Invest in research that focusses on African values, PLO Lumumba says

PLO Lumumba in a past event. He wants researchers to use methods that are relevant to the African context.

Prominent lawyer and Pan-Africanist Patrick Loch Otieno (PLO) Lumumba has made a clarion call to African institutions to prioritize investment in authentic Afrocentric public opinion research.

Speaking at the recently concluded inaugural conference of the World Association for Public Opinion Research Sub-Saharan Africa (WAPOR SSA) Chapter in Mombasa, Lumumba emphasized the importance of finding solutions to Africa’s unique problems from within the continent.

He expressed doubt about the accuracy of opinion polls in Africa, suggesting that they may not accurately reflect African perspectives due to their Eurocentric and American-centric nature.

Lumumba stressed the importance of research that is sensitive to Africa’s realities, urging researchers, pollsters and statisticians to prioritize the continent’s needs.

“If you look at our standardizations and with due respect to the Kenya Bureau of Standards, it is ISO certified. What is the origin of ISO? Those are Eurocentric, America-centric organizations whose standardization many times has nothing to do with the continent of Africa but we are shy to say so. We have repeated it so often that we think that is the gold standard,” reckoned the outspoken Pan-Africanist.

Addressing the challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and climate change, Lumumba emphasized the importance of education and research in preparing Africa for the future.

“The United Arab Emirates, Dubai today has become the economic Mecca for most Africans. 30 years ago it was a back water desert but today it is a badge of honour when you visit Dubai. What do they have? What did they do, how did they use information?” he posed.

In relation to the realities, Lumumba called on researchers, pollsters and statisticians participating in the conferences to engage in meaningful research that would contribute to Africa’s development.

“We are asking what kind of education we are subjecting our children to. We need to determine whether the education is the right one. In Agriculture we are asking the same question when we are dealing with the issue of climate change,” he stated.

WAPOR SSA President, who is also the Founder and CEO of Infotrak Research and Consulting Angela Ambitho, said the conference has brought together all the stakeholders, including polling companies and agencies, the media and students in the public opinion research with the motive of making it better.

“So that we can understand whether it be for public policy and government, in business, whether it be through understanding media consumption, consumer behaviour, it is important to take note of the pivotal role that opinion research plays,” said Ambitho.


Govt asked to conduct survey on withheld certificates and amounts attached

By Hilton Mwabili

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