2, June 2016
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will extend an olive branch to several high profile conservative figures in US politics on Wednesday. The site More
2, June 2016
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will extend an olive branch to several high profile conservative figures in US politics on Wednesday. The site More
2, June 2016
Angelina Jolie Pitt, the UN refugee agency’s special envoy, has warned that the international humanitarian system for refugees is breaking down. More
2, June 2016
Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has been found after being missing for more than a day, say police near Chicago. Wilmette Police told the BBC she More
2, June 2016
A leading rights group has condemned the use of excessive force by Kenya’s police, who violently dispersed opposition protesters in four major towns, including Nairobi, Monday. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said it was “particularly dismayed by the gory More
2, June 2016
The October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops dedicated to the theme of the Pastoral Care of the Family in the context of the New Evangelization was truly extraordinary, and in many ways! For the records, it set out to present the beauty of the Christian family amidst present-day threats to family life across the globe, but more acute in the Western world. It almost ended up saying too little, too late, about what this Christian family means and how we as a Church could support those families that are heroically living out the Christian model of family life. Catholicism suddenly found itself in an unanticipated doctrinal storm: was the Catholic Church, the only surviving institution that had rejected the ethos of the sexual revolution unleashed in Europe in the 1960s, finally conceding that the post-modern Freudians were right, after all, and the Barque of Peter wrong?
To think about this whole cloudy October of 2014 is quite frankly, irritating. How did Peter’s barque found itself in a situation in which the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, et cetera, quickly intercepted their programs to read a new headline: Catholic Church Changes Teachings on Gays and Divorce? I disagree with those who want to blame the secular media. We gave them the headlines! I think the media was far serious about what they wanted to report to the world as coming from the Synod. Watching Cardinal Erdo and his team present the mid-term report and listening to the questions posed by the journalists present left any objective onlooker with the feeling that the media men and women sitting in that Vatican Press Office genuinely wanted to know whether Rome meant what the words in the Synod document meant!
To compound matters, the Vatican had imposed a blackout on the individual interventions of the bishops at the Synod. That left the media with only the filtering lens of Fr. Lombardi and Cardinal Erdo’s Secretariat. The media was therefore under-starved by the Synodal process. Come to think of the fact that these are men and women paying hotel bills to live in Rome! They wanted information to convince their editors that they deserved their paychecks for being in Rome for two weeks. Consequently, the so-called mid-term report – Relatio post Disceptationem, was the first real, substantial encounter that the media had with the Synod world. Who will blame them for the excitement that finally, Catholicism had caved-in into the dreams of the hostile secularists and often times, atheistic media halls? Who will blame the media for celebrating the triumph of the Eiffel ToweroverNotre Dame? Their moment had come, but only for a while! I pray and hope so!
How did we get to this position? It all started February 20th2014, when, at the behest of Pope Francis, Cardinal Kasper delivered a lengthy two-hour lecture to the Consistory of the College of Cardinals on the question of the pastoral care of the family. The most outstanding novelty of the lecture was Kasper’s proposal that couples that are divorced and civilly remarried could, after a period of penitence, be allowed to receive the Eucharist without an ecclesiastical annulment. From the post-consistory news bits, it would seem Kasper’s proposal was not warmly received by many of the Cardinals present. It is on record that Kasper got angry by the many Cardinals who spoke after his presentation, raising objections to such a proposal that clearly had no foundation in Tradition and Scripture. However, Pope Francis publicly praised Kasper, calling the lecture a “profound” theology, a theology done on one’s knees, a theology done with the feeling of the Church – sentire cum ecclesia!
Thereafter, Kasper seemed to have been let loose! It would seem his moment had arrived! He had not only delivered a lifetime lecture to the most elitist club of Roman Catholicism, but had won the public approval and endorsement of the Pope! What more could be desired? The press crowned him “the Pope’s Theologian.” Not even the profound theological objections raised by his brother Cardinals amounted to anything to Kasper. Kasper went on to produce his address to the Cardinals in a book entitled The Gospel of the Family.In fact, when he came to Boston College for one of his post-consistory numerous global lectures and interviews, he made a side-comment to a professor of Boston College that those Cardinals who objected to his proposal did not understood him, implying their arguments were of a straw-man nature! His brother Cardinals showed Kasper that they understood his arguments, and that he was wrong!
