“…the best thing about millennials is that we grew up at the tail end of real music- the end of real soul and the magnificent 90’s RnB at the peak of Boy Band music!”- Godwin Matsiko
Our millennial feature this time is the endearing Godwin Matsiko, an ambitious corporate lawyer with General Counsel (GC) experience in banking & finance, education management and delivery of renewable energy via pay go business model. He is passionate about social impact investment and sustainable and inclusive development ventures. He has also lectured law students in different disciplines including extractives, energy, political thought and corporate law. Godwin is a serial entrepreneur having started several ventures growing some into finance cooperatives and independent consultancies. He is managing partner of Cymbell Advocates and a director for its affiliate entities in general consulting and due diligence services. In addition to his corporate law bias, Godwin is a sought-after governance expert and consultant. He has taken on cases challenging major policy in social security law, education management policy and electoral processes. He has more recently been a lead campaign consultant of one of the presidential candidates in the recently concluded presidential elections in Uganda, being responsible for end-to-end strategy and execution of the entire campaign process. In his free time, Godwin is an author with two published books and several opinions published in journals and leading dailies across Africa on topical governance and development issues. He considers his style of writing a tongue in cheek satire akin to the likes of Jonathan Swift and George Orwell.
1. What makes practice exciting for him?
What excites Godwin about practice is the ability to be part of so many people’s success stories. In his previous work as in-house counsel, he was, to an extent, involved in every part of the business; supporting different teams as they built the vision. In practice, he gets to do this for more than one client. He knows he can put a small brick to the growth of businesses and help many people achieve their aspirations. Also being part of someone’s support team at a time when the person is navigating a few legal challenges keeps his drive to anchor the ship to better days for the person. That to him is everything and more!
2. What is Godwin’s philosophy of impacting the nation through the practice of law?
In many ways, for him, the law is an indispensable tool of social engineering; susceptible to abuse by rogue regimes but when used properly, it can picket society within the bulwarks of civility across many generations.
Through the practice of law, he champion causes to directly purge excesses of those in governance and to help society anticipate legal challenges that may destabilise constitutionality and the expressed wishes of citizens in a given republic. He reckons that:
“a legal practitioner should hold himself to a higher cause and approach his work as a noble act of service for the greater good.”
He has been privileged to represent clients championing touchy issues in governance and civic space; as well as consulted for a presidential campaign which has helped him learn a lot about the responsibility and pivotal role that lawyers play in shaping the course of a nation. He thinks lawyers can do more to translate the culture, aspirations and our people’s way of life into the black and white litany required for leaders to govern within those dimensions.
For example, while consulting and on the campaign trail, it was gut-wrenching to see the abject poverty prevalent in areas where there are priceless extractive and geographic resources. Through pro bono schemes and partnership with strategic investors, lawyers can help champion issues around land tenure, community participation and local content in development projects; as well as enlightening leaders and the populace alike on how to maximise devolved management of resources.
More so, he thinks most African countries he has taken keen interest in have been shortchanged in infrastructure deals, aid and development projects by partners in the West and China. He thinks African lawyers need better skilling and tenacity in the offices of our Attorneys and Solicitors General to better safeguard our interests.
3. What is the next big thing he is working on?
For Godwin, at Cymbell Advocates, they will be pushing the envelope a bit stronger this year to give the big boys in the legal space a run for their money. They have been able to deploy talent, processes and technology which is putting them on the frontier of boutique firms delivering a superior client experience that adds real-time and sustainable value to their clients. He believes they will continue to do that and iterate to scale our offerings and improve on overall Net Promoter Score (NPI).
He hopes he can soon help African governments develop proper regulation for technology and the fast-descending artificial intelligence which portends to threaten Africa’s very sovereignty yet its leaders are fast asleep and fighting each other for meagre parcels and flag posts.
He knows he is not the proverbial Dull Boy Jack, so in a few months as well; he will be unveiling a big fiction project that has been in the kitchen for a while. Doing his bit to contribute on the journey towards enlightenment. He promises all of us a good read, worth every penny!
4. What does Godwin consider the millennials greatest strength?
He dare says,
“the best thing about millennials is that “we grew up at the tail end of real music- the end of real soul and the magnificent 90’s RnB at the peak of Boy Band music!”
Godwin believes millennials are the first to grapple with the boom and rapid change of technology; therefore, adaptability has been a demand rather than a luxury for this generation. For millennials who have embraced the changing skill sets required to survive in our time, he mentions that there is agility and tenacity that will do them in good stead. He understands that millennials can realise where the market is shifting and quickly google and YouTube their way onto the shortlist, collaborate across markets and not rely on a secretary to type and proof our emails.
5. What is he currently reading; and what is his parting shot?
He just finished Phillip Caputo’s Acts of Faith, a masterpiece as he recalls it and Adultery by Paul Choelho, he notes it is a great one on dissecting emotions. He is currently reading Manchester Happened by the fabulous Nansubuga Makumbi, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and David Anderson’s Histories of the Hanged.
As his parting shot, he shares what he had been reflecting upon recently. Godwin notes,
“Once you live for a higher purpose and keep your ambition, limits are but a malleable mirage that is not worth factoring in. Let us all go be astronauts if humanity requires it, there is always a shortage of good people taking on bears!”
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