Opinion : The Way Forward For Cameroon
Good day dear Brothers and Sisters,
‘Brothers and sisters’ refer to all Cameroonians irrespective of region, color, language and creed. The nation has been going through a lot of pain and we all have to rise up and solve the problems generated under the banner of the Anglophone Problem. We have been faced with a lot of challenges that will not be going away any time soon.
We have the capacity to solve the problems if we choose to. We can fight and kill ourselves if that is what we want to do. But wisdom calls us to address ourselves intelligently and lovingly to our problems and solve them now once and for all. We have to lay a solid foundation otherwise we set the stage for more turmoil tomorrow when our grandchildren will come of age.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES WE HAVE IN CAMEROON?
The Anglophone problem is top on the list.
- Our neglect of the youth; caused and enhanced by a poor educational system that has failed to build our capacities for solving personal and community problems. Our certificates are like fake currency with no intrinsic value. Our heads are full of theories and our hands lack skills.
- Corruption, non-respectfor merit, inertia, lack of accountability; favoritism and tribalism have eaten the nation down to her soul (poor governance).
- Greed, individualism, lack of the sense of common good is settled in our DNA. This is second nature to us.
- Generalized poor infrastructural development all over the country and a failed private sector are not helping matters.
- A Failed Agriculture (we import most of what we eat, rice for instance).
- Failed Economy (we depend only on sales of natural resources, we produce nothing and import everything else that we need).
- Violence, Boko Haram, crime and many other evils are generated by lost hopes in the people.
- We suffer from a chronic disease called inferiority complex so we care more for ego that productivity. Ignorance and irresponsibility crush us daily. (Do you know who I am? Do you know whom you are talking to? Do you know my connections in Yaounde?)
Well and above all, we do not FEAR GOD in this nation. Even some churches have turned into money making rackets and some men of God steal. We have forsaken God’s ways. We look for quick miracles and quick fixes and we blame our failures and lack of self-discipline, diligent work
after proper training on witchcraft and the Devil. Thus we cast and bind everything with the blood of Jesus. We lead our lives with human wisdom and lean on the devil, money, power and materialism for support. Oh men of little faith! How we as individuals and the nation perish for lack of knowledge about the Kingdom of light.
We are spiritual prostitutes. We are not aware of our souls and the Spirit of God that yearns to dwell in us; to lead and guide us daily in our travail and existence.
HOW DO WE FIX THE COMPLEX PROBLEMS?
We certainly need a magic wand that will do the trick for us.
Primo, we need a God consciousness in the nation.
It is not about a God of Miracles, Free Meals and Healings. It has nothing to do with double
portions of blessings because of our tithes.
This money for miracles is armed robbery; deceit and a misrepresentation of God and how his Kingdom operates.
He is not bought and sold. His blessings are free. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these other things shall be added unto you. It is simple. You need no other doctrine. It is free. All you need is your personal commitment to the Kingdom and the King.
Just TRUST HIM, LOVE HIM, COMMUNE WITH HIM. Love your brother as yourself; if you did, you will not kill others. We kill for bread. What a shame. God does not need your money to bless you. He needs your FAITH, TRUST and TOTAL SURRENDER TO HIM. We need TRUTH for Truth is GOD.
We should not lean on our understanding nor on our lands, gold, silver, armor, guns and chariots.
Secondo, we need a new form of the state to help us manage and develop better.
The United Nations recently wrote to say that the territorial integrity of the state should be
maintained and that there should be true and frank dialogue in the nation. We cannot do anything and succeed if we do not follow the instructions of the United Nations. Some people call it a toothless bulldog. That is a huge mistake. You dig your own grave when you neglect her.
One of the key areas that have to be looked at would be the form of the state which will help us fight corruption, create jobs, grow our economy and bring development more rapidly. We have two options here. We are faced with either decentralization or federalism.
I will try to describe a form of government that you have probably not heard of before. Necessity is the mother of invention and I was looking for an acceptable formula that will address all or worries and appeal to the 250 tribes in Cameroon.
Our new state should have Federalism and decentralization principles combined as explained here below.
There should be two federal states (East and West Cameroon).
- There should be a federal capital city (Yaounde)
- The capital of West Cameron should be Buea.
- The Capital of East Cameroon should be new and built on the banks of the River Sanaga on the way to Bafia.
ADD DECENTRALISATION TO THE FEDERAL CONCEPT
If you leave East Cameroon as it, the 8 Regions will still suffer the weight of the centralized government in Bafia.
It is therefore, necessary to cause decentralization within the federal states. That way, the people of the South West Region will not be threatened or feel marginalized by the North West brothers.
The federal structure protects the Anglophones from the crushing Francophone majority and the cultures would not be clashing ever so often again.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST FEDERATION.
Many ill-intentioned people have argued that to have two governments is expensive. Our current government has three times the number of ministers and high level functionaries of the same status than we actually need to be effective and efficient. Check with France and Germany.
The excuse about expense is a ploy to derail. This is not true. It is to maintain the centralized government in which there are no checks and balances, no accountability where favoritism and corruption abound. Those that have the right connections to sip into the nectar love this arrangement and would fight toe and nail to protect it. It is difficult to abolish a productive farm.
Some say that Federalism is a step away from secession. This is another ill-intentioned reason to create fear and confusion in the people for no good reason. Germany, Britain, America, Canada, Belgium are all Federated and well developed. The UN is the guarantor.
MANAGING THE ADMINISRATION, ECONOMY AND BUDGET IN THE FEDERAL ARRANGEMENT
FUNCTIONS OF YAOUNDE ( Federal Capital City).
It takes care of the army, Foreign Affairs, Ministers (state policy), Presidency and National Assembly (National Laws and Policies).
Yaoundé is responsible for major infrastructure like damns, major road networks of the nation, telecommunication, airports, seaports; collecting and disbursing the national budget.
They carry out local development; they run schools, hospitals, and other ministerial departments at their levels. They pay civil servants and sort out retirement issues etc.
THE BUDGET ( hypothetical case).
Let us say that a total of 4000 billion is raised by Yaounde for a fiscal year.
1000 billion of this or so is retained by Yaounde to run her own programs as above.
About 1000 billion is set aside and redistributed to the other Regions in the country that have generated the budget. This avoids the kinds of problems that the Nigerian government is facing with the Delta communities that produce oil, but do not seem to enjoy from the proceeds. Thus people of the East Region would benefit from their wood, gold and more. Those of the Centre would benefit from their cocoa, timber and people from the South west will get a cut from their oil and the CDC.
The rest of the 2000 billion is shared to the ten regions almost equally. However, a little mathematical bias is introduced to take care of the population size, development needs and more. This way, the extreme North will have a little more than the South Region.
This is a template I am putting out to help us think our way through the impasse. It might not be perfect. It could be misunderstood and would probably be rejected by people on both sides of the divide. Again, this is just to help us to be reflecting as we forge ahead.
We need to think our way through this difficulty and I hope that the Church and the United Nations plus some good will Cameroonians that are God fearing will join the government bench in the near future for this frank and open dialogue that has been prescribed by everybody as the way forward. There should be no taboo subjects during the dialogue.
It is understood of course, that we need a new government in place; that people can trust before such a dialogue can take place.
In case I have inadvertently offended you, please, ‘kill’ the message and not the messenger.
Dr. Nick Ngwanyam, MD. Tel/whatsapp 237 67776 4674