Shortly before the Synod, three publications emerged, all championed by members of the College of Cardinals: The Hope of the Family by Gerhard Cardinal MULLER, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; The Gospel of the Family– as if to challenge Kasper’s book with the same title,led by George Cardinal Pell, Secretary of the Secretariat of the Economy of the Vatican; and the most expansive, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, by Walter Cardinal BRANDMULLER, Raymond Cardinal BURKE, Carlo Cardinal CAFFARRA, Velasio Cardinal DE PAOLIS, and others. (I will encourage the bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province to subsidize these three books for all major seminarians and priests of our province). In a word, these books bring alive the rich patrimony on marriage that Catholicism could offer the world. One gets the feeling that the Catholic teaching on marriage is our “best-kept secret”!
The current debates on marriage seem to fall within the milieu of moral theology. A closer examination from these books reveals a broad Catholic base:dogmatic theology considers marriage from the point of view of sacramentality and attendant qualities: indissolubility, monogamy, fruitfulness and education of children in the faith; moral theology is about the anthropology of human sexuality and parenthood; canon law views marriage from legitimacy and its pathologies; the role of pastoral theology is to promote the plan of marriage and how to live out this vision in a pluralistic and complex world; finally, spiritual theology is about the Christian life of witnessing, marriage as the domestic church, lived out in prayer, worship, sin and grace, falling and rising in our marital commitment, et cetera.
With such a rich patrimony, the mid-term report could not have been more shocking, even to the secular media world. As the head of the Polish Bishop’s Conference, ArchbishopStanislaw Gądecki told Vatican Radio on October 13th 2014, the Relatio Post Disceptationem was a marked departure from our patrimony, especially the magisterium of St. John Paul II! To Cardinal Burke, the Relatio had little or no foundation in Scripture and Tradition.
I have already written about how this infamous Relatio came to be and its eventual demolition in the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Needless repeating myself here. The Final Report– RelatioSynodi, was a marked improvement of the mid-term report, in the minds of many, thanks to bishops standing up for orthodoxy. Where do we go from here? How do we prepare for the 2015 Ordinary Synod? What lessons have we learnt as Church worth keeping in mind as we prepare for 2015? Two suggestions from a simple and young mind:
Firstly, bishops, priests and the laity should foster a rediscovery of the Catholic teaching of the grammar of sexuality that is built into our experience and understanding of creation. The problematic paragraphs of the mid-term report showed that Catholicism was throwing away its understanding of the sexual language of Creation Theology, an understanding that is accessible to both faith and reason: What does creation, male and female, teach Catholicism and the world about the sexual act? What does the female and male anatomy teach Catholicism and the world about the sexual act? Does reason have a place in the sexual act, or is the sexual act an exclusive domain of feelings and emotions? If we follow emotions alone, where do we draw the line? What happens when a mother says, as we heard recently in the news in the US, that she and her daughter have sexual feelings for each other and have decided to “marry”? More pointedly, and this is what Catholic bishops must ask themselves in all honesty: does God have a place in the sexual act? Can God still speak to humans, created male and female, about sex? Should revelation as contained in Scripture be allowed into the sexual act? In the final analysis, the crisis about sexuality is a crisis about God. Is sex an area that is exclusively human, or can God say a word? Should God be allowed to?
Put differently, the greatest omission of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod was the total snubbing of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body! Bishops should encourage formative seminars on the Theology of the Body. May be the bishops themselves need lessons on the Theology of the Body, urgent ones, to spare Catholicism the kind of embarrassment we faced from the mid-term report, which was a work that came from a meeting of bishops! Sexuality and Creation are the big themes for 2015. A friend of mine chided me for still believing in bishops to hand on the orthodox faith! Do we have any other option? I am sure, hope and pray, that Athanasius, Cyprian, Augustine, Ignatius, Basil, Gregory, Ambrose, Borromeo, will still inspire their successors in 2015!
Secondly, why should Catholicism care about marriage and the family? How can we rediscover and represent our Catholic goods of marriage in 2015: the good of exclusive, reciprocal fidelity (bonumfidei); the good of fruitfulness and education of children (bonumprolis); and the good of the indissolubility symbolized in the indissoluble bond between Christ and his Church (bonumsacramenti), are Catholic goods worth rediscovering and presenting to the world, come October 2015. What does allowing Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried without an annulment say about the Catholic teaching of the reception of Eucharist by those in objective state of grave sin, which adultery clearly is? What is the difference between simultaneous polygamy, a man having many wives at once, and subsequent polygamy, a man or woman divorcing and remarrying, first marriage, second marriage, and even third, without an annulment? If the latter could be allowed to receive the Eucharist, why not the former?
