25 years from now, many of Cameroon’s political actors of today would have been dead and buried. If they are alive, Ferdinand Leopold Oyono would be about 102 years old, Paul Biya 98 years old, John Fru Ndi 90 years old, Augustin Frederick Kodock, about 98 years old, Adamu Ndam Njoya about 89 years old, Yondo Mandegue Black 93 years old and Garga Haman Adji 87 years old. Ahmadou Ali of the Extreme-North of Kolofata, a Kirdi, who had stated that his power comes from his extreme northern base and who is largely postulated as being next in line, according to France (and not Cameroonians) would be 84 years old.
Two years ago, President Biya, declared that he would like to live another 20 years. Many Cameroonians misconstrued this statement to mean that he would like to rule another 20 years. Some, provocatively, depending on your viewlens talked of another 20 years of misrule.
It is only prudent to try to predict, therefore what would be the tasks ahead for Cameroon’s next president about 20 years from now or maybe in 2011 or before, by happenstance.
Any keen observer of the politcal system in Cameroon would be concerned about what is happening in that triangle. Those involved in the occult and esoteric practices, alchemist Rosicrucians, geometrical positioners would know that there is something in the offing.
Geometrically speaking, the area of Cameroon above the earth in space, is a very vital area. Could it be where geostationary satellites are launched? Could it be where you get a maximum view of the world at different times of the earth’s orbit? Whatever the case maybe, there are satellites above there with various dissemination points on the earth, one of them being near Norwich in England. America’s energy policy is increasingly Africa-centric, especially in the Gulf of Guinea given the vast amounts of reserves, not only offshore as has traditionally been the case, but onshore(inland) as well. Onshore oil has always been a troublesome point in Africa given the political upheavals which is why America has always preferred oil offshore. The stakes are quite high and that onshore is worth risking, like in Tchad. A relatively stable atmosphere is therefore needed. Hence the military base which is coming up at Sao Tome et Principe and the American Ambassador’s Niels Marquadt’s, “intrusion” into Cameroon’s internal affairs. What then would be the tasks for Cameroon’s Next President to truly usher Cameroon into the 21st Century?
It is a little easier to approach this question from the angle of what the ills of the current dispensation are. And then move on to outline the tasks as in what the next president should not do. We can therefore assert, a priori that the current leadership is a Blessing in Disguise to Cameroon. Evidently, perhaps that leadership views Cameroonians as a curse to their cherished leadership. Asserting that the current dispensation is a Blessing in Disguise puts us at a vantage point, because the premise here is that we may know exactly what not to do in the future. And then in other cases we may know what to do.
1) The Configuration of Cameroon - A Union That Never Was
Cameroon is made up of two component parts, an English Speaking part and a French Speaking part. A true union is one in which the two components come together in synergy; not one in which a majority component does all it can to annihiliate anything and everything about the minority component. Anyone who is honest enough about the facts at hand, and not one who is akin to act like an ostrich and stick their necks in the sand, is acutely aware of these unpalatable truths. A true bilingual nation is one in which everything is officially bilingual. The mistakes of yesteryears beginning with 1961, the forgery of 1972 and the offence of 1984 need to be corrected.
Evidence of this misconfiguration of our beloved nation lies in the fact that it is, let us just say impossible for an English Speaking Cameroonian to be President of Cameroon, given the teleguidance from France.
2) Power Sharing – The Executive, Legislative & Judiciary
The nature of Cameroon’s current Presidency is feudal. Cameroon’s semblance of democracy, is more accurately a liberal autocracy. Which is why Jurg Martin Gabriel of Zurich Center of International Studies, talks about a neo-patrimonial dilemma for Cameroon. The Executive is fully in control in Cameroon and the high-handedness of the Executive can be seen in parliament and in the judiciary. The Legislature and the Judiciary, needs to be fully Independent. Members of parliament should be able to write and pass bills and not just the Executive handing this over to parliamentarians. We do not even need a Senate if the parliament is functioning properly.
