CDC at the crossroads indeed

EDITORIAL 28 Jan 2019
CDC at the crossroads indeed

It does not require a soothsayer to reveal that the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, is at the crossroads. Its General Manager, Franklin Ngoni Njie, being the man at the helm, declared this without going thus far in search for a soothsayer. It is a glaringly pathetic situation that attracts sympathy from every ordinary mind, except perhaps, the most hardened sadist. We obviously share in sympathising with the General Manager for the simple reason that, the task in his hands is one that stretches out far beyond his control.
We say this without forgetting PAMOL Plantations Ltd Cameroon, another major employer of labour in this part of the country. In the case of the CDC, we strongly believe that the pre-requisite conditions which Franklin Njie has outlined,particularly, the issue of security, cannot be treated leisurelyas if it doesn’t count. It is obvious that workers may be willing to go to work, but not without the fear for their lives.
And as the General Manager declared at a press briefing recently, hundreds of thousands of the corporation’s plantations have been abandoned and reduced to wasteland that will require quite a fortune to rehabilitate. In his immediate estimation, this process will require about FCFA 30 billion, a colossal sum indeed. Unfortunately, all this is happening in the heat of a situation that many concerned persons have described as “a senseless war” which should not have been allowed to degenerate into what we are experiencing today.
If from the judgment of those who run this country, we opted for a military solution to what is glaringly a political crisis, then we should admit that our judgment only succeeded in blinding us to the realities of such an option. War certainly provokes unimaginable acts, most of which hardly give any consideration for the eventual human degradation. This is precisely where we find ourselves today. It is true, as Franklin Njie maintains that, the CDC has been absorbed in a general problem, but ‘’emphasises that political conquest does not require to be fought in the plantations and, that his position is that politics should be done through exchanges, through dialogue by the concerned parties.’’
The situation in the country today turns out at every moment to be regrettable. That the Cameroon Development Corporation should find itself entangled in such a web, contradicts the very philosophy behind the founding of the corporation about a century ago. Just as the name of the corporation implies, the CDC was established as a locomotive for the promotion of development in the former Southern Cameroons, which later became West Cameron, a role it played during the latter part of British rule over the territory and during the post-independence and re-unification periods. No doubt therefore that, the Cameroon Development Corporation became the second largest employer after the state.
But the political agenda in the management of the CDC began manifesting itself when the late President Amadou Ahidjo engaged himself in his maiden visit to the former West Cameroon. Ahidjo was so overwhelmed by what he saw, so much that not too long after he decided to absorb the CDC into its political management process. Under this process the CDC became directly under the Ministry of Agriculture at the time and most decisions concerning the CDC were taken through decrees. This process has since continued up to this moment.
We therefore agree completely with the General Manager’s position that politics should be taken out of the plantation and that the most appropriate option is that politics should be done through exchanges and dialogue. We only hope that Franklin Njie’s position should not be misinterpreted to mean anything other than the truth. It should also be noted that the CDC is not alone in this mess. PAMOL Plantations Ltd, which is another major agro-industrial concern in this part of the country, equally finds itself at the crossroads. Like the CDC, its operations have been grounded, and herworkers suffering a similar fate. All that is obvious is that, it is the population of this part of the country that bears the brunt of this “senseless war”.

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