Another election year has come upon us, even as those who were elected five years ago for Senators, Parliamentarians and Mayors and, seven for the President of the Republic seem to be in wondering contemplation whether these past years have any basis in reality.
The element of surprise emanates from a clear avowal of incapacity to deliver according to schedule and unfulfilled promises made during campaigns for the ebbing mandate. The only signs of representation of the people’s mandate are cars and houses built for personal comfort with nothing to show in the communities whose votes had catapulted them to positions of authority, even if, without responsibility.
This uninviting circumstance in any case, is not limited to the ruling CPDM. Even in Councils administered by opposition political parties, the story may just be different in negligible degrees. The common denominator is unmitigated disregard for the welfare of their electorates. After all, there is nobody to call them to order. This worrisome outcome is derivable from administrators who pass off as supervisory authorities despite the oddity of such circumstance that is not supposed to have obtained in the first place.They hardly strain their minds in relation to whether elected Mayors work in accordance with statutes. It suffices for mayors to oil the mouths of epicurean administrators and concern for the welfare of communities will in a jiffy be thrown to the dogs. In the event, the electorate has become lethargic to issues of political bearing. Even registering as prelude to acquitting themselves of a civic responsibility like voting has become anathema, to the point where in a country of more than 20 million people, it has been persistently impossible to have up to 10 million voters on the electoral roll.
The current disposition of potential voters notwithstanding, Mr. Biya who has vested himself with the prerogative of, solely, deciding when and how elections hold in Cameroon, has already set the bells chiming for a series of invitations to the electorate in the course of the year. What this portends is that there is no letting up either by his CPDM surrogates or him in terms or an invidious quest to cling to power even as they have been clearly disavowed by most Cameroonians. The CPDM is determined to foist itself on Cameroonians no matter the prevailing political turmoil whose origin is rooted clearly in its inability to pilot the country to safe anchor, despite all the available material and human resources, just like Mr. Biya unabashedly, makes no bones about another run at the presidency. To that end, nobody can deny them their right to savour political power. After all, Mr. President had made it clear that the constitution is a toy that can be deployed according to his whims as long as it exudes the satisfaction it was intended to provide.
However, the issue currently at stake is not whether the CPDM wants to maintain itself in power or that the party and its national president had since lost legitimacy. What should concern Cameroonians is how to eject President Paul Biya and the CPDM from Etoudi, the National Assembly and various municipalities in the country. This is of capital importance because it is the first step towards reinstating the rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance. For this to happen there is only one possible solution. The opposition must stand as one. While conceding that this is certainly a Herculean task given the antecedents in the quest for a single candidate to stand against the ubiquitous CPDM rigging machinery, the project can nevertheless, be carried to safe anchor if concern for the nation is given precedence instead of pampering of individual egos.
Granted that the CPDM has the advantage of omnipresence nationwide owing to the fact that no distinction is made between the much vaunted ruling party and the state, there is still room for opposition victory in the presidential given the putrid stigma that the “Government party” has attracted to itself. The fact that it has mismanaged the economy, too, is not news to discerning Cameroonians apart from hangers on who want the state cow to be milked to dryness. Even worse is the fact that the country is in political turmoil, no thanks to Mr. Biya’s aversion to frank and inclusive dialogue.
Another pole of attraction is the success the opposition Union for Change brought to bear against Biya in the 1992 presidential election. If only personality conflicts can for once be swept under the carpet and the good of Cameroon projected, then there will certainly be room for ultimate victory.
These are issues that cannot be undermined by any wary Cameroonian. They certainly cast aspersions against the ruling oligarchy in the minds of potential voters. This is, also, where political maturity comes in. In the current circumstance wherein Anglophones worry who to be called villain and who to glorify between federalists and separatists, it is becoming increasingly difficult to adopt a common strategy. The illusion of an Ambazonian state seems to have infested the minds of Anglophones to the point where any contrary view is considered anathema. Those who have attained maturity in terms of voting eligibility have refused to register. How then do we hope to come up with an alternative to the Biya political onslaught? The situation is not different within Francophone population even as here, there is an issue of bloated egos of politicians rather than real dichotomy emergent from political choices.
If we are earnestly concerned with bequeathing a better Cameroon to our offspring, we must begin to think of our collective good and imbue in ourselves and communities with the spirit of sacrifice that will permit us to forgo some things today for the good of our children’s tomorrow. It is only with mind-sets cast in such a perspective that we can begin fathoming a better tomorrow, devoid of the current bloodletting and economic woes inflicted on us by a clique that believes in here and now, instead of planning for a better tomorrow. A group that has planted their children in strategic positions to perpetuate pauperisation in a country where there would have been enough for everyone’s need even though not for their greed is riding roughshod on us, the time is now to weed them off the political landscape. The time is now to register and vote.
By Ngoko Monyadowa