The drama continues!
2, June 2016
Church Historians and Vatican watchers are telling us that a confrontation like that had never been seen before, perhaps not even at the Second Vatican Council. Soon after nine on Thursday, October 16, 2014, the General Secretary to the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, took to the floor and announced that the relationes of the circuliminores would not be made public, a reverse course from what had always happened in the past and that was affirmed in the previous days.
In other words, only the Relatio post disceptationem, which Cardinal Peter Erdo signed and which Archbishop Bruno Forte wrote, would have been fed to the press. Cardinal George Pell rose up strongly against Cardinal Baldisseri’s novelty. After him, a long line of Fathers, from the Archbishop of Brussels, Abp. Léonard, to that of Durban, Cardinal Napier, asked that the matter be at least put to a vote. Even the Secretary of State took the floor. At the end, as Cardinal ChristophSchönborn said at a press conference some hours later that, “the decision to render public the relationes of the circuli was taken by a large majority.” The texts are clear, and go in an opposite direction as the one upheld by Cardinal Walter Kasper.The Major Archbishop of Kiev, SviatoslavShevchuk, spoke directly of the need of “sending a clear message to the faithful and to the Pope” on the fact that “the family is the stable, faithful, and sacramental union between a man and a woman.”
The most controversial and delicate points, from the question of the approaching of remarried divorcees to the Eucharist, to the overture to homosexual unions, were dismantled almost unanimously because many Synod Father said very little had been said of same sex unions – not more than three interventions in the assembly -yet Monday’s Relatio spoke about it ad abundantiam.
A clear consequence of Cardinal Baldisseri’s miss-steps and Kasper’s anti-African interview to Edward Pentin, led to the addition of one African, Cardinal Napier, and also an Australian, Abp. Dennis Hart of Melbourne, to the original six-man papal drafting committee. Cardinal Kasper has since denied the interview he gave to Edward Pentin, who responded by pasting the recorded interview online. Cardinal Kasper has now been publicly revealed, thanks to the Pentin interview and his denial as a man filled with incomprehensible anti-Christian racial superiority. On a trip to US that took him to Boston College and Fordham University, New York and other cities, Kasper even made sarcastic side comments about the liturgical reforms of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. His criticisms did not stop there. The eventual target was Humanae Vitae of Blessed Paul VI, a magisterial document that has turned out to be very prophetic in many ways.
Take number 17 for example: “Let men and women first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. (Humane Vitae, 17).
Why Cardinal Kasper cannot see that changing Church discipline cannot ignore a change in Church doctrine remains a puzzle. If the second marriage is not “in the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:39), then the words of Christ to the Samaritan woman is applicable: “You are right in saying ‘I have no husband, for you have five husbands, and he whom you now have in not your husband; this you said truly” (John 4:17-18). In this case, not only will the Church be ignoring the clear and stern admonition of Our Lord on divorce and remarriage as constituting adultery (Mathew 19:9; Mark 10:10-12); but the will be guilty of facilitating the situation described by St. Paul: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27). Cardinal George Pell said it all: “On the question of divorce and remarriage, I am sticking with Jesus!” Kasper has to be reminded that the solution to the empty pews in the German Church is not a dilution of Christ’s teaching! The Lutherans already did that and the pews became emptier. The Church of England did that and more Muslims go to the Mosques on Fridays than Anglicans go to the Church on Sundays in England! A crisis of faith is met by a robust re-proposal of the joy of the gospel, to cite Pope Francis.
At a time when the world is confused about the very meaning of marriage and the family, Catholicism owes the future of civilization the duty of offering to the world, once more, the beauty of marriage, “in the Lord,” – a union of one man and one woman, exclusive and open to the gift of life, forever – symbolizing the “forever” love of Christ for the Church (Ephesians 5:32-33). This is not the time for heterodoxy hidden under a false sense of “mercy” to dominate a synod of bishops. Catholicism cannot afford to speak from both sides of the mouth on the issue of marriage and the family. Fortunately, we have a rich magisterium to draw from: CastiConnubi, Gaudium et Spes, Humanae Vitae, FamiliarisConsortio, Evangelium Vitae, Deus Caritas Est, Evangelii Gaudium, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and above all, the Sacred Scriptures, not leaving out the teaching of Fathers of the Church.
