Cameroon is in its last stages of decay. There are no prospects of it getting out of its lethal malady by using the human and material resources that the present anachronistic system can mobilize unless the system is fundamentally changed or overthrown and a reformed or new system put in place. The first aspect of change prescribes radical reforms while the second aspect of change requires a revolution. The first aspect calls for the replacement of most of our old and unworkable structures and values with new ones, while the second rejects all aspects of the anachronistic system and its values and calls for their total, complete and universal replacement by new ones. The difference in the two aspects of change lies only in the degree of replacement. However, the reformatory and revolutionary ideals and actions are meant to solve the socio-economic and political ills afflicting the Cameroonian state by challenging the status quo and its formulations.
In order to challenge the status quo, exponents of change ought to be backed up by a careful study to determine whether the six-decade-old system’s degree of decay would require reformatory or revolutionary measures. Well, Cameroon is rotten enough.
Cameroon’s decay is wrapped up in the injustices whose resultant shortcomings now haunt our everyday lives. These injustices are in the economic, social, ethnic and political domains.
- Economically, Cameroon has been reduced to a beggar nation; the pride of its citizens denigrated, their dreams dashed and their hopes made to look like illusions. Yes, we are beggars despite our fabulous human and material potentials. Though having never been really rich, our fairly considerable economic standards that stood out during German colonial rule, that was exemplified in the 1950s and made remarkable between 1974-1984 (despite all the past constraints from the system and its puppet Ahidjo regime), have been greatly reduced, plunging us into abject poverty. The poverty is so deep that the vast majority of Cameroonians have lost faith in the system, the enthusiasm to engage in long-term projects to rise out of their miseries, and the dignity that befits a progressive people with a sense of purpose. The present system has made it extremely difficult for hard working and intelligent lads to rise up to their potentials, unless they compromise their honor by selling their souls for the favors from the custodians of the system, an opportunity which only a decimal are privileged to be exposed to. Government planning (both strategic and tactical) is so unrealistic, chaotic, unfocused and devoid of follow-up mechanisms that they tend to destroy and depress, instead of constructing and building resolve. There is blatant discrimination by officials at the upper echelons of the system who bog down the business and constructive efforts of the struggling masses because they are of the opposite political thinking, undesirable ethnic group or tribe, different religious belief, the hated social grouping or threatening region, or stereo-typed linguistic entity; just because these custodians of the system believe these enlightened Cameroonians threaten the status quo. Our material resources are being irrationally and wantonly exploited without an effectual development of the land and improvement in the lives of Cameroonians. Despite Cameroon’s vast agricultural, mineral, energy and other natural resources, we have failed to build the base of a processing or industrial nation, so that primary commodities are the only things we export today. The pro-French political and business class and their collaborators are solely responsible for this rape of the Cameroonian nation. So far, prospects of an economic recovery still remain nil because the anachronistic system does not want to loosen the control put in place by its neo-colonialist French lords, corrupt bureaucrats, unpatriotic political elite and business class who know or care little about Cameroon’s economic reality. The only way for the Cameroonian economy to stand on its feet again and assume the path of a progressive future is through a build up of business confidence. That confidence can only be built after we rid the nation of all aspects of the economic shortcomings of the anachronistic system. Such a revolutionary task requires a rational economic transformation geared towards economic growth, transparency, a mitigation of the effects of unemployment and a commitment to involve all Cameroonians in the process of nation building.
- On the social scene, our Cameroon, which we hold so dearly at heart, has also not been spared of decay. Education, which is supposed to be the right of every child, has been relegated to the point of abandonment by the Biya regime. That is why today, the majority of our children are poorly educated in an academic system that is not geared towards development and rational professionalism. Our educational system is behind the times in infrastructure, equipment, knowledge, skills and experience. The cost of educating a child has risen far above the means of the average Cameroonian due to the government’s nonchalant attitude towards the granting of subsidies to schools. Today, books and other educational materials are either in short supply, unavailable or are too expensive. The majority of our teachers are poorly trained and lag behind their counterparts elsewhere in the world in knowledge and skills. The undesirable result has been Cameroon’s continuously falling literacy rate and the decreasing competitiveness of our graduates. Meanwhile, the children of the oligarchy and collaborators of the system pursue their education abroad. They often return as overlords with no work experience abroad, but with the professionalism to steal in a smoother manner.
- Today, hardly half a decade into the next millennium, the vast majority of the Cameroonian people are still living in filth and squalor. Good housing, available medical facilities and other social infrastructures are in short supply, having been relegated to the government’s bottom list of priorities. Town planning has become so chaotic. Even the basic necessity of water and electricity are inadequately provided despite our vast potentials in those resources. In the towns and cities especially, the once noble Cameroonian people are compelled to live alongside untreated garbage dumps, giant rats, cockroaches and other vermin. The country’s sanitation has fallen below pre-independence level. Even its transportation network and other infrastructures are a mockery to a people who are considered imaginative, dynamic and proud. These retrogressions are testaments to the fact that the country has fallen behind other nations since independence. In the world of advanced services and communication, the senseless system has made the country to lag pathetically behind time, even as other governments of the world quickly embrace technological progress. It does not bother the Biya regime that Cameroonians are living in misery because he has detached himself from the general Cameroonian reality and carved out a cocoon of affluence for himself and his mafia clique.
