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When a continent celebrates age instead of achievements. African Union @ 55, What are we celebrating? – © Williams Osei, WILLS ANTI-CORRUPTION FOUNDATION – WAF Africa.

I have written this paper to annoy and irritate anyone who reads. When the wise African is annoyed and irritated, he is moved to make corrections. If Africa has lost the last fifty-five years, we cannot afford to lose the next forty-five years. African Union @100 must not be as empty as this! Is Africa thinking right?

Writer: Williams Osei, Director, WAF AFRICA

Date: 25th May, 2018

It is 25th May again, fifty-five years since the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now known as the African Union (AU) came into existence. I have been authorised neither to go to work nor school, it is a holiday. Yes! Africa @55. As I walk on the streets of Cape Coast, the former capital city of our beloved country, Ghana; stores are closed, government offices are closed, even some market women who are usually not moved by such holidays did not assume post to ply their usual trade. Africa is 55years today!


The African Liberation Day (African Union Day) is celebrated every year on the 25th of May to mark the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now known as the African Union (AU). It is celebrated by many Africans, governments of African Countries, organizations, groups and Activists in Africa and elsewhere with ceremonies, concerts and other activities. The origin of African Day can be traced back to a group of African countries who felt that they had achieved liberation hence did set this very day aside to celebrate their freedom and joy. In the midst of these celebrations, with a temporary halt of productivity, a question remains unanswered, IS AFRICA REALLY FREE? If Africa is indeed free, then we have every reason to close down schools, government and private works for the celebration of our liberation day. If not, then what is Africa celebrating?


It is no news for a continent to turn fifty-five in the twenty –first century. It looks funny when we pride ourselves with age instead of achievements. Yes, we are fifty-five, but by whose effort? It is just a matter of days and years. It is so obvious that if you came into existence in 1963, you will surely be 55years in 2018. Even Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda, Sékou Toure of Guinea and some of the very people who sat at the first conference of the African Union on 25th of May, 1963, knew that Africa will turn 55 in 2018 because it was founded in 1963. You don’t expect to be a year old in 2018 if you were born in 1963. It is not by our effort that we are 55 today. It is a matter of time. The most important issue we have overlooked is for us to assess and see if our level of liberation (Development anchored in not depending on the White man) is equivalent to the fifty-five years we pride ourselves with. It is not imagined liberation we want, it is not empty celebrations we need, African Leaders must rise! Africa must rise! Africa is sick!



 will briefly look at the state of the fifty-five-year-old “free” Africa under three headings.


Africa, what do you lack? We have been blessed with fertile land, yet we cannot feed ourselves. We feed on the surplus of food from those who do not have even a quarter of our natural resources. Yet we set a day aside to celebrate freedom. What freedom are we talking about? Give me a break! Africa. Maybe I am the only stranger in this Jerusalem. Africa doesn’t know what she wants. Africa imports almost everything: rice, tomatoes, meat, milk, sugar, even fish with this large Gulf of Guinea sea “on our nose” yet we have no shortage of Professors and Doctors in the field of Agriculture. What are we celebrating? Our ministers of Agriculture and professors in the field of Agriculture grow crops in their air conditioned offices and V8s. They do not serve the continent; the continent rather serves them. Someone should start thinking right. The African must rise!


African leaders have been affected with a virus called “Only my stomach matters” What is wrong with the African mind?  “Our problem is not a lack of resources, but a deficit in resourcefulness” S. K. Pipim. We are fifty –five years, yet we do not behave like a fifty-five year old person. Give the African the opportunity to lead and the first policy is to steal. “….Armed Robbers with pens as their weapons” Williams Osei, WAF Africa.  “Africans have got innocent faces yet their hearts and minds are filled with acts of corruption” Williams Osei, WAF Africa. Corruption has become the order of the day. “Africa has become the home of bad leadership and Corruption. Africans are not ashamed to sell their integrity”- Williams Osei, WAF Africa. Africa Must Rise!



It is so sad and heartbreaking that, a research paper from Ghana, yet to be published shows that, over sixty –five percent of our university students are corrupt. What is the future of our continent, if we are training our own thieves from our universities? What are we celebrating? Empty celebrations. Africa Must rise!

When one is asked to tackle the issue of corruption in Africa, particularly Ghana, you wouldn’t know where to start. Whether to start from the Jubilee House and end with Parliament, start with Supreme court and end with the police station or start with the university and end with the primary school. “Corruption has gained roots in Ghana. It has become chronic as if it’s a subject taught in Ghana schools.” Williams Osei. We are fifty-five years and we are making noise, yet we do not have just one institution in Ghana that works with integrity. I will not waste my time talking about those whose motto is ‘Service with Integrity” I reserve my comment. Sometimes, it appears to me that, some of us need the CPU of a computer to think as humans. It is Friday, a holiday, we will enjoy the holiday and steal from Ghana and our respective countries on Monday. “We undertake our evil acts on weekdays and disturb God on Fridays and on weekends” Williams Osei, WAF Africa. What are we celebrating? Africa Must Rise!