A Senate would be an unnecessary addition. The Judiciary should have a free hand in its actions without being afraid of the executive. The Gov’t should implement the measures in the report handed over to the Ministry of Justice, by the consultancy firm which they already commissioned to do a study on the justice system in Cameroon.
3) The Turpitude of the State
a) State Discipline & Corruption
Because of Cameroon’s liberal autocracy, growth has been stunted. People are afraid to take initiative because as they have learned in the past, any initiative that is good has been reminiscent of sacking or dismissal, as in what does s/he want to show? It has resulted in gross indiscipline at all levels, pandemic malaise of the state machinery, laxity and an obvious lack of motivation to do anything. Tribalism, nepotism and cronyism are the cancer of Cameroon or hallmarks that make our society tick today. An inner-core of the ruling party the CPDM, largely based on the President’s Bulu tribe, and then a coterie of other Pahouin (Fang-Beti Bulu) occupy a disproportionate number of positions of responsibility. Hence aspiration to these positions of reponsibility is certainly not by merit, but by virtue of being born to the tribe. These tribal leanings have given rise to epic levels of corruption never seen as long as that country has existed. Discipline needs to be instilled at all levels rather than window-dressing and making scape-goats of a few people. People declaring their assets with a proper functioning judiciary can only help in this regard.
b) Moral Turpitude
It must be said that practitioners of the occult engage in immoral acts. Acts that are anathema to the Cameroon penal code. The Knights Templar and the Khadosh degrees in Freemasonry, engage in homosexuality to be initiated into the ranks. This practice has made its way into the Cameroon public space, even for those who are not adepts, the profane alike. Persons engaging in acts which dehumanize peoples personalities need to be disciplined accordingly!
c) Deteriorating Standards
Progress, be it in the civil service should be meritorious. Entry into higher schools of learning such as ENAM, Polytechnic, Police Schools, EMIA, CUSS, ESTIC, IRIC etc.. should be based on exacting standards and not corrupted or bastardized standards by politics and politicians. India which is also corrupt, has progressed as a nation, thanks largely in part to the exacting standards which were not tampered with by corrupt politics; as evidenced by Thomas L. Friedman’s New York Times Bestseller, The World Is Flat. We can at least take a cue from India.
4) State Wealth
The ability of any successful government is measured by the Governments ability to create wealth for its people. Cameroon however, does not believe her people can create wealth. Consequently the state of Cameroon, taxes her citizens at such high levels. In turn Government nominates individuals who are inherently corrupt, to be at the receiving end of these taxes, so as to become incessantly wealthy. Suffice to say that to create wealth, many of the taxes need to be completely wiped out and the ports freed, for the most part. This will have the added benefit of lots of Cameroonians abroad especially the United States of America who have a lot of access to credit, to invest in the country void of the impediments which stagnate the nation’s growth. Proof of this already lies in the fact that Western Union money transfers that Africans remit yearly to their various nations surpasses World Bank loans.
5) A Bloated Civil Service
A 1996 constitution stipulated that the nation state of Cameroon had to be decentralised. Recall that this is a Constitution in which the English Speaking participants Dr. Carlson Anyangwe honorably withdrew from the process as well as Mr. Itoe(former Minister of Justice).
It was termed an Owona(Joseph) Constitution which was eventually rammed through the National Assembly. A whole ministry was re-organigrammed for the purpose of decentralisation. It was said that the Constitution is “gradually” being implemented, evidently at a chameleon’s pace, atypical of Cameroon. It is now a decade that pertinent aspects of the constitution have not been implemented. However it was far easier after presidential elections in 2004, to decentralise ministries via Presidential decree creating a plethora of unnecessary ministerial departments with a handful of sinecures in office and ministers without portfolio.
To be effective, Cameroon needs no more than 25 ministerial Departments, and maybe a real Prime Minister and not one who will clash with a Presidential Secretary General or his other subordinate ministers.
6) Cameroon as an African Hub
I have already mentioned our position on earth looked at from space. Cameroon is in a unique position given that we speak French and English and are near sea waters. Cameroon can and should potentially act as a major African Hub for Air Transport, Computer Technology, Sea Transport, our natural seaports and Tourism; we are Africa in miniature. This can only be enhanced with a major overhaul in our thinking to create wealth for the nation, by removing the roadblocks to wealth creation.