- Leadership over the forces that should give Cameroon its strength (The people) has been undermined by government-instigated discrimination. Clannishness, tribalism, ethno-centrism, regionalism and other forms of division are often set aflame on groups (as scapegoats) in order to dispel discontent directed against the government and the system. The regrettable outcome of such moves has been the open and latent distrust that has caused the breakdown of cooperation between the forces that are supposed to work together to realize our potentials. While it is true that the Ahidjo and Biya regimes have favored certain social groupings, especially their ethnic groups, the reproach for complicity should not be put on any ethnic or linguistic group because collaborators of the system have been bred from virtually every group in Cameroon.
2) The unavoidable consequences of the economic, social and ethnic injustices are the poor management results that stand as Cameroon’s chronic malady today. Due to the fact that the government’s economic policies basically favor only a small minority of individuals, ethnic groups and regions; the vast potentials of the majority and disfavored are either cruelly exploited, left untapped and/or neglected. The regrettable result is that these majority and disfavored produce without a corresponding development in their lives and the environment around which they operate. This situation prevails while the favored minority swims in splendor, abundance, arrogance and mismanagement. The visible result is the inefficient utilization of our resources through over-exploitation, without the necessary subsequent developments in building and restoration. The consequence of this poorly targeted policy is the disorientation, disillusion, despondence and despair syndrome that has eaten deep into the ranks of the creative and progressive forces of the land. The fact that these forces have been estranged from participating in the running of the economic, social and political affairs of the land draws open a phase of conflict in our development―that is, how do we restore the harmonious cooperation between the political establishment and the majority of the economic sector whose advanced business leadership wants to realize a developed and progressive Cameroon? Unfortunately, for Cameroon, the majority that constitutes the creative and progressive forces are too dazed in their inability to mount a strong opposition or resistance to the system, while the minority that constitute the custodians of the system are so vocal and aggressive despite their poor records of incompetence, mismanagement, unaccountability, corruption, buffoonery, repression, waste and misuse of our resources. Unless we get rid of the management problem through the ideals of our union-nationalism, there will never be a correction of the injustices persisting in our social, economic and inter-ethnic lives. For that to be realized, we must get rid of the anachronistic system now and fast.
3) The mismanagement in Cameroon and the injustices that are prevailing stem from its anachronistic political structure. Early in the twentieth century 1910), Cameroon’s first nationalists led by Martin Paul Samba (Mebenga Mebono) and Rudolf Duala Manga Bell perceived that while striving for Kamerun’s independence from Germany, its colonial master at the time, so that the land could exist within the frame work of international cooperation, they wanted the land’s human and vast material resources to be rationally exploited and developed through the best combinations of internal and external cooperation. We were unfortunate because the German colonial administration opposed that new Kamerunian force. They executed its leaders, a sad epoch in our nationalism that made it to become dormant for decades, so that even after the defeat of the Germans, there was no nationalist force to defend the land against partition by the British and the French. Instead of the independence that Cameroon’s first nationalists strove for, the land and the noble Kamerunian people became subservient subjects instead of the British and French in 1918. However, three decades after, there was a resurgence of Cameroonian nationalism, which garbed the extra cloths of unification and independence. While espousing the ideals of Martin Paul Samba, Rudolf Manga Bell and the other early nationalists as far back as 1946, Cameroon’s union-nationalists decried the divisive, suppressive, oppressive, retrogressive and exploitative rule of its masters, specifically France and demanded the reunification and independence of the British Cameroons and French Cameroun. Unfortunately the new masters, especially France, did not heed such a good-intentioned and authentic demand from the majority of Cameroonians. The UPC (Union of the Populations of Cameroon) that was at the forefront of the resurgent nationalism suddenly found itself tagged as communists and as an enemy of France, Britain and the western world. Using wanton oppression, the French banned the party, and then massacred, sidelined, cowed, corrupted and banished the true union-nationalists within the UPC. In the place of the union-nationalists and their original ideals, they put the French-puppet regime under Ahidjo Ahmadou to lead French Cameroun through quasi independence and reunification with British Cameroons.