We thank God that the 2014 sausage-making Synod is over. We thank God for the bishops who stood for the faith of our fathers and mothers. Now is the time to journey deeply into the timeless teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. Now is the time for Kasper to retire to a monastery and pray for the Church! Benedict XVI showed a beautiful and wonderful example of the apostolate of prayer worth emulating, when he abdicated the throne of Peter to take up the new position “at the foot of the cross” – in his own words, to pray for the Church!
2, June 2016
Jerome Mendouga, who boasted of his close kinship with Paul Biya could never have believed that he will end a 30 year diplomatic career in Jail, under Biya’s regime. Mendouga who has real estate property in Bangui and many other African capitals where he has served, at attempted to seek asylum in the United States and Canada to no avail.
Ironically, he spent 15 years in Washington D.C misrepresenting to the US government that in Cameroon the rule of law prevails, and that claims by asylees that they are being locked up in Kondengui are false. He had his mea culpa when he went to Yaounde, only to end up in Kondengui. When the “Washington Dipomat” (magazine) interviewed him a few years ago, he was so distraught and ashamed. He claimed that if anyone told him that he will end his thirty year service to his country in jail, he could never have believed.
Mendouga’s death in the ignominy of Kondengui, is a testament to the perfidy of the Biya dictatorship, which devours friend and foe alike. Now that Gervais Mendo Ze is in Kondengui, it would be sweet Karma if he too kicked the bucket inside his kinsman’s dungeon. In Mendo Ze’s case they will need a really big coffin.
2, June 2016
“Brace for impact!” Only few survivors of plane crashes live to tell the story of the sheer horror of those ominous words … heard through the Aircraft’s public address system, in the harrowing seconds, before the plane goes down.Yet, this is the same feeling most Cameroonians are now having, because of the sheer uncertainty of 82-year old Biya, whose succession has become another French-micro-managed scandal, like Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. Cameroonians generals and some well-placed members of Biya’s presidential guard have shipped their families abroad and are maintaining open-ended visas, to enable them leave on short notice.
Biya who has ruled the country from a Swiss hotel, like the absentee-landlord of a criminal enterprise, is now faced with in- fighting between his most trusted accomplices. Martin Belinga Eboutou, Rene Sadi, Alain Edgar Mebe- Ngo’o and other members of his close concentric circle of flunkies, are divided on how the succession process should occur. Of course, each group is supported by its own lobby at the Elysee in Paris.
Those who argue the Biya has signed a concealed order to be release in the event of his sudden death, claim that his chose of Rene Sadi as his successor is informed by his Baboute ethnicity- a small Muslim ethic group in the Mbam and Kim division, that will allow Biya to thwart the power ambitions of the Fulani royalty of the North, who claim the leadership in Cameroon as their birth right … on the threat of civil war.
The recent French rescue of Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compoare, and his exile in Yamoussoukro – Ivory Coast, is a recent indicator of the long arm of the French in its nominally independent former colonies, which are still treated as the oversees extension of the French empire. The ultra-militarization of the country has left Cameroonians terrified and cowered by the vicissitudes of daily survival, and the need to leach on the boss who may be linked to the winning lobby.
Cameroonians abroad are busy burnishing their images with Washington and Paris, and presenting lofty résumés’ as to what leadership skills and erudition they possess. Due to the centralization of power in Yaoundé, the common folk in the villages are left out in this succession struggle.
Anglophones are again being naïve in thinking that the French will be out of their mind to accept one of them, as a leader in one of their strategic neo-colonies, which is the gateway to their Central African Empire. With leaders like Fru Ndi, who has accepted bribes to play by the rules of French domination, the present crop of appointees shine only through their cowering and cringing attitude to their Francophone boses like Fame Ndongo who claims that Biya is a “tin-god” with Philemon Yang, Achidi Achu, Nji Atanga, the late Agbor Tabi, Ngolle Ngolle, as his “creatures”
Anglophones, the orphaned people handed over to the British after the second world war, have been described by Pierre Mesmer (Former French Governor in Cameroon and French Prime Minister in the 60s) as a little gift of the Queen of England to General De Gaulle. Crafty aspirants to Anglophone leadership have been hitching their hopes on a lucky Francophone master who could be picked by France to rule Cameroon- their private hunting ground.
The real problem of Cameroon, that the French have refused to deal with, is again rearing its ugly head. Will Cameroon finally accept the democratic and demographic solution of one-man, one vote?. That is the question that is plaguing power brokers like Joseph Owona and Amadou Ali who see the youth bulge that constitutes the majority of the country now, as a Bamileke problem.
According to some conservative Cameroonian pundits, with approximately 250 distinct ethnic entities, the Bamilekes who live in feudal fiefdoms do not seem to stand a chance, by dint of their control of the economic, financial and demographics of Cameroon. That is why the French “pacifier” of the Bassa and Bamileke nationalist movement, referred to the “Bamilekes” as the prickly pebble in the shoe of French colonization in Cameroon.
2, June 2016
Some hours before 8:00 p.m. when Paul Biya had to address the nation, I bought a copy of Marafa Hamidou Yaya’s recent book “Le Choix de l’Action” [Choice of Action]. Since I was very interested in the elections he organized, I quickly thumbed through the book and fell on p. 57 where a telephone exchange he had with Paul Biya related to the election of Jean Jacques Ekindi in 2007 to the National Assembly from Wouri Centre constituency, is reported. It left me upset and disappointed that indeed, the people’s will has always been manipulated from the summit of the state by the same person who always refers to the people’s will when he is asked why he is still hanging on for 32 years.
It is in that state of despair that I sat checking his past New Year messages while waiting for the griots to draw the curtains. So by the time he started speaking, I had just read what he said on December 31, 2011: “we now have a roadmap, the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper which sets the objectives for this decade…”; we are entering our “first phase of a ‘long march’ towards being an emergent country…” like the “new Asian dragons some 30 years ago”; Cameroon would be a “vast construction site in 2012”; “in the past, government action suffered from lack of entrepreneurial approach and the administration from inactivity. We must overcome this inertia which has caused us so much harm”; “corruption is an insidious and dreadful enemy”; there will be a “new impetus” …
On December 31, 2012 he promised victory over the energy “battle,” linking of regional capitals with tarred roads, the “agrarian revolution,” that “in a couple of months or a couple of years our country will be dotted with construction sites, dams, power plants, ports, factories and road,” etc. And the rhetorical questions of December 31, 2013: “Are we different from others that are succeeding in other places? What do we lack? What is the use of some follow-up commissions? Why does government action lack coherence and transparency? Why are there so many administrative bottlenecks…?”
Well, here we are at the end of 2014 or at the beginning of 2015. There is no way of having a structured examination of the message because it did not really have a structure. It is interesting how we believed these utterances even after some 30 unproductive years about vast construction sites, energy battles, road maps, agrarian revolutions, and … “emergence”! As expected, everything has become blurred just a few years after the “emergence” mantra entered our political discourse. That blurring has caused the tinkering of another buzz word: “contingency plan!”
When the regime engaged in a fast and loose game with its actions at the council of ministers’ meeting of December 9, 2014, there was no doubt that it was just a frantic effort to write the script of the end-of-year message. After all, a contingency plan was promised in the December 31, 2013 message, so with a few days left, something needed to be done! And so they engaged in another aimless search for “newness” by adding “contingency plan” to their evolving vocabulary of “development”: ambition, realization, emergence, and now …contingency plan! And who do we have to look over it? Not the government, not a group of hired multidisciplinary experts, but a group of ministers led by the prime minister! If such a small group of ministers can follow-up a “plan” that will get us out of the tunnel, why the large government the regime sustains?
Not to worry because the “plan” is just a plan. The regime is good at indulging in these types of games of misdiagnosis and partial diagnosis that give them outcomes beyond their comprehension, so they always package placebos and tote them around as cures! Nothing can be expected from a government run as several disjointed parts, manned by people who consider themselves “creations” of one man, whom they spend their time worshipping instead of working as a coordinated team to serve the interests of the nation. The regime is surely at its wits’ end!
Our abhorrence of repressive instruments, whether they are the 1962 anti-subversion ordinance or the 2014 anti-terrorism law is based on our distrust of a regime that abused the anti-subversive ordinance to create more problems for society. We remember Bebey Eyidi and others that were jailed as “subversives” for criticizing Ahidjo; we remember Yondo Black and others that were jailed by Biya as “subversives” just for thinking about multiparty politics. We remember how Ahidjo imposed his one-party regime and subverted the reunification agenda in a society cowed by the anti-subversion ordinance. Importantly, we remember how Law no 90/054 on the maintenance of law and order has been abused by administrative authorities to seriously reduce the societal space in which civil society and opposition political parties were supposed to carry out their activities.
