On 04th of Nov 1982, something unprecedented dramatically occurred in Cameroon. During that era, it was unheard of in Africa for someone who wields absolute power to instantly announce his resignation from that altitude without any substantial reasons. A hitherto little-known personality, Mr. Paul Biya, then Prime Minister of the United Republic of Cameroon, was projected to the height of political power in Cameroon when President Ahmadou Ahidjo unexpectedly resigned as President. That choice which was preceded by a revision of the constitution relegating the second in command, Pa S.T. Muna, then Speaker of the National Assembly to third position in preference for a tacit little-known Paul Biya, sparked a series of controversial political discourse. The likes of Victor Ayissi Mvodo, whose spite for Mr. Paul Biya was no secret, could hardly digest the unfolding drama.
ENTER THE NEW DEAL ERA
Hardly had Mr. Biya assumed office than Cameroonians went viral composing songs of praise in honour of a God-sent messiah. A certain Eno Belinga was famous for his track “Renouveau”, which became a signature tune after the national news. Cameroonians looked up to this messiah with great expectations because they believed that God had put an end to Ahmadou Ahidjo’s autocratic rule and ushered in an era of political freedoms. Only a few curious observers remarked that one can hardly compare one thing. If Ahidjo’s iron fist was deplored by Cameroonians, it at least had a very positive character in the sense that his ministers were accountable.
It so happened that, at the peak of the euphoria about a change in leadership, Cameroonians started coming to terms with the realities of the New Deal. A new philosophy of belonging to the circle of power brokers surfaced in public administration. Nepotism reigned supreme and people were projected to positions of influence not because of what they know but because of who they know. The devastating consequence of this approach saw mediocrity replacing meritocracy and the politics of social exclusion became the rule.
The power brokers considered appointments to non-members of that circle a privilege for which they had to be perpetually thankful and subservient. Shortly after Mr. Biya’s taking over, the once buoyant economy that Mr. Ahidjo bequeathed to his successor experienced rapid economic recession that brought untold suffering to the population due to the embezzlement spree that was endorsed by the supreme commander himself. With this penchant for nepotism, Anglophones started experiencing a subtle policy of social exclusion which opened their brains and prompted the courageous ones like late Professor Bernard Fonlon, Barrister Gorji Dinka, Albert Mukong and Co. to request for are turn to the drawing board. What is today known as the ‘Anglophone crisis’ started breeding slowly but steadily, culminating in the presentimpasse. Barrister Gorji Dinka in his “New Social Order”, raised the issue but in typical dictatorial character, his project was countered with brutal repression and imprisonment. Little did Yaounde know that you don’t eliminate elephant grass from a field by stampeding it; you have to dig it from the roots. Yaounde’s undermining of the Southern Cameroons debate on constitutional reforms persisted while the problem was gradually and steadily breeding like an active volcano.
In June 1995, after several unsuccessful attempts to get the government bow to pressure for are turn to the two- state federation that sanctioned the unification of the two Cameroons, the SCNC led a delegation to the UN to petition against the annexation of Southern Cameroons by La Republique du Cameroun. A spirit of reawakening gripped the entire English-speaking community of Cameroon leading to a general feeling of exclusion and the urgent need for the restoration of the confiscated independence of Southern Cameroons. This awareness attracted national and international attention and Mr. Biya, while on several foreign trips in Europe, was confronted by journalists on the issue. In Germany in 1999, when confronted by journalists on the Anglophone question, he arrogantly boasted that it was a handful of hungry and frustrated Anglophones who want to divide his country and that the majority of Anglophones like to be with him. He even went further to assure them that, at the appropriate time, he will organize a referendum for Anglophones to decide whether to separate or continue as one country. He later repeated the pronouncements on two occasions in Paris.
President Biya has quite often blamed his cabinet ministers for suffering from inertia and thereby stagnating economic growth. On the contrary, a critical look at the situation puts the blame squarely on his head. He has been so adamant to positive change that most, if not all, of his cabinet reshuffles have been rotational; moving one under-achiever from one ministry to the other and expecting positive results. He has been so trapped in his web of inertia that for over 34years in power he has not been able to implement his so much trumpeted RIGOUR AND MORALIZATION philosophy with which he acceded to the throne. Even with glaring evidence of gross misappropriation of public funds, he finds it difficult to bring the culprits to book except in rare cases where the concerned individuals might have nursed some political ambitions that threatened his very survival.
The degree of his immersion in inertia is so acute that he is even unable to honour the several pledges he made about organizing a referendum on the Southern Cameroons independence question. He assured the international community that, at the appropriate time, he will organize a referendum for Southern Cameroonians to decide on their political future with his country. The Southern Cameroons community has been in crisis since October 2017 and his government is at a loss on how to solve the problem. Isn’t it the appropriate time for him to surmount his inertia and announce that referendum to salvage his already battered image on the international scene? Is Mr. Biya confirming the popular saying that one can only offer what one has?
How can a man who acceded to the throne with such a lofty slogan of rigour and moralization allow his country to degenerate into anarchy and moral decadence? How can a man who promised freedom of speech and association introduce a system of press censorship and brutal crack down on freedom of associations that far supersede that of his autocratic predecessor? Is it his entrapment in inertia that makes him unable to deliver on his promises or simply that he was lured to promise what he doesn’t believe in?
The naked truth is that Mr. Biya and his entire government are tottering on the borders of senile decay and only an inspired youthful leadership can salvage La Republique du Cameroun from its imminent decent into the abyss of eternal damnation. While the interim Executive Council of H.E. SESSEKOU AYUK TABE has presented a blueprint that will successfully lead us to Buea, the P cube of Cameroon, that is, Paul Biya Bi Mvondo, Paul Atanga Nji and Paul Mingo Ghogomu are trying to pin us down in their diabolic world of inertia.
Is thereany reason therefore why any Southern Cameroonian with a sound mindwill want to federate with such a doomed nation? Should SouthernCameroonians abandon such a wonderful blueprint presented by theGoverning Council of H.E. SESSEKOU AYUK TABE in preference for anation seriously plagued by inertia?Patriotic Southern Cameroonians,now is the time to stand tall and tell La Republique du Cameroun thatwe are made of sterner stuff than them.SEE YOU ALL IN BUEA.
SIMON FUH NGWA