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Cameroon – Anglophone Problem: Open Letter to the President of the Republic Paul Biya

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Written by Deckson N.

If the unity of Cameroon really means anything to you, take this opportunity to show it to Cameroon and the world at large. Step out of your comfort of the Etoudi Unity Palace and face the people who gave you the mandate to cater for them and ensure their future. Being a President is not living a picnic-like life, but working full-time. Stop having yourself represented

Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Cameroon,

The sociopolitical situation that Cameroon has been witnessing for some years now is very critical and potentially pregnant with the risk of violent explosion, in spite of the apparent serenity that elements of the extremist sect, Boko Haram, have strongly shattered in the Far-North Region, in particular. The East Region has witnessed violent movements due partly to the outburst of the long military and political crisis in the Central African Republic. Up till now, that Region is still suffering from hordes of refugees that it has to host and feed in spite of its very meager resources. These are some of the numerous problems that you tend to downplay by considering them as non-events, but which are bearers of the psychological, moral, physical and symbolic violence which are likely to keep off your citizens from their most ordinary human characteristics. I will like just to mention the case of that female doctor who gave up the ghost in Douala under deplorable conditions, and of that other lady who was abandoned at the Laquintinie Hospital and had her stomach opened in daylight by a desperate relative with the hope of saving life. I will also like to mention ritual crimes that have become commonplace, that terrible Eseka train accident which I am a survivor which claimed several lives (due to the impunity of some persons vested with your discretional powers) and all those daily road accidents. I will also like to mention police, gendarme and administrative violence that has become the a lot for Cameroonians who want to express their opinions on the future of their country. In addition, I will like to mention the degrading and dehumanizing music and violent images that you let play and broadcast all over this country to which you, as early as 1982, promised rigor and moralization. Finally, and in that same vein, I will like to mention the billions of francs stolen by those well-thinking minds that are around you, thereby driving us to another financial and economic austerity after that which we witnessed in the 1990s. These billions of francs represent the wealth, jobs and future snatched, especially, from the desperate youth of this rich country. Are you aware that some of your government ministers boast of being often stolen hundreds of millions of CFA francs in their private homes (and not in banks)? These are the very persons who thereafter come up to talk about the virtues of morale, patriotism and, maybe, austerity.

Mr.President,

Your country has become very dangerous, in spite of your unshared 34 years in power. Even the symbolic aspects of national unity have begun to be shattered away. The deep sociopolitical unrest which is now prevailing in the North-West and South-West Regions is quite telling of this situation. This situation is replicated in the various forms of demonstrations and memoranda which have become the main way of expressing the community and identity fallbacks fanned up by your regime in the flashy rags of one-man democracy.

I have been saying that the sociopolitical situation in this country is very chaotic; besides, our country is suffering from legendary inertia and kleptocracy that you acknowledge exist but, unfortunately, do nothing to redress. Our country is in danger due to the lies telling, arrogance, condescendence, inertia and impunity demonstrated by your government and your administration. They probably reflect your image, the image of that very person who developed them. For long now, there have been lies telling in Bamenda and Buea, just as in Tiko or Messamena, in Pouma just as in Figuil. Your regime causes provocations and let prevail individual and collective unrests and frustrations which will invariably explode slowly or brutally some day. One of your too belly-full ministers deemed that there is no Anglophone problem in Cameroon. Here we are! Don’t you ask me if there is any Beti problem?Even if there is any, as citizen Charles Ateba Eyene of blessed memory insinuated in his lifetime, such should be tackled objectively and in a Republican way. This should apply to all the other communities that make of Cameroon this beautiful Africa in miniature.And that should also apply to the process of decentralization which has been paralyzed this far by your government and whose negative effects are felt and seen in the way our decentralized territorial collectivities are governed. By the way, what is the purpose of “Government Delegates” in this decentralization process whose essence is to achieve democratic representation though direct or indirect vote. The mere existence of these “Government Delegates” at the helm of our big towns is pure democratic heresy, coupled with political swindling. All these problems cause people to have federalism in mind, a situation which cannot be banned in the so-called democracy that you are boasting of. The form of Statehood can be challenged by citizens at any time, even by way of referendum, as enshrined in our country’s Constitution. The Constitution should not only be amended to maintain you in power for life. The issue of secession that you are condemning is unfortunately the response that its proponents are advancing to the negligence and arrogance of your regime. This regime is even what should most be put to question; and it must express regret as soon as we come out of the emotional fits of unbridled circumstantial patriotism. Why do you think, Your Excellency, that those of your “countrymen” who express discontent (when this is possible) are “extremists” or “manipulated”? Should we think that you have stripped them of every common sense, of their reasoning faculty and Republican consciousness? If so, this would mean admitting the failure of your too many years of stewardship. When citizens become aware of such a degree of frustrations that facts and statistics reveal so violently, do they need to be manipulated to make the situation known? Tell us, Mr President, how many of your Anglophone ministers (genuine ministers, not government errand boys) are in your current government. Just by this aspect of popular perception, no English-speaking Cameroonian needs to be manipulated to say enough is enough in a country where you have imprisoned liberties in your basically repressive administrative and police straight jacket. The way your soldiers treated young students who were protesting against an unjust and iniquitous measure at the University of Buea is shameful. Monday 9th January 2017, date of 2nd term school resumption, we have prayed and worked hard for the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions to return to normal. I must confess that your address to the Nation on 31 December 2016 was of little or no help to us. Your ministers and official mediators entrusted with negotiating the crisis are not prepared enough for this exercise which is too democratic for them. They are used to the colonial whip; but times have changed.

Your Excellency,

If the unity of Cameroon really means anything to you, take this opportunity to show it to Cameroon and the world at large. Step out of your comfort of the Etoudi Unity Palace and face the people who gave you the mandate to cater for them and ensure their future. Being a President is not living a picnic-like life, but working full-time. Stop having yourself represented: your greatness can only come from the people who gave you the mandate to represent them. Here is another opportunity for you to show up, to prove that you are not the President of a Republic which is rigid in inertia. In other countries, your peers move readily when less serious situations than what is happening in our country and whose consequences are immeasurable occur. These are genuine and legitimate issues that you have at last admitted do exist, after another shedding of innocent blood. Mr President, shake up this inertia for once; put an end to the arrogance of the people around you. What is happening in Anglophone Regions demands your personal involvement, hoping that such involvement will be frank and exercised in good faith.It is a matter of the survival of a culture and values, a unit and of the living together of the Anglophone and Francophone communities and, above all, of all the communities that make this country proud in its diversity.

Mr President, save our Education, save our Republic.

Respecfully,

Yours patriotic citizen,
KUNGABA FONGOH Leonel
YOUNG SOCIOPOLITICAL ENTREPRENEUR

About the author

Deckson N.

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