The letter of the anti-terrorism law may not be to repress social liberties, but the above self-serving abuses inform us not to trust a regime that has orchestrated those abuses in the past. In an age when humans sentence themselves to death by acting like suicide bombers, the political and social consequences of the death sentence should always be well considered to avoidoutcomes like those that followed the execution in 1995 of leaders of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), including its founder Ken Saro-Wirwa, or the execution of Boko Haram founder Mohamed Yusuf in 2009, to name just those two cases. It is also appropriate to sound the warning again: in applying the anti-terrorism law, we should beware of McCarthyism!
On top of these worries, when an instrument meant for the protection of citizens and their properties is used to breach the rights of citizens to their individuality, the emergence of citizen responsibility is blocked. In the absence of such responsibility, there can be no solidarity. And in the absence of solidarity in society, no force can fight against the monster of modern terrorism. Citizen responsibility is like the responsibility of a family member for the behavior of other family members. From past experience, we fear that the spirit of the anti-terrorism law may endanger citizen responsibility because it seems to be more about the safety of the Biya regime which most Cameroonians no longer want, than about the security of the nation which all Cameroonians want and are anxious to support.
On December 31, 2013 Paul Biya said that the constitutional council would be put in place in “un délai raisonnable” [a reasonable time]. There must be some mystery about the Constitutional Council, not the simple putting together of people from different structures in the manner prescribed up to 19 years ago by the Constitution of January 18, 1996. If the regime agonizes over a simple matter like this, more difficult actions needed to unleash the nation’s potential in manufacturing, in services, and indeed in all sectors will take it a very long time – if ever! This toying with simple actions is indeed a metaphor for the laxity that we keep hearing about from its champion.
The problem of Cameroon today does not seem to be the lack of budgetary allocations because each year, annual budgets are under-spent, and much of the budgeted money is embezzled. The problem is therefore not about cutting costs and charging more taxes or spending scarce resources on the fight against terrorism. The problem is government systems and procedures that do not just work. The problem is the way we have done things during 30-some years which cannot produce different results. The problem is an environment bounded by repressive laws that inhibit the free flow of ideas, obstruct interactions between people with different perspectives, and lock up citizen potentials. The problem cannot really be said to be the absence of “peace” because we cannot convincingly say that our achievements during the last 30 year of “peace” – before Boko Haram et al. – can be described as “positive.”
The problem of our society is roads that are built without a maintenance infrastructure (periodic, routine or rehabilitation) so they become weak and dilapidated with age like we witness all over the country. The problem is that we are unable to appropriately streamline our investment projects along our two seasons of rain and sunshine. The problem is the absence of a transparent and efficient anti-corruption program which is not itself mired in corruption. The problem is that too many decisions in the country are in the hands of too few and too same people. The problem is that those at the summit of the state still have a one-party mindset, and treat those who criticize or differ with state authorities like enemies.
A government must have an overall strategy of service delivery to society. Government departments should be run by people who consider themselves business leaders, capable of continuous innovative and strategic thinking and action. Such strategies and innovations should be discussed, evaluated and fine-tuned in regular ministerial council meetings. Ministerial council meetings are not supposed to be a monologue. The president who constitutionally presides over the meetings should use the forum to draw from the collective expertise of each participant, not for staging the shows that give the impression of a haughty master in a kindergarten classroom.
It is amusing after reading the exchanges between Marafa Hamidou Yaya and Paul Biya as indicated above, to hear him say that our democracy is “working well!” There is obviously a serious disconnect between the people and the regime of Paul Biya. At the end of the day, development is a human product. However many “plans” or much money is thrown into the process, when the people are not in the right mood, only the same results of failure and end-of-year rhetorical questions will keep repeating themselves.
The fact that the outcomes of government actions do not produce desired services for so long a time is an indication that government is stuck in an unproductive routine. Perhaps the some university dons or other experts need to carry out some human-sciences-based analyses on both government and the society it serves to find insights that can be translated to productive initiatives, different from the decorative “plans” that always end up in failure and the enrichment of regime barons through corruption and embezzlement. But such insights may be beyond the comprehension of a gerontocracy. That is precisely why the need for change in Cameroon is so urgent.
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