Cameroon has less than ten years to change or else it will lose the goodwill, support, commitment and other strategic resources of its Diaspora. The generation that was in its youthful age in the 1990s and that acted as soldiers of the struggle for change has matured, but unfortunately is abroad. Only they have the zeal, sense of direction that has been groomed over the years, unwavering sense of patriotism and an all-embracing political ideology that accommodates all Cameroonians, irrespective of their linguistic affiliation, ethnicity or tribe. This group that did not participate in the rape of Cameroon will turn 50 and 60 in the next ten years. Then, they will become more focused on their career, families and new life abroad---which is like giving up on Cameroon. They will have to lead the struggle in the next two- five years or else find themselves and Cameroon cast into oblivion and political despondence.
The politically conscious of the Diaspora will relate better to the dreams, pains, or sufferings and frustrations of today’s youth who are supposed to be the soldiers of change in the creation of the new Cameroon.
Politically, the absence of dual nationality and persistent uncertainties even after the granting of Diaspora voting rights, could sideline them from the political evolution of Cameroon which will reach a turning point in the coming years as exclusion and necessity force them to embrace the citizenship of their host countries. Unknown to many, there is a good percentage of Cameroonians who though qualified to obtain foreign citizenship, has been hesitating, conscious of the road blocks to dual nationality.
Economically, the umbilical cord linking the Diaspora to their Cameroonian families mostly in the form of remittances and real estate and other investment projects, will decline as their home families age and die or follow them by immigrating, taking away any incentive for the Diaspora to continue committing themselves economically to Cameroon.
Socially, the culture developing in Cameroon, centred on corruption, mismanagement, division (tribalism, nepotism, and favouritism) is separating Cameroon from the global civilization that the Diaspora identifies with. The current Diaspora can manage to navigate its way around when they come home for business; but the younger generation in the Diaspora, especially those born abroad, whose link to Cameroon is through the eyes of their parents, will be completely lost if their parents disengage from Cameroon in five to ten years time. They would focus fully on building a new life abroad for themselves and their descendants.
In a nutshell, if the system stays in place within the next five-ten years; and those in the Diaspora that were born in the 1960s and 1970s reaches retirement age while their children are all grown up and devoid of any genuine affiliation to Cameroon; that reliable generation of the Diaspora will most likely give up on Cameroon.
The editor of "This is News" newspaper--- Franklyn Sone Bayen, published this article in Yaoundé , Cameroon on August 01, 2011. It was co-written with Janvier Tchouteu-Chando (a published Cameroonian writer with several books, living in the USA.