In my country Ghana, an attempt has been made by the president, H. E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufu-Addo to curb corruption. I am making reference to the appointment of the Special Prosecutor. I pray that, he really means the picture he has painted. This is because, in Africa, deception is the order of the day: when you are assigned to fight corruption, you are not expected to fight, you are expected to only appear to be fighting corruption. I pray that, the Appointment of Mr. Martin Amidu as special Prosecutor in the fight against the corruption sickness in Ghana is not one of their political deceptions. African Politicians cannot be trusted; they are dangerous than any disease you can imagine. Africa Must Rise!


Africa, what do you lack? Africa is the richest continent in terms of resources, yet the poorest. Africa is blessed with unlimited number of resources, gold, timber, oil, coltan, diamond, bauxite etc. yet Africa is the poorest continent on the face of the earth. What is wrong with us? Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it best, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed”. We have our resources yet foreigners control and take a greater portion of what belongs to us. What a pity! I usually feel embarrassed that Africans especially Ghanaians do not learn. Our culture is even against how we have allowed the whites to take a greater portion of our oil, gold and other natural resources. In Ghana, let’s say Kofi is the owner of a land and Kwadwo comes for Kofi’s land and farms on it, the farm produce or the farm itself is shared among Kofi and Kwadwo in the ratio 2 : 1 respectively. We call this “Y3 ma y3n ky3” “Do it and let us share…..Lol ..Ghana English ” Kofi who is the owner gets 2/3 and Kwadwo who is the laborer gets 1/3. Why have we allowed these white laborers to take what belongs to us (Owners)? Africa is not thinking. Yet we set a day aside to celebrate freedom. Give me a break, Ghana! What slavery is more than this? With all due respect. If they (White Laborers) cannot give us (Owners) a greater portion of what belongs to us, let them go away. We enter into these unfair agreements because of the selfishness of some of our leaders. What are we celebrating? Is Africa thinking Right?


Suggestions to my beloved Africa

  • We should change our mindset. I call it the “self-mindset of the African”. We should learn individually to put our continent and respective countries first. We should not enter into any agreement on behalf of our respective countries in our own selfish interests. Africans are greedy yet “religious”. We should walk the talk. We need a change of mindset not empty celebrations.
  • We should learn to sacrifice. To be honest, the twenty-first century Africans do not have a spirit of sacrifice. Whatever they do, they expect to get something even bigger than what they do for their respective countries. One of the reasons why the ordinary African does not sacrifice for his/her country is because our leaders have no spirit of sacrifice. The Member of parliament sits in a committee meeting and takes more than the salary of a teacher as allowance. How do we expect the ordinary African to sacrifice if our leaders are not setting examples? We need the spirit of sacrifice. Africa must rise!
  •   Anyone who engages in corruption must be prosecuted, irrespective of their political affiliation and ethnic background. Africans do not condemn acts of corruption if it is from their political parties or ethnic groups. “Yes, he is a thief, but he is our thief” Prof. P. L. O. Lumumba. That is the behavior of the twenty-first century African.
  • Africans must learn to avoid politics after elections and think Africa. The politics of “my party does no wrong” must end. Ghana for instance, NPP members think H. E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufu-Addo and the NPP government do no wrong. NDC members also think H. E. John Dramani Mahama, former president of the republic of Ghana and the NDC party did no wrong. Every sensitive issue, the African wants to involve politics. Africa must Rise! The worst people in this unethical act are the educated. “The problem of Africa has always been the educated, we are the worst in indiscipline, corruption, injustice etc.” Williams Osei, WAF Africa.Africa must rise!
  •       We should pay attention to Agriculture. Our ministers, especially Ministers of Agriculture should get out of their air conditioned V8s and offices and work. We do not grow crops in air conditioned offices and V8s. Our leaders should learn to serve than to be served. Those of us who have acquired knowledge in Agriculture should help the farmers on the grounds with our acquired knowledge. “Crops are not grown in books and pamphlets” Williams Osei, WAF Africa.  Africa Must Rise.
  • Money utilized in these empty celebrations must be channeled into achieving measurable developmental initiatives which will be worth celebrating, other than wasting money and stifling productivity on these worthless celebrations.

My fellow African, if there was a time that we became serious and built Africa, it is now! Let us Reflect, Assess and Evaluate the current state of our continent and our respective countries before we plan any celebration. EMPTY CELEBRATIONS ARE NOT WHAT WE WANT. It is no news to turn fifty-five in 2018 if you were born in 1963. We spend money to celebrate what we have not achieved. Africa Must Rise!


Organization: Wills Anti-corruption Foundation (WAF Africa)

Writer: Williams Osei, Executive Director

Editor: Daniel B. Sarpong, UCC, Ghana.

Email: [email protected] ,[email protected]

Tel: + 233 545 322 678

Integrity is not for sale!

Wills Anti-corruption Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to fight poor leadership, corruption, injustice, laziness, poor ethics and other poor attitudes among Africans especially Ghanaians through public education. We undertake the above duty through

  • Public lectures/Seminars
  • Research and writing

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Thank you.



Till We Get There!

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