Cameroon in a Tailspin

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The Unity Palace in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon.

When Ethiopia was famine-stricken in the 1980s, Cameroon was already a middle-income country. While Ethiopia is presently making great strides in order to become an emergent country in the next couple of years, Cameroon is still reeling from the tailspin the country was sent into many years ago. Cameroonians from all walks of life contend that their country has reached its nadir and is even digging its own grave. Actually, this retrogression started some three decades ago. Cameroonians at home and abroad complain about the fragmentation and decay of the social fabric. Evil, corruption, arbitrariness, cronyism, the law of the jungle and the looting of the public purse have  gained a foothold almost  in every nook and cranny of the  society. Corruption has also permeated into the judiciary. Even sorcery-related crimes  have come down the pike in some neighborhoods .

Many people around the globe argue that Cameroon, erstwhile a middle-income country and today still a potentially very rich nation, has been impoverished by  Ahidjo´s successor.

Ahmadou Ahidjo — the first president of Cameroon — is the one who did away with multiparty democracy in Cameroon. He victimized some of his compatriots  and spilled the blood of other Cameroonians. However, he left a thriving country with prosperous public utilities and state-owned companies. Cameroonian students at home and abroad had their monthly scholarships paid. Civil servants received high wages and salaries.

All Cameroonians are aware of the current bleak picture and dismal situation of their country. Whenever they are confronted with this fact, they would reply, « the rot starts at the top« , which is not wrong. They pass the buck to the current ruler, the ministers, high-ranking officials and other bigwigs of the country. It is incontrovertible that leaders ought to set a good example. Yet each   Cameroonian should also try to set a good example even if the ruler and his associates are and will remain the first to be held liable for the common weal or the woes of the whole country. Even a former minister  said not very long ago that the current ruler of Cameroon « holds the key to the weal and woe of Cameroon » . That former minister ist still member of the ruling party in Cameroon.

The city of Bassaa ( commonly known as « Douala ») is the economic, commercial and financial hub of Cameroon.

The current ruler of Cameroon has over the years said that he is bent on eradicating the scourge and behemoth of corruption. According to Article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, the President and his ministers, members of the two Houses of Parliament,  high-ranking officers, elected office holders have a duty to disclose their assets at the beginning and at the end of their (political) office or tenure. Now then, this Article 66 was designed to bring about transparency and to further or enhance the campaign against corruption and the embezzlement of public funds. To this day, Article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon has really never been complied with. Thus, the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon is being flouted by those who are supposed  to see to it and make sure that it is complied with by all Cameroonians — including their ruler.

President Issoufou of Niger and his ministers disclose their assets every year. President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo of Nigeria have already disclosed their assets because they know that they are publicly accountable. They want to put the kibosh on corruption in Nigeria. In Benin, the new governement headed and led by President Talon cancelled the results of « fraudulent competitive entry examinations » .

Most Cameroonians always submit that their current ruler has focused on hogging the highest office and the attendant political power, on  serving himself and in the  process condoning the looting of the public purse by his sycophants.

It is no wonder that things go awry in Cameroon. The rule of law must pervade the whole Cameroonian society and Cameroon has no other choice but to be a state unter the rule of law. Otherwise the country will never bounce back or recover from its current decline and decay. Now then, the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon is the Basic Law of that country.

The downtown of Yaoundé, capital city of Cameroon.

I happened to meet and confront one Cameroonian lady with the gist of one speech the current ruler of Cameroon had just delivered.The lady squarely told me that Cameroonians no longer lend on credence to the speeches delivered by the current ruler of Cameroon because he only fobs his compatriots off with hot air.

The ruck or plebs in Cameroon blame the decline and decay of Cameroon on their current ruler. They often voice and couch the view that their current ruler and his associates like fiddling and junketing while calling on their compatriots to live on a shoestring.

Most Cameroonians think that their country can bail itself out only if their current ruler exhibits or evinces his love for his country by stepping down or retiring. Many Cameroonians believe that their country can catch up or overcome its current backwardness only if all Cameroonians cotton to, imbibe and practice good will; uphold und further meritocracy; and above all practice honesty because « honesty is the best policy » — as the saying goes. Last but not least, only an outright and a genuine devolution of power and resources to the ten regions — administered and managed by governors who are elected by direct universal suffrage —  making up Cameroon can be instrumental in overcoming the current challenges and the deadlock or gridlock Cameroon is facing up to.

Author: Mathias Victorien Ntep II — Frankfurt (Main), Germany
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