Biya’s empty speech on the 51st Edition of the so-called National Youth Day 1

My dear young compatriots,

In recent years, I have continually urged you to spare no effort to overcome the obstacles that could stand in your way. I also encouraged you to use your resourcefulness, your creativity and your courage, to secure your future.

I think I have been understood by many of you, like our dear INDOMITABLE LIONS, whose remarkable victory at the recent Africa Cup of Nations brought great jubilation to our people.

The new feat achieved by the Indomitable Lions barely a few weeks after the equally remarkable performance of our Women’s National Football Team in a similar competition, confirms the vitality of our youth and demonstrates to the world that “impossible is un-Cameroonian”.

During these two competitions, we all admired the talent, courage and patriotic commitment of our young footballers, as well as their capacity to unite in order to defend the national flag.

This determination to serve the Republic is also celebrated day by day among our defense and security forces, as well as vigilante groups which are fighting in unison to protect our country from the Boko Haram terrorist sect.

My dear young compatriots,

Your enthusiasm to join the defence and security forces at this moment bears eloquent testimony to your attachment to the peace and stability of our country, as well as your burning desire to serve your fatherland.

You demonstrate similar commitment in your various activities which contribute to our country’s inexorable march towards emergence.

I would like to congratulate you on that.

My dear young compatriots,

As we prepare to celebrate your Day, I cannot fail to mention the challenges faced by your brothers and sisters in the North-West and South-West Regions.

Due to the strike actions initiated by some trade unions, classes have been disrupted in these regions for several weeks now. I ordered a constructive dialogue between the Government and the trade unions concerned in order to find consensual solutions to the problems raised. These negotiations, which took place within the framework of the ad hoc committees set up to that end, helped to define the issues and determine ways and means to address them.

The Government has already taken some actions to implement the recommendations made by the committees I have just mentioned. Other actions will follow soon. These efforts notwithstanding, there have been lingering difficulties, especially owing to the emergence of political demands by extremist and separatist organizations. Preaching hate and violence, these organizations have committed or caused serious atrocities against citizens and damaged their property, as well as public buildings and utilities. They have embarked on a campaign of intimidation, threats and violence to disrupt the normal conduct of business and school activities.

Faced with this situation, the Government had to take measures to maintain order, protect citizens and their property and hand over to the judicial authorities those who committed or were suspected of committing these criminal acts. This necessary action will continue, in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Republic.

Obviously, the Government will continue, in a methodical and orderly manner, to work towards finding appropriate solutions to the justice and education concerns raised by trade unions of English-speaking lawyers and teachers.

Together, we will also continue to work towards finding solutions to maintain peace, consolidate our country’s unity and strengthen our desire to live together and our day-to-day experience of togetherness, in compliance with our Constitution.

In fulfillment of my commitment to that end, I have set up the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism. Its members will be appointed soon and I expect the youth to play an active role therein.

My dear young compatriots,

The Government’s readiness to dialogue with the trade union organizations and, with them, seek common solutions to the problems raised, recently led to the signing of a declaration by some of them, calling off the strike action. I congratulate them on that.

Efforts in that connection will continue. As I have said before, every citizen has the right to express his opinion on any issue of national life and to take part in a peaceful strike.

Conversely, it is unacceptable to use threats, intimidation or violence to compel anybody to heed a call for strike action. It is also unacceptable to hold the education and future of our children hostage, in the vain hope of pushing through political demands.

While the right to strike is legitimate, the right to education is even more so. It is a fundamental right. Like their brothers and sisters in the other regions, the pupils and students of the North-West and South-West regions have a right to education. They have the right to prepare their future in peace. Therefore, the Government will take all the necessary measures to ensure that this right is respected.

My dear young compatriots,

In the twenty-first century, our bilingualism is a major asset which we must leverage. By providing us a window on the world, these two languages constitute for our youth and ourselves an invaluable asset which only needs to be used. They are a precious communication tool. Therefore, they should not become a bone of contention between Cameroonians.

My dear young compatriots,

Each of you is a star in our sky. You are the ones who light up Cameroon. You represent the positive values of a radiant and winning Cameroon.

This is why the Government is not relenting in its efforts to ensure that you play your rightful role in shaping the future of our country. Once more, I encourage you to be daring, to be courageous and to take initiatives. The Government will do everything to assist you.

In this respect, I am pleased that the implementation of the CFAF 102 billion “Special Youth” three-year plan has started. It will support one and a half million young people aged between 15 years and 35 years, at a rate of five hundred thousand youths annually, in various areas of interest such as agriculture and digital economy.

Regarding the digital sector specifically, the National Youth Observatory will soon have a platform for meetings and discussions. Guides will be developed to assist and support youths seeking entrepreneurship training, vocational qