Dear Presidents/Prime ministers, On behalf of the poor people of Africa, I send you this protest letter. We are angry. Yes we the people are very angry. We have endured your ill conceived, hash and austere economic and social policies for quite too long. We have watched silently to see you and your cronies enjoy while we the masses continue to suffer. We have no jobs, no income, no savings and have no place to lay our heads while you and your selected few live in mansions at the expense of the very poor you are refusing to take care of. You have consistently ignored all our cry for help even though you know our plights very well. Are you not appalled by the scale of poverty and the living condition of the people? Are you not appalled to see children selling on the street instead of being in the classroom? Are you not appalled to see children sleeping rough on the streets of our capital cities and scavenging for food while you and you cronies frequent between five star hotels? Don't you care about the dignity of the people you claim to be serving? For years you have asked us to sacrifice and even today we are still sacrificing, but anytime we look at you and your circle of friends we see that you are in a different suit, in a different four wheel drive, in a different hotel, and in a company of ladies, surrounded by bodyguards. How many more years should we continue to sacrifice and tighten our belts why you and your cronies enjoy from our sweat? We cannot continue any longer. No we cannot. We are tired of all of you who call yourself leaders of the people. We are tired of the dictatorships, media censorship, torture, force imprisonment, wars and the instabilities. We are tired of being refugees. We are tired of seeing our children die of common preventable diseases. We are tired of sharing water from the same source with animals, water infested with bacteria and viruses. We are tired of lack of access to education, health, energy, food, medicines, shelter and clothing. We are tired of having to work with cutlasses and hoes in this 21st century. We are tired of having to rely on nature to plant our crops. We are tired of having to plant without fertilizers. We are tired of having to use 18th century seeds that yield next to nothing. We are tired of having to endure poverty, starvation, diseases, humiliation, torture, oppression, in your hands. Above all, we are tired of your excesses. We are tired of your corrupt practices and the looting of the treasuries. Your foreign bank accounts are swollen with hundreds of millions of dollars, pounds and Euros while hundreds of millions of people live on one dollar a day. We are tired of you using our money to procure arms for your own protection while children go to school barefooted and on empty stomach; while hospitals are without essential medicines; while factories are folding up for lack of electricity; and while harvested crops remain in the bush for lack of good roads. We are tired of all your inactions, the wait and see and the do nothing approaches to problem solving. There are many of you that we have not chosen or asked to lead us yet are carrying themselves as our leaders. Such people we demand should retire and allow elections to take place. We demand an end to torture in Egypt and starvation in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. We demand an end to the dictatorial rule in Libya, Egypt, Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Uganda and the Gambia. We demand an end to the instabilities in DR. Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Northern Uganda, Chad and Madagascar. We demand an end to the genocide in Darfur and the killing of innocent children, women and civilians. We demand an end to the official corruption and graft in Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Angola, DR. Congo, Chad, South Africa and Guinea. We demand an end to the eroding of democratic values in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon. We demand an end to the use of the continent as a hub for cocaine shipment to Europe. We demand better public services now. We demand better education, health, transport and telecommunication infrastructures now. We demand affordable housing now. We demand irrigation facilities, tractors, equipment and improved seeds for our farmers now. You've asked us to tighten our belts while you have loosened yours. This cannot go on any more. We are starving to death while you are developing protruding bellies. You are having lavish birthday parties when cholera and starvation is threatening us. We demand a share in the revenue from the sale of oil, gas, gold, diamond, timber, cocoa, coffee, coltan, manganese, copper, bauxite and tin ore. We demand a say in the way your governments are run; a say in the way you and your ministers are selected. We demand a say in the way you spend our money; and a say in the way contracts are awarded. It is not going to be business as usual anymore. We demand change now. We demand probity and accountability now. We demand political action to solve the numerous problems facing we the people. Look at the world around you. Don't you see or hear what is going in Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America? Can't you see that you and your people are being left behind? When you meet with your colleagues in Africa or sit in your offices, how many of the things you see or use are made here in Africa? Aren't you ashamed that after ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty years in power your people still use hoes and cutlasses for farming, tools their forefathers used before they were colonised? Aren't you ashamed that after all these years of independence your people cannot feed themselves; cannot read and write; rely on handouts from Europe and America; and the youth are in a hurry to leave the continent for you? Can't you see? Well, a word to the wise is enough but remember that you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time. We are watching. * This article first appeared in Modern Ghana. * Lord Aikins Adusei is an activist and anti-corruption campaigner. He blogs at www.iloveafrica2.blogspot.com. * Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at http://www.pambazuka.org/.