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« Letter to People of Goodwill | Main | Q&A: How to deal with corruption in Cameroon »

Thursday, 02 December 2010


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J. S. Dinga

It is interesting the amount of energy Cameroonians expend in putting forth candidates for Cameroon's presidential election. Some candidates get the benefit of a full background expose; others, like Kah Walla, are left to the imagination 0f their mentors. There is nothing more important than a candidate indicating unambiguously the desire to run for office; all wishful thinking on the part of admirers will remain just wishful thinking and nothing more. We saw it with Cardinal Christian Tumi already.

Even if the candidate came forth and indicated the desire to run, one must not underestimate the number of hurdles that can be mounted along his/her way. In Cameeroon, it is no secret that you have to have the "right sounding name" to be considered. This is no invention of a fertile mind. Even with the right sounding mind, one must be prepared for some surprises like manipulation by the ruling oligarchy and its underpinnings to erect a wall on the path of the ambitious candidate. Out here in the southern United States, Wyclef Jean thought he could use his world-wide popularity and run for office of president in his native Haiti. Well, residence requirement was used to put him off consideration well before he even filled papers for his candidacy.

Some may be tempted to dismiss this as an alien matter. Haiti may be far from Cameroon, but Ivory Coast is not. Does the name Alassane Ouattara mean anything to Cameoonians? Here was one prominent citizen of Ivory Coast working out of his country as an international banker with lots of connections in addition to his own savvy. Old man Houphouet Boigny was in the red and needed help very badly. Not only did Alassane Ouattara use his position and his professional know-how to come to the aid of his president, he also answered the clarion call to come home and assist on the spot. For a few years while the old man battled old age and ill health, Alassane Ouattara virtually ran the country in his capacity as prime minister.

Then President Houphouet Boigny passed away and it became necessay to get a new president. Ivoirians had simply and naively assumed that Alassane Ouattara would just slide into the presidential seat the way a certain Pauyl Biya did when Ahmadou Ahidjo took his exit. But no! Not in Ivorty Coast. Alassane Ouattara could not run for the presidency. His identity card which posed no problems when he functioned as prime minister became an issue. He was not qualified to run. He was not considered Ivoirien enough; some said he was a Burkinabe. Oh, no.

And so Ivory Coast lost that wonderful input. Today the man is back trying it again. What ever has changed for the better remains very murky indeed because the results of the run off elections which were to be proclaimed twenty-four hours ago at the latest were not declared. One member of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo's team simply snatched the results from the chairman of the electoral commission and tore them into pieces. The EU and other stake holders are hoding their breath as Ivorians hold theirs? What will happen?

For answer, it may be an exaggeration to bring in Zimbabwe here but if the long delay in proclaiming Zimbabwe's elections can throw some light, why not shed it? As Zimbabweans waited uneasily for their own results, a Chinese ship was crusing along the east coast seeking landing rights and being denied. On board were Chinese weapons for the government of His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe, self styled Bachelor of Violence.

If Zimbabwe's case was extreme, perhaps we should go up north to Kiswahililand and revisit what happened under similar circumstances pitting incumbent Mwai Kibaki against Raila Odinga in Kenya. Well, the bloodbath that followed is history. But some where along came Kofi Annan, former Secretary-Genral of the United Nations to broker a peace and put in place something pompously called "African Solution to an African Problem." It allowed the loser of that election to stay put and share power with the winner. Sad solution. Raila protested, arguing that it was like sharing his milk with the person who stole his cow. Well, Kofi Annan brought in some peace, defined in African terms as the absence of a shooting war, which is of couorse not good enough!

Last month US authorities arrested an Ivorian military peronnel oout here shopping for arms even as the United Nations has an arms embargo on that country. Ministers rose up shamelessly defending the arrested man and claiming that the military nneded them to prepare for what the opposition was cooking. That opposition to Laurent Gbagbo is of course Alassane Ouattara.

In all of these, the hapless citizens remain in limbo as their economic and social plight worsen. Who wants that type of Africa? Did someone say the cold war is over and the West has no need for another Mobutu sese seku kuku Ngbendu wa Zabanga?
Really? I wonder....

simon Atoh

"In Cameeroon, it is no secret that you have to have the "right sounding name" to be considered."