Technology wise, the undersea fiber optic cable is being grossly underutilized. Building of a fiber optic cable does not have to be on an oil pipeline for the benefit of foreign oil companies. We can harness our technical know how. Seems like they wanted to build a fiber optic cable on the railway lines. These are things which need to be done and more with non-line of sight wireless equipment for citywide infrastructures. We can open data centres in Cameroon like they are doing in India and create wealth for Cameroon. Many towns and cities the world over which have developed quickly have been towns and cities near the sea.
7) Water & Power – A Proactive State
It is said that any nation’s development is proportional to the amount of power in use. AES-Sonel seems to be making a few strides, apparently. However, certain basic functions of any developed nation needs an uninterrupted supply of power. Hospital and industrial equipment, computers and so on. Electrical power or gas, power for cooking are necessary commodities to develop nationwide. Water is another necessary commodity, which because of the turpitude of the state has not reached important areas of Cameroon. In the 1990’s foreign diplomats had to complain in the city of Yaounde, on the horrible nature of the water cuts, insufficient water etc.. The person incharge of water or SNEC Obouh Fegue, a Bulu had been in the same position for more than 30 years. State laxity and laziness has been a cankerworm eating through the effectiveness of the state. People need not be dieing of cholera in this day. An effective water system would lessen opportunistic infections.
8) A Proper Health Care System
Government needs to pay doctors far better, that is to say at least the pre-1992 salaries. “Sans-gallons” in the military should not be earning more than medical doctors. A proper nationwide healthcare system is needed. Hospitals should be eqipped with all the necessary equipment, from machinery, needles, gauze, blood banks(good storage), etc… Once there is a proper judiciary in place, people would fear to steal equipment because they would be severely disciplined. A good or sound technological platform in Cameroon would put computers into the hands of many. People conducting searches on the internet would avail themselves to health care information even if it means first-aid. Urbain Olanguena is doing a good job, given the means available.
9) The Cameroon Infrastructure
We need a good road infrastructure, sports Infrastructures, a good railway network. We have 39 airports according to the CIA world factbook, so we are okay on airports. Cars and motor cycles on roads need to be vetted to meet a roadworthinees criteria. Drivers need to be properly licensed and so on. Our seaports, even the natural ones have finally come to fruition after colonial years of squabbles; they are gradually improving, a good sign.
10) A Presidential Retirement Package
Cameroon’s next president after ruling perhaps for 14 years, needs to be motivated to leave power. By law, s/he should have their retirement package as follows: entitlement to a retirement Presidential villa of at least 500 million CFA, 100 million CFA for car allowance every 5 years until death, fuel allowance per month, a driver, security guards for home and all around, a Presidential library at their choosing, 10 million CFA per month retirement salary. Failing that, the next President can eternalize themselves in power, by engaging in the following virtues of power eternalization:
- electoral hijacking
- no independent electoral commission
- pauperize the Cameroon masses
- thoroughly stultify state institutions
- grossly disregard the constitution
- reduce the National Assembly to a hand clapping institution
- window-dress the nation’s micro and macro economic policies
- make occultic & immoral practices a standard bearer
- isolate and shield themselves from others and pretend not to know what is happening in the country
- if the World Bank of IMF says anything, wait at least 15 years before implementing what they say.
Cameroon of the 21st Century
The choice of whoever rules Cameroon next may turn out not to be the choosing of Cameroonians, but that of France. The stakes are quite high and whoever that choice may be would have to appeal to Cameroonians first, else we may just be in for a civil war as has been the case in other countries. The main political actors should please think through this very well, unless of course they would want pure chaos as is seemingly the case. Our beloved nation is unique and ushering the nation into the 21st century is quite workable. Cameroonians both inside and outside Cameroon love their nation and are willing to work towards viable, small steps one at a time that would have the impacts that we so desire. Lofty ideals and speeches would not do the trick but small strides would lead us towards the finish line as we forge ahead in our time towards becoming a great African nation.
March 21, 2006