Biya’s Cameroon, why history can’t wait

EDITORIAL 12 Nov 2019
Biya’s Cameroon, why   history can’t wait

When the next history of Cameroon is written, there will be two stop points for reflection. In the course of this reflection, Cameroonians will be engaging themselves in appraising the leadership qualities of the two major actors; the founding president, Ahmadou Ahidjo and his successor Paul Biya. They both shared the grace of having saddled this nation for more than half a century of its independence and reunification. Ahidjo stayed in office for 22 years and, only last week marked Biya’s 37th anniversary in office. We can only wish Mr. President the best in office.
We will however be quick to remind Mr. President that the situation in the country should be seen as a golden opportunity, if not the last, for him to rewrite the history of this country by building a new foundation for the reconstruction of a new nation, so to make a difference. Whether we can be honest enough to accept the truth, the belligerent truth remains that so much has gone wrong which requires sober reflections and determination to mend. It would be absolute flattery for us to jubilate that Biya’s 37 years at the helm of this country have been a huge success story worth the pains of celebration.
We would rather want to believe that this 37th anniversary should instead remind Mr. President that, he is holding the dead-end of the stick in his hand. This implies that what the country is going through now no longer has much time of a place for rhetoric, not even praise singing. What is most obvious now is that our common plight demands nothing short of pure patriotism; the collective will to steer our ship out of trouble waters to the right shores.
To be honest, Cameroonians accepted President Biya’s political thought, out of which was born the brilliant idea proclaiming a new deal Cameroon presented to Cameroonians as a tool designed to effectively reverse the old political order bequeathed to him by his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo. It bore an endearing message of RIGOUR and MORALISATION. This alone changed the horizon and Cameroonians began seeing things from a new perspective. This no doubt brought home new hopes that a new society is at the verge of being born.
All of what the New Deal contained was later to be packaged in his Book COMMUNUAL LIBERALISM, indeed a clear picture of what the new society will look like. An open morally erect society, one in which there will be equal opportunities for all, one in which the rights of the minorities will be guaranteed. A society that will promulgate laws such as would be respected to the letter and spirit. Unfortunately, along the line all this faded away in thin smoke and today we are in the middle of a crisis that was hatched from the very beginning of our reunification, perfected and implemented midway in the New Deal era.
What we should however continue to remember is the aphorism that, not all that glitters is gold. The New Deal package came glittering under the sunshine of expectations, but it actually was not wholly the gold that the sunshine presented it to be. Today Cameroonians are lost in their hope for a lasting solution for peace in the two English speaking part of the country, much so after the much parroted clamour for dialogue, which at a point for the convenience of the organizers became a Major National Dialogue. Whichever way it went the proposed special status for these two regions has simply become a myth too difficult to explain or understand, which makes it much more difficult to conclude that this 37th anniversary is worth celebrating.
We cannot stop insisting that what has now become universally recognised as a special status for the two Anglophone regions remains a complete package of the identity and values of the Anglophones, which were taken away from them, and they will expect nothing short of those values in one piece.

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