J.S. Dinga, you got it completely wrong. Cameroon, as I know it, has no descendants or children that have followed the footsteps of their parents or grandparents, who were politicians and who brought that nation some pride, either before its independence or after. When you talk about the "right sounding name", I take it that you mean the Ahidjos, Munas, Fonchas, Endeleys or the Um Nyobes.
Can you point out if there any offsprings of these men, who today, by virtue of the "right sounding name" that you indicated are using it politically to their own advantage?
Besides, what is wrong about putting forth the names of candidates that one fervently believes could make a difference in that beleaguered nation called Cameroon? I take it from your comments, typical of many Cameroonians, that you probably have an issue with Dr. Fomunyou's candidacy. I would not hesitate to throw in my support behind you if you can prove that you've got what it takes to bring some sanity in Cameroon.

Va Boy

Who is or are funding Chris Fomunyoh? Did they develop cold feet?

Atah Ka

That' an interesting article. I agree with the writer; Dr. Fomunyoh is the best option for Cameroon. Based on his background; I'm sure he will provide us with a good reason for not declaring as early as some did. I haven't heard about some of those that declared since the day the declaration was made public. I still read about Dr. Chris all the time - an indication that this MAN has moved a lot of people & that Cameroonians are seeing some hope in him, etc. 2011 is around the corner. A lot of us are ready to shift gears & engage if Dr Chris decides to run.

J. S. Dinga

Mr Simon Atoh, I am not sure I know by whom you swear -God, Allah, Dieu, Dios or other - but it is my hope that some day you will be enlightened to see my write-up in the light it was intended rather than what you believe. Before I wrote, I actually read and slept on Joseph Ndifor's article. I also revisited our long journey from colonial rule till today and made ample allusion to what obtains under other skies. I did not hurry to challenge Mr. Ndifor. All I gave was an honest plea that while well wishers make their views heard, it would be more important for the potential candidate to come out unambiguoulsy and declare an intention to run. Nothing could be clearer; whether such a statement in any way alludes to my rival claim to run, only you in your infinite wisdom can answer.

One of my favorite priests once quipped that whenever he took his finger and pointed to something, nine times out of ten people tended to concentrate on the finger rather than what he was pointing to. I suppose it is human nature to take on the messenger instead of the message. I am not challenging your candidate at all please; I was simply contributing my modest quota to the monumental task ahead, should your candidate, whom I do not know, decide to run. Of course I would wish him all the luck in his venture.
I am reluctantly giving you this hint, Mr Simon Atoh, simply to cut a very long story short.One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know, within the context of contemporary Cameroon, what "right-sounding name" means. The records are there - ministerial, ambassadorial, and prefectorial nominations over the years, appointments of heavyweights into parastatals, governors, right down to the smallest offices. Look at our many collapsing parastatals and look at our national soccer team that wasa once the pride of us all. You just need to read on and between the lines. Why assault me when you could so easily ascertain the facts and leave our elderly departed senior citizens rest peacefully in their graves? And could this be the only thing that touched your sensitivity in all of my write-up? I rest my case.


Dr. Funmonyo would be a fresh alternative and a credible candidate for the presidency. I just would like to konw about his political platform and program.

With the proper political platform and governance program, He could overcome many obstacles and get elected PR. Has he already established the necessary connections and alliances? Biya is very vulnerable this time around. What is needed is the right jolt and he is out. If Dr. Funmonyo would reach beyond his native region, he could make it. Cameroonians are crying for a fresh, inspiring and hopeful leader...

No one in Cameroon has an aristocratic background or name that could place him or her ahead of any other Cameroonian for the race to the presidency. We are not there yet.


Cameroonians at the grass roots are today ophans and there will be nothing more interesting than someone like Dr. Funmonyo putting smiles on their faces come October 2011.
The politcal plat form of Cameroon may look rough but a democratiaclly equiped figure like Chris is the David to face Goliath in the race to Etoudi. We duely await.

 Patriotic Cameroonian.

Fomunjoh is bad for Cameroonians. He cannot win an election even if they were conducted in the anglophone regions alone. Be real.

i think we should take this guy serious and give him a chance if we need change.

mami ya


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