It has been proven from the experiences of the past years that the majority of Cameroonians have always rejected the system and the Ahidjo and Biya regimes that the system created. Ahidjo and Biya failed to offer alternative ideas or programs on how to manage our material and human resources in order to eliminate the injustices that are plaguing Cameroon. Instead, they have shown their determination to continue defending the anachronistic system because it serves their interest to do so. The present French-backed regime relies heavily on the nation’s stereotypical armed forces and secret service, just like its predecessor did. It has not been less enthusiastic about using force to quell any form of protest or drive towards genuine democracy. Being used alongside force are the various methods of intimidation, corruption, election rigging and blackmail that have proven to be effective in other places in defeating exponents of change. Completely detached from the Cameroonian people and reality, the present French-created political structure gives the president limitless powers, while retaining power and decision making at all levels with the president and his close collaborators. The results from the workings of the system and its structures are all negative, with corruption having been elevated to the form of an art and falsity having become the modus operandi of the Biya regime. The repercussions from those negative values are the pathetically deep fall in our standards, and the erosion of our hope and dignity. Still, it does not bother the Biya regime that the hopeless nature of the status quo has revealed the unworkable nature of the system and its structures. The levers of the oppressive machinery of this system are preventing any adoption or acceptance of counter measures to the regime’s policies, measures that can rejuvenate the nation. That is why Cameroon’s present political power (The system) must be totally, completely and irrevocably overhauled if we must find a solution to the problems of mismanagement and injustices.
4) An agonizing fall in our basic human values is the depressing outcome of the anti-people policies and governance of the system for over half a century now. The fall is also the consequence of poor management whose results are the economic, social and ethnic injustices haunting the Cameroonian nation today? Morality and its higher order of humanism, which are supposed to be the cornerstone of any prosperous nation’s order, reputation, legality and even virtue, have no place in the workings of the anachronistic system and its custodian, the Biya regime. There is a breakdown in progressive family values―a rise in the rate of prostitution, drunkenness, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and violent crime. Dishonesty and banditry have become a plague in our everyday lives. Religion has lost its original worth in the eyes of Cameroonians. What we have in place instead is the individualistic and self-centered concept of “Everyone for his/her belly”, a concept that embodies corruption, discrimination and dishonesty― ills that are haunting us today. For now, preparations and practical actions should be taken to restore the honor, dignity and progressive values of our traditions. Our new philosophy should promote constructive dialogue, cooperation and criticism. Our literature, history and other fields of art should reflect progressive and all-embracing Cameroonian values like our union-nationalism, while taking precautions to integrate only those foreign values that are compatible with Cameroonian reality. Culture, the culture that gives a nation its special identity is dying in Cameroon. With ties to virtually all the different cultural groups and language families in Africa, Cameroon deserves to be the champion of the African culture. Despite that fact, we observe today that our education, social programs, information and culture and communication actually discourage the development of our cultures. That is unacceptable.
The idea of how Cameroon should evolve as it is being experimented by the French-backed system that is under Paul Biya today has nothing progressive to offer. It has brought conformity only in the wrong values of dishonesty, corruption, disloyalty, laziness, discrimination and docility. It has failed to seek, harness and work on individual and group considerations which if put together constitute the Cameroonian view. The present out-dated system constrains us to the point of despondence, and poses as a tremendous obstacle to the development of individual and group potentials. It is almost eradicating self-identity to be replaced by a conformity based on resignation, dishonesty, corruption and brutality.
Only through a carefully thought out new value, one that realizes the best of our creative and developmental potentials and one that advocates for a fundamental change of the anachronistic system, can our potentially great nation be saved. That new value should be capable of coming up with a new culture that embodies the progressive Cameroonian cultures. It should be a culture that would help in the formulation of a progressive political structure where the powers emanating from its levers would be capable of responding to the progressive ideas and the hopes and dreams of the Cameroonian people. It is only through that reconstituted and optimally progressive political and power structure that there can be an efficient management of our human and material resources, while taking into account Cameroonian and world realities. As a consequence the economic, political, social and ethnic injustices that are prevailing due to the poor management (abuse of political power, unrealistic culture and the imposed conformity) would be properly tackled.
Today, the forces that stand as the best champion of the fundamental change are the union-nationalists. They are found in some of the political parties, religious bodies, social groupings, and also as individuals. However, in order to realize the fundamental change, our union-nationalists, young and old, would be led by the advanced representatives―the tested force.
Janvier Tchouteu April 4, 1995
Afterthought: September 06, 2010:
For a nation whose citizens’ investments in other African countries more than triple the investments that they make at home; for a country with only about ten percent of its physicians at home ( more then 30% in France and about 20% in the USA) and that boasts one of the highest or perhaps the highest percentage of graduates in Africa vis-à-vis its population; Cameroon is a hijacked nation with no sense of direction, Cameroon is a nation held hostage by an anachronistic French-imposed and backed system that is completely detached from its reality to the point where it accuses the USA of human rights violations when the oppressive and repressive regime and its usurper Head of State Paul Biya that has been in power for twenty eight years, is known for changing the constitution with impunity. In fact the Biya regime has crafted the most efficient election rigging machinery in the world.