A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. Unfortunately, this admonition that counsels us not to subject what can be done now to procrastination that may eventually lead to avoidable danger diminishes in applicability when directed to governance in Cameroon.
This is to the extent that we have been sitting and watching how the emergence of a time bomb has been panning out without having recourse to tangible solutions that reflect mindsets of true patriots. We have consoled ourselves in the illusion that we have been insulated by cocooning capacity of ill-gotten wealth and disregard for the ordinary Cameroonian.
It could never have occurred to us that the yearnings of a portion of the polity that had begun more than 40 years ago had some basis in reality and so warranted appropriate attention. How could we have cared when we were being carried away by the trappings of intoxicating elixir from power that had been handed down by default? In the event, the necessity to ensure that such newfound helmsman status be used for the good of the commonwealth could not have arisen, given that there was no articulated agenda or manifesto at the time of ascension.
The correlating effect of this combined tragedy and comedy of governance under Ahmadou Ahidjo and, particularly, Paul Biya as represented above, has been, to say the least, traumatizing to Anglophones. In what has now turned out to be obeisance to neo-colonial edicts imposed on La Republique du Cameroun during the tumultuous rivalry between the nationalistic UPC and opportunistic UC, to lead Cameroon into independence, successive regimes have made Anglophone marginalization their governance credo. Which is why, even as far back as the Foumban Conference, French constitutional experts had been assigned the primordial task of ensuring that there was no match between Ahmadou Ahidjo-led La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons. At Foumban, Ahidjo did not only succeed in planting seeds of discord among Anglophone politicians, but more deprecatingly, the road for the eventual assimilation of West Cameroon had already been traced with all the necessary road signs anticipated. The upshot of this indiscretion was the institutionalization of the one party state and prodded by the ease with which this had been attained; Ahidjo headed for the 1972 political coup d’état, euphemistically ascribed the epithet of referendum.
It is this adherence to the dictates of neo-colonialism that has led to recklessness relating to governance in Cameroon. All is done to ensure that the French have their way in Cameroon in exchange for elongated stay at the pinnacle of power. Surprisingly, the current regime sees more sense in allowing the French to cart away as much of Cameroon’s wealth more possible than barring them from access and thereby making available wherewithal for run-of-the-mill necessities like water, light, food and housing. No, Bollore must have 90 percent shares of CAMRAIL for a period of 30 years. Do not worry what the Government got in exchange for such largesse that borders on lunacy.
Yes, oil from Bakassi must be mortgaged solely, to the French for as many years as only a select clique in the country is entitled to know. Yes, we must allow the same Bollore to control more than 75 percent interest in the management of the Douala Port. Oh yes, we are this daft. Our children do not deserve any future as long as those of the ruling oligarchy have the possibility of lording it over the progeny of currently less privileged Cameroonians. They had risen from children of paupers and peasants to the governing class and by that token became inferior whitemen. With the whiteman’s departure they have automatically become the colonial masters.
However, as God does not allow evil to prevail over good, he slipped the Anglophone component into the boundaries of Cameroon and this has been the enfant terrible of successive regimes in La Republique. While admitting that Francophone culture disposes them to containment of excesses from ruthless regimes, the fact that the Anglophone component of the country, although indubitably in the minority, has been taking the lead in demanding more humane governance should have effected a change in mentality among the former much earlier than now. However, as the saying commonly goes, it is better late than never. And so, many Francophones are now in the fray to denounce not only poor governance but the unfathomable alienation being perpetrated against their own kind. With the resoluteness that has all along accompanied the quest for emancipation by Anglophones, Francophones have sighted in the former, viable and valiant partners in the project to effect a change in governance in the country.
This explains why despite all the brutality and barefaced resort to feudalism as governance credo that has sprung from Government, the youths particularly in Anglophone Cameroon have instead been radicalized to the point of daring combat ready soldiers. What began like a joke on October 1 when peace flower wielding youths dared armed-to-the teeth soldiers, is gradually turning into guerilla warfare. The news from Jakiri, Bafut and Bayelle Nkwen are not the least impressionable.
This time it was the turn of soldiers to lose their lives. The circumstances under which these gruesome murders took place are still hazy even as Government megaphone Isa Tchiroma Bakary has been quick to ascribe the heinous occurrence to Anglophone “terrorists of the secessionist” tribe.
While not imputing approval to such dastardly inclination, the fact that Government had shown very little or no sign of remorse relating to the carnage of October 1, must have courted retribution from aggrieved families and concerned Anglophones.
Whatever the situation, the question that has been permanently beckoning like green amber light on traffic is do we really deserve this avoidable mayhem that is now being constantly visited on our kith and kin? Should we be in this muddle to the point where our egos ride roughshod on rationality? It is the hope here that there are still traces of humanity that should cause us to retrace our steps into the right direction. Mr. President Paul Biya, the time for all- embracing dialogue is overdue. Stop this carnage! Whether from innocent soldiers, dying to keep you in power or daring Anglophone youths fighting for the emancipation of their compatriots the number of deaths are already appalling.