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« Yaounde Kedjoms Honour New Fon | Main | In Defence Of Buea Mayor »

Thursday, 16 June 2005

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Janvier Tchouteu

During revolutionary moments, the suffering, oppressed and struggling masses need legendary leaders who can get ahead of the people from the impasse and futile consensus and find new grounds to chart a unique course of the people’s destiny.

That has been the case of living legends like Mandela to recent ones like Roosevelt, Che Guevara, Lenin, Simon Bolivar or ancient ones like Moses. Lands that have never been blessed by or that never recognized their great, wise, legendary or canonical leaders tend to get haunted for long or even forever and may find themselves trapped in futility forever like a lost man in a desert going around in circles because he lacks a compass. We failed in crushing and burying this system during this phase of the struggle because our political leaders did not embrace a national ideal and failed to distinguish the interest of the struggle and their personal interest. They failed to emulate the positive legacies of our dead legends and heroes.

That is a case in kamerun. Many of us grew up without relating to figures with progressive and embracing political ideologies who never considered it a price for putting their lives at risk or sacrificing it, and who never hesitated to put the interest of the struggle above their personal considerations. Many held that those dead legends and heroes never won the struggle and never got power, so they were failures. However, we failed to understand that even figures like Mandela etc built on the legacies and ideals of their legendary predecessors in order to win the struggle.

In an article of 1988, I wrote, “CAN OUR HISTORY BE REWRITTEN?” That was because I realized our country is a land with “...a mysterious way of transforming heroes into victims and villains into masters....”

That is why outsiders cherish our heroes when we have been taught to know them as villains. That is why the villains, who betrayed kamerun since its pre-independence days and killed the heroes, got worshipped and are in power today. That is why we excuse those who tacitly or openly ensured their survival because we have come to accept that it is “NORMAL” to use the people to achieve wealth, power and glory. We even call it “Long Sense” when other peoples and nations with a sense of honor and integrity call it “BETRAYAL”.

During moments like this, we should dig into the recess of our history and consciously reassess it. Those beautiful Kamerunian minds who never betrayed and who got defeated by the villains should be honored, even posthumously. In addition, we should ponder their ideas and draw strength from them.

In moments of crisis and weakness, nations and people often draw inspiration from their heroes and legends (dead or alive). You find Americans holding onto the legacies of Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt. Russians fall back on Peter the Great, Catherine the Great or Lenin etc. The British on Churchill, Disraeli etc.

In Kamerun today, I personally cannot identify any known political figure that has a positive legacy. However, I can identify great figures in our history who professed selfless, unifying and advance ideals; and whose legacies have been denigrated by the evil system and those who claim to be in the opposition and who felt threatened by them.

I am glad to observe a gradual transformation in the thinking of our population, especially those who have been expressing their views here, even those who profess hostility to my opinions. People are beginning to dissociate themselves from myths and the badly infected mindset caused by the system. It is a gradual psychological process of healing that would end up in us dwelling on the ideals that would realize a new kamerun.

Edna

Mr Javier Tchouteu, please read the Post's guidelines:

Comments which are too long to fit into the comments section should be emailed straight to the Post for publication on the main page.

TATA EAM

Dear Ambassador Quantrill:

I was stunned when I read your "interview responses" about Paul Biya and his administration.

First of all, your responses betray your lack of understanding of the politics and social order of Cameroon since Biya came to power.

This is obvious when you said that the Anglophones are not exploited by the Francophones. West Cameroon has resources like oil, timber, palm oil, etc that contribute to the GDP of Cameroon. However, West Cameroon has not benefited from these resources. West Cameroon has the worst major roads. Biya has refused to develop the natural seaport of Limbe despite pleas from many of us. West Cameroon has no airports, well-equipped government hospitals. There are no foreign investments in this part of the country.

Sir, what you also failed to observe during your stay in Cameroon was the rate of corruption and theft in Biya's administration. Close friend's of Biya (including some of his ministers)were stealing government funds. Biya himself is a victim of malfeasance. Many of these people went unpunished by the law.

Under Biya's watch, Cameroon has become known as the most corrupt country in the world. The government has become a complete oligarchy. One out of three Cameroonians is living in social distress - poverty, poor medical care, unprecedented levels of unemployment, declining standards of living, dusty roads, shorter life spans and so on.

The majority of university graduates can't find jobs. Biya has openly encouraged tribalism and nepotism in his government. He has loaded his administration with his Ewondo brothers and sisters. Most political and ministerial appointments are given to the French speaking provinces. It is clear that the Francophone provinces make the majority; however, Biya has failed to exercise proportionality and fairness in his political appointments.

Mr. Ambassador, I would suggest that you read various disciplines on Democracy and Administration. Clearly, Biya is a dictator who does not want to give up power. Effective leadership is not marked by corruption, short-sightedness, and indifference; rather, it is marked by integrity, fairness, and foresightedness. Biya has been in power for so many years and it is time for him to give way to another person.

ateba

People like this should not be interviewed for they are of no good. When he was ambassador, what did he do if he realized that there was disparity between what was said and what was done.And the anglophone problem, I don't think he is ripe enough to make any assessments. Dear readers, don't take him serious.I think you anglophones have a case whether this man thinks so or not. He hasn't the shoe on, so he does not know where it pinches. I was in UB and the South West and I think anglophones have the right to ask for some things.

Charles Forkwa

The man is a diplomat. What do you expect. Britain has a vested interest in the status quo, so he can say no less. Interviewing him was a waste of time for two reasons: 1) For those who know the history of Cameroon he is being disingeneous 2) Those who don't know the history will come away with the wrong impression that what is going on, although misguided, is tolerable. Both premises are wrong.
Britian abandoned Southern Cameroons(SC) and have yet to acknowledge it and make amends.
The least that SC expected from Britain was advice going into the union, the type of advice Ahidjo got from the French, which would have perhaps leveled the playing field.
There is nothing worst than entering into negotiations blindsided - lacking intelligence about your oponent and strategy, all of which the British had but never shared with SC.

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