Memo to their excellencies in Africa, By Wole Olaoye


Reading Time: 5 mins read

Your Excellencies, greetings from Citizensville. It is not fashionable that anyone from this valley of citizens would nurse the pretension of counselling you as you perch on your high pedestals all over Africa. But times have changed. This is 2023.

Many of you still live in the era of England’s King James I (from 1603–1625) who famously propounded the self-serving theory of the Divine Rights of Kings. Like James, many of you think you are gods; you fail to come to terms with your mortality. But Your Excellencies, you’re not irreplaceable. There was a head of state before you; there will be many after you expire.

African Whirlwind

There is trepidation in high places because of the gale of coups sweeping through some countries, especially in West Africa. The only guarantee against a military coup is good governance. Witness what happened in Nigeria in 1976 when a group of soldiers shot their head of state in Lagos and tried to take over the government. Ordinary civilians poured onto the streets in support of the government headed by the slain General Murtala Mohammed. 

The supreme irony of these times is that recent coups in Africa have been bloodless, while elections have been brutally gory. Your shameful conducts give democracy a bad name. Don’t you know that if you have the support of the people, they will defend you to the last man? It is futile, for example, for deposed President Ali Bongo of Gabon to beg us to make a ‘big noise’ for his release from detention. Noise? You’re on your own, Sir! In the final analysis, the people are the state! 

Americans and Europeans have no apologies when articulating their national or regional interests. Who is looking out for Africa? Our leaders are busy negotiating deals for their families and cronies at the expense of their people. Nigeria is currently saddled with some mind-boggling judgement debts on account of dubious deals negotiated by government officials to the detriment of their fatherland. In many cases, as long as the neo-colonialists give generous bribes to African leaders, they can steal the whole continent. How many of you are prepared to stand up for your people?

Europe Is Re-inventing Itself 

While many of you are having a ball at the expense of your people, Europeans are facing up to the reality that the system of looting Africa and planting local surrogates as leaders will soon be over.

Europe’s total population is projected to fall by 5 per cent between 2010 and 2050. Notably, the decline is projected at 17 per cent among 25 to 64 year-olds. This will translate to less demand for goods and services and therefore less growth; and less dynamic societies. If things continue the way they are, with a dwindling population and less number of African slave-countries to loot, Europe will be in trouble. It is plain common sense, not charity, that is making some European and North American countries encourage new immigrants; otherwise some of those countries will simply die out. 

In comparison, a study conducted by Amadu Jacky Kaba revealed that 

Africa’s population increased by over one billion, from 228.7 million in 1950 to 1.341 billion in 2020: 431 million in Eastern Africa; 404 million in Western Africa; 247.5 million in Northern Africa; 193.5 million in Middle Africa; and 64.5 million in Southern Africa. 

Of the 1.341 billion people in Africa in 2020, 755.92 (56.4 per cent) million are aged 24 and younger; and 533.5 (39.8 per cent) million are under the age of 15. In demographic terms, Africa is blessed with the right population mix for great transformation. However, its leaders are neither prepared for current challenges nor future prospects. They cling on to power even where they’ve been ravaged by old age or become incontinent.

Can’t Stop Sunrise

President Paul Barthélemy Biya’a bi Mvondo, what are you still doing in Cameroon’s presidential palace at the age of 90, and having spent 48 years at the helm? You became Prime Minister on 30 June 1975 and President on 4 November 1982. The country is falling apart under your geriatric gaze. Please leave. 

President (General) Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, you are the longest-serving president (1979 till date) of any country ever and the second-longest consecutively-serving current non-royal national leader in the world (after Cameroon’s Paul Biya). Your country is the third richest in Africa, with a per capita income of $8,462.30, yet 70 per cent of your people live in penury. It’s time to go.

President (General) Denis Sassou Nguesso, you have been in and out of presidential power since 1979. If there’s anything you wanted to achieve for the Republic of the Congo, you ought to have done so long ago. You have stayed too long in the bush latrine. All manners of flies have started perching on you.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, I confess that I am one of your erstwhile admirers. You are a well grounded African patriot who will not point to his father’s compound with the left hand. But all good things must end. If you’re still nursing the dream of instituting a dynasty in Uganda, remember the African fable of how Fate neutralised the tortoise. 


President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, after 30 years in power, you will go down in history as the ultimate dictator.  Under your watch, Eritrea has never had a functioning constitution. No elections. No legislature. You are the sole executive, judiciary and military power in Eritrea. No tears will be shed if coupists knock on your door.

President Paul Kagame, your place in history as a true African liberator and patriot is assured. Whether as a general or a statesman, you have proven your worth. Now, identify a successor and exit the scene. Anyone who says Rwanda can’t do without you is hoping to attend your funeral.

President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, press freedom is non-existent under your government. Your country is placed 176th out of 179 countries in the 2020 ranking of Reporters Without Borders. You’ve monopolised power since 1999. Leave the throne before the throne leaves you.

President Hage Gottfried Geingob, you were the first prime minister of Namibia from 1990 to 2002, and served as prime minister again from 2012 to 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 you served as minister of Trade and Industry. In November 2014, you were elected president of Namibia. For 33 years you have been in the corridors of power. Must you wait until you’re smoked out?

President Faure Gnassingbé, son of General Gnassingbé Eyadema who was the arrow-head used by the French to assassinate Togo’s President Sylvanus Olympio in 1963 because Olympio’s first loyalty was to Togo rather than France. You snatched power after your father’s death and have cuddled it for 18 years. France is happy with you only because you are their stooge. Beware, someday soon, the people will rise…

Arise Africa!

The African Union ought to be more than a mere talk shop. African heads of state find their voices only when there’s a coup because they fear that it could happen to them. See how the European Union is making one powerful entity of its member countries! AU should either wake up or it will consign itself to irrelevance. As far as Africa’s future is concerned, nobody can stop the sunrise!









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