Why the gamble to leave Cameroon is growing

*By Akateh Prudencia, Nana Marinette, Ewange Njenge Brenda, Sone Nelly, Ashu Pertra,  Akoh Maxsmile, Oteh Chantal, Tambia Roline and Che Vanisa

Millions of Cameroonians, leaders included, are ready to run away for one reason or the other. They are seeking comfort, safety and economic security abroad. Recently, safety in every sense of the word has been elusive, giving vent to speculations that everyone else is on their marks, frantically getting set to flee the fatherland. Pundits argue that fleeing failed nations to the relative safety of Europe and North America has become the hallmark of both leaders and those they lead.

Top African government brass are most likely to head to foreign countries for relaxation, to spend what loot they have stolen from the public treasury. Others head to Europe and elsewhere on medical tourism to benefit from facilities which they have failed to install in their home countries. The head of state himself spends far more time visiting foreign countries and patronizing their hotels and cuisines. He is most likely to spend many months in a year in well developed European cities than visiting just a single Cameroonian town for one day in many years.

Whereas government big necks have big money to splash abroad, millions of ordinary Cameroonians toil and moil to leave the country for foreign sanctuaries. Parents borrow, they save for years and decades, they sell land and gamble, just to have their children and wards leave for greener pastures and in more recent times for safer shores. Whereas money mongers spend looted cash just to relax abroad, the commoner is most likely to cut corners outright or gamble. Many of them are known to have died attempting to trek through vast deserts or drowned in the Mediterranean attempting to make Europe. In the local lingo, it is “falling bush.” And this is where the now famous American Lottery easily comes into play. Cameroonians, especially those of youthful age are investing heavily in financial and spiritual terms for this yearly gamble.  

With the dire times especially in the two English speaking regions, thousands are prepared to do whatever it takes to go abroad and the DV Lottery is one big option.  The American DV Lottery is a US government programme for receiving a United States Permanent residence card. The Immigration act of 1990 established the current and permanent diversity visa (DV) programme. The lottery is administered by the Department of State and conducted under the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA. The DV lottery for 2019-2020 has been modified, unlike in the past when no specific qualifications were required. The recent modifications made are; a valid passport, an Advanced level certificate and two years working experience. Tens of thousands of Cameroonians are scrambling for the relatively few places afforded by the lottery.

The raging war ongoing in the two English speaking regions aside, many still think that they can only make it abroad. As already hinted above, the massive rush to leave the country is traceable to acute lack of jobs, low capital income, poor educational and healthcare delivery systems, insecurity, unemployment, and brazen corruption.

Based on random samplings carried out, Cameroonians blame the current insecurity for the big urge to leave the country. They quote the wanton destruction of life and property and soaring unemployment. Other social reasons like seeing their peers sending back money to their families and erecting beautiful mansions propel them to also “fall bush.”

Yet, many more are simply disgusted with the poor governance manifested in marginalization, graft and inept leadership. At least one respondent was of the opinion that the Ambazonia separatist leaders living abroad must have been pushed to extremes by these ugly entrenched factors.    

The American DV lottery is a US government programme for receiving a United States Permanent residence card. The Immigration act of 1990 established the current and permanent Diversity Visa, DV, programme. The lottery is administered by the Department of States and conducted under the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA. The DV lottery 2019-2020 has been modified unlike in the past where no qualifications were needed. The recent modifications made are; a valid passport, an Advanced level certificate, and a two years working experience.

*UB students on internship

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