The principal problem weighing hard on the general psychology of the majority of the peoples of Cameroon and Africa today is the worry of the path their frustrated, disillusion and dehumanized children would take to advance their wellbeing. By the word children, I mean those born just before and after the years of independence for many African countries in the early 1960s. This is a generation that was born in the atmosphere of hope and expectations that had gripped Cameroon and Africa just before and just after independence, a positive feeling based on recently realized reunification and independence made all the more dazzling by the goals harangued by its leaders.
However, getting to four decades after, we are still nowhere close to the dreams that had sustained our hopes. Poverty, disease, illiteracy, repression, ethnic divisions, corruption, underdevelopment and external domination still plague us, and in many aspects, even worse than before independence. Yet, we thought that ridding ourselves of colonialism through quasi-independence would automatically give birth to the broom that would clear up all aspects of our underdevelopment. Our post-independence leadership and pseudo-intellectuals fooled us because they lacked the will and vision to utilize the potentials of the lands they were leading. They failed us by not mastering the Archimedean point of our underdevelopment and development potentials. The self-serving systems put in place by colonial masters like France and the lever they conceived and hoped to spin the different African countries to greater heights was a reflection of their egos and delusions than of their intelligence, will and rationale.
In Cameroon today, we are faced by the colossal task of starting from the scratch, which involves demolishing the failed and unprogressive anti-democratic and exploitative French-imposed system and putting in place a new, progressive and compatible system that would be the reflection of the original goals of Cameroon’s union-nationalism and the genuine aspirations of the people. This would be a system that would place the country firmly among the community of progressive, democratic, representative, enlightened and advanced nations.
Today, the history of humanity has reached that great scale of change where the key words of technological progress, freedom, liberty, development, solidarity and integration are making great strides to be parts of our everyday lives. It has been observed with clarity that the Cameroonian people are being left behind in this great advancement of humanity because of the selfish objectives and actions of the oligarchy that stays in power through the deceptive French-imposed system. This autocratic, minority, pseudo-representative, corrupt and unpatriotic regime can not alleviate the poverty, disease, despair, illiteracy, corruption, rising ethno-centrism, brain drain and incomprehension that against the sake of humanity is being accepted as part of our everyday lives. The unacceptable nature of the five-decade system can best be explained by Dmitri Ivanovich Pisarev’s denunciation of autocracy:
On the side of the government, there are only the scoundrels bought with money squeezed by fraud and violence from the poor. On the side of the people, there is all that is fresh and youthful, all that is capable of thinking and doing. What is dead and rotten (the autocratic government) must of itself fall into the grave. All we have to do is give it the final push and cover the stinking corpse with dirt.
Comparing Dmitri Ivanovich Pisarev’s observation with the Cameroonian reality, we would realize with clarity that getting rid of all aspects of this French-imposed autocratic and oligarchic system is our first task. It is only after the complete and irrevocable burial of absolutism shall it be possible for us to set aside our despairs and harness our hopes, strengths, determinations and potentials to realize the all embracing dream for a great Cameroon and Africa. It would be a hard and merciless task, but the only path that that would lead to our salvation.
This demanding task is especially on the shoulders of Cameroonians of the post-independence generations. It is from their ranks that the forces, backing and attention to realize the dream of the New Cameroon would rest. These forces would be the workers (agricultural, industrial and service or tertiary), the intellectuals, academicians, politicians, religious bodies, civil movements, artists, business class, functionaries, students and even the unemployed. Cameroonians would be led by the advanced representatives who would have mastered the selfless, humanizing, unifying and progressive principles and goals of the country’s national idea embodied in its Union-Nationalism and the basic tenets of its social and democratic program. It is through its union-nationalism that Cameroonians would realize the historic mission providence had placed on their shoulders for their well-being and the advancement of the nation and Africa.
We shall be able to boast that we have established the foundation of the New Cameroon, one that is capable of marching forward along the road of the democratic tenets of its union-nationalism that has been revised over the years and found to be compatible with progressive world ideas only when:
· The advanced representatives of the various forces would have made the new and humanized Cameroonian ideal to be widespread.
· They would have realized enduring organization, order, competency, discipline and self-discipline within their ranks.
· They would have extended their arms beyond their confines to consolidate the harmonious cooperation of all the development forces of the land.
It would be on this foundation that we shall transform the present anachronistic system into a modern, progressive and technologically oriented one; and then invest new ideas, know-how and efforts to build a great producing nation that shall ensure accountability and an efficient production, distribution and service network. As an indispensable part of this advanced system would be the justifiable social benefits—eradication of poverty, elimination of poor housing and housing shortages, reduction of diseases to acceptable limits, good sanitation and the provision of the necessary amenities and modern infrastructure.
Politically, this advanced, humanized and progressive system would ensure the total, complete and universal human rights of its citizens. It would be the upholder of their rights, pride, freedom and equality, a commitment that shall ensure the prevalence of a democracy that is truly compatible with the Cameroonian reality, one that shall ensure the eternal burial of absolutism. This modern, progressive and advanced system shall direct the Cameroonian people in cooperation with the progressive forces of other African countries towards the realization of their fraternal dream of harmony—the actualization of the economic union and political integration of Africa. It is along this path of our union-nationalism that we shall realize the all-embracing-century old Cameroonian dream and be led towards the all-embracing junction that shall realize Africa’s unity through the harmonious cooperation of its union forces. It would be at this stage that Cameroon and Africa shall take their merited places in the world community, while working with other worldly forces to make this world safe and conducive for our children. This extended task is entirely on the shoulders of the post-independence generations.
JANVIER TCHOUTEU FERUARY 15, 1995