer you want to be –good, clear thinking and hard work!” He emphasised,” adding, “The point of applying ethics starts with preparing yourself to be a good lawyer. Even if you are the most ethical person in the world, if you have zero preparation, your statements will have zero impact,” the Enel Foundation Director exhorted the students.
Asked about the importance of ethics in the law profession, Victor Ndambuki Nzioki, also a student at Strathmore, said that, “Ethics should follow the natural precepts of justice. In every action we do as lawyers, professional ethics is demanded,” Victor said.
Answering a question on perceptions that lawyers in Africa seem preoccupied with advancing their personal financial situations and careers at the expense of the ideals of truth and justice, Louisa and Victor were categorical: Kenyan lawyers, as well as those elsewhere on the African continent, should shun corruption and provide services as prescribed by the Advocates (Remuneration) Act.
Many countries have minimum charges that an Advocate may charge for legal services.
Louisa and Victor also said Africa’s lawyers must be seen to be doing more Pro Bono work.
Pro Bono services involve doing legal work for the public good or without charge to the client.