When you put a mouse in a box, in an attempt to study it, you cannot say you’ve fully understood the mouse outside the box. In essence, what you have is just a mouse in a box. You only understand a mouse in a three dimensional box. Full stop, not more!

In the same way, a prisoner is confined by the prison. To understand the prisoner, one ought to understand the dimensions—of morality, of legality, and of law enforcement—that define the prison. To mention but a few. The prisoner is not the man out on his own farm.

To understand African leadership, yes, one must recognize the sheer presence of “leadership,” in the same manner that one recognizes a mouse. More, one must recognize a kind of leadership confined within a box, restricted within the prison of imperialism and neocolonialism. African leadership (like Nkrumah’s leadership, like Gaddafi’s leadership, like Sankara’s leadership, like Kagame’s leadership) is not the one, out there, on its own farm, dictating and directing which way a farm animal must turn on its own merit. No! Africa leadership is just a mouse in a USAFRICOM box—no matter how fine the box.

This is not to say that the aim of the mouse keeper is not to make the box bigger, nicer, cleaner and more humane for the mouse. Or that, the aim of the prison warden is not to make the prison bigger, nicer, cleaner and more humane for the prisoner. But the mouse keeper and the prison warden are both vested in keeping the mouse and the prisoner confined—unable to roam free on their own merit. That is, both the keeper and the warden are more interested in making sure that the mouse or the prisoner is unable to be free!

Hence the aim of economic, political and sociological analyses, should not be limited to studying the relationship between the mouse and the keeper, or between the prisoner and the prison warden. More, the aim of a truly sociopolitical and economic analysis ought to be based on the nature of the mouse keeper, or the prison warden, in order that he can be completely removed, so the mouse or the prisoner can break free of their own accord for their own self-assertive being.

The aim of all analyses towards African leadership should rather focus on the nature of imperialism, neocolonialism and USAFRICOM, which plague the continent daily. Not on the nature of the man or woman in leadership, necessarily. For no matter how many demands the prisoner makes for a bigger nicer more humane prison, the fact remains, he’s still confined within the four walls of a prison without the freedom for a truly self-assertive expression of his own humanity.


  1. One point however is the mouse isn’t aware about his imprisonment, and the keeper in this case seeks to make sure the box is desolate

  2. Shouldn’t the object then be to make the mouse aware of his unnatural confinement? It’s one thing for the prisoner to know that he is indeed a prisoner and another to be a prisoner but thinking that you are free. The latter is the plight of the African leader and people as a whole. And the more we get awarded and praised by the prison warden the more we have delusions of our freedom.

    This is why no African leader harbors goals that would necessarily destroy the box. China wants to rule the world, US wants to maintain its hegemony, the EU wants a greater control in its sphere, Israel wants to be the leading force in the Middle East, even Latin American nations are asserting their ideological independence but the African is satisfied with being the waste basket of the world. Our leaders, like Samson in the Bible, forget our natural rights as humans once we are in the seductive arms of Western power. It’s sad.

    • Absolutely! In a way, this is what you have explained through Pan Africanism. Pan Africanism perhaps seeks to bypass the recalcitrant leadership, and give power and voice to the people, to instill unparalleled confidence in the masses to the extent of both making the prisoner aware and more, building the verve necessary for destroying the box.

    • Exactly. The warden’s education enables you to live comfortably in the prison but Pan-Africanism has as its goal to break off from the prison and live comfortably as a free man and woman, equal to any other human on earth.

  3. Thought provoking .The ‘mouse ‘ usually has enough experts around him who like you are aware of who holds the Big Clubs in geopolitics,as it were ready to club the life out of any ‘mouse ‘ which wants to break out of confinement
    a) Economic self sufficiency PLUS ones own Nuclear deterrent like NK .Its a chess game requiring the mouse to outfox the warden

    Many like Saddam have been squished at the attempt

    b) mouse realises it’s in the box and has to keep outmanoeuvring the warden ,minute by minute in a grand geopolitical chess game ,hoping one day to break free with all the rest

    Narmer great write .Am sure what I’ve written falls short but still why not ?

  4. Pan Africanism exists in the intellect especially of Africa’s savvy academics .The majority of Africans it mean nothing to

    Both Pan Africanists and Africans politically and economically exist within Narmers Box.

    Any serious attempt to break out would involve military conflict as the warden will not allow really it
    Refer to Mitterrand talking down to Sankhara ….

    Sankhara cleverly broke out of the Box …to be clubbed eventually.

  5. Just as Atiga Jonas Atingdui points out that the mouse isn’t aware of being in a box, most of our leaders are unaware. Enticed by being named as ‘good’ leader in a western leader, s/he spends all energy mimicking to be best of what the warden or boxes keeper wants him to be. His education equipped him of what to think and not how to think. He is polished the art of being told what to do but has no ability to think of what to do. He is been told multiparty is the best of democracy but hasn’t mastered the courage to evaluate his own consensual nonpartisan polity. He is been taught to despise his culture and venerate that of the warden.

  6. The mouse has been kept from the greens, and fed with the hays, for so long that it has forgotten about the greens. In fact it sees the greens as non-nutritious chaffs and the hays super nutritious foods. What else can explain it’s persistence return into the confinement on own accord when the wild is so open to adventure. Ah well who can blame him, he is just a mouse after all.

  7. Good writing narmer but the saddest thing that can happen to any creature like the proverbial mouse u describe is knowing the truth and not being capable of doing anything about it. Until we learn how to love each other truly and speak the truth, and changing our avaricious ways change is bleak. How can a foreigner penetrate our rank and file if we r united? When the cat is away the mice r free so the saying goes but who is encouraging the cats to come back and chase us? Our begarly leaders who r not servant leaders. They have too big tommies to fill instead of thinking about u and me or posterity. Following the Creator’s laws and abiding by the rules of nature can be a way out. But this is deep and sadly only few people like u understand. Enjoy ur day.

    • Self hate is the veneration of the oppressor and you know the causes, needn’t bore you with that. Self love on the other hand isn’t for the lost or the wondering soul, it is for the souls that know the essence of life. The beautiful souls that know who they were, are and who they want to be. In essence they know why they are here on earth. Such souls see value in one another. As a matter of reality, the mouse is lost, but it would be found, and there it would find itself as well.


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