THE ROLE OF THE DIASPORA IN HOME POLITIC
Otherwise known as long-distance nationalism. Many Cameroonians living abroad have been condemned and accused of inciting violence in Cameroon. By sitting in the comfort of their luxury homes, with a cup of coffee on one hand and their keyboard or smartphones in the other hand and use social media abusively to stir up anti-government sentiments amongst youths back at home. It’s easy to get pissed off by this, considering they are in no position to suffer the consequences of these actions. But that is just one way, and as a recent chain of events will show a very less likely way to look at the situation. We cannot overemphasize the enormous contribution the Diaspora makes in the growth and development of their home countries. According to yaleglobal.com migrant remittance reached about $338 billion in 2014 in developing countries. That is huge. Patron- client relationships have been helpful too where someone in rural village calls a relative who lives abroad to help call someone in the city to help them secure may be a job or other form of assistance. This still works today.
With the advent and advancement of information and communication technology, especially social media platforms the mantra of “All politics is local” has become a myth. People abroad are involved in the daily life of loved ones and long-distance nationalism is on the rise. In fact some news about Cameroon, we first hear from those abroad before the local news agencies carry them. So in the face of the Anglophone crises in Cameroon where does the Diaspora stand? They could either be a threat or an opportunity depending on the maturity, literacy and mindset of those at home and on ground.
*General Planning: It is clear that people at home are easily interrupted especially if the course they stand for is against the regime in power, the Diaspora can take over the general planning of the course uninterrupted and even make personal contributions to the cost of planning.
*Fundraising. They can split assignments, those in North America where modern day philanthropy is advanced can be tasked with raising funds to sustain the striking teachers and lawyers. Whether you like it or not there’s a level of hunger that will automatically stop the strike.
*Making a strong statement. This according to the theory of comparative advantage is best done in Europe. Close to those who originally causes these problems in Africa, the colonial masters. The Diaspora can mount pressure of the UK and French Parliaments for the need to intervene in the ongoing issues and see complex records straight.
* International awareness. The Diaspora have better access to internet and power and with the advent of blogs, Gofundme, Facebook , Twitter etc they can better make the world aware of the situation in the country and seek the world’s attention before the issue deteriorates.
In the past
*We have seen government officials travel abroad to meet with the Diaspora community, to discuss way forwards of the nation.
*We have seen politicians receive the endorsement of the Diaspora in elections and other good courses.
*We have seen the Diaspora influence their host countries into adopting more economically friendly policies towards their nations. We have seen the Diaspora mediate and bring years of conflict to an end,
*We have also seen the Diaspora inspire change and return home to face their fears
The Arab spring, the post-election crises in Ethiopia and even the ongoing peace efforts in Somalia have recorded little successes thanks to the Diaspora contribution.
Development experts and economists have long recognized the economic role of Diaspora remittances, and national security analysts point to links between some diasporas and extremist or peace movements as the case may be. That’s why I earlier mentioned it poses great threats and opportunities. Less well understood is the question of how diasporas shape everyday political outcomes around the world – and how patterns of transnational politics are increasingly the norm.
The mantra “all politics is local” continues to ring true, but with globalization, those same politics may be determined by actors and processes playing out thousands of miles from the local setting.
Whether trying to assess the impact of diasporas in terms of exacerbating civil wars or promoting peace, contributing to democratization efforts, or transforming the meaning and practice of citizenship, the need to understand how diasporas shape political outcomes is paramount.
That said, there is a great burden on the actors on ground in Bamenda and Buea, that is the Lawyers and Teachers (thank God these are learned people) to master the course for which they stand in order not to become puppets in the hands of this powerful Diaspora who sometimes may just want to fulfill their selfish interest, political aspirations, and desires. Also for the radicals, idle juveniles in the street who are eager to jump into every opportunity to cause destruction, violence, looting and many other ills allowing the direct influence of the Diaspora on them may be very costly to the peace, security, and unity of Cameroon. These group of jobless youths who are frustrated by economic hardship and political marginalization will do just anything including protesting with coffins and blocking major roads caring less about the consequences, to them they are dead anyway. These are the people Anglophone Cameroonians should put a solid eye on before they jeopardize the entire process.
In conclusion, the Diaspora is well able and capable of making their due contribution to this historic moment to solidify the unity of Cameroon and guarantee peaceful coexistence of the two people of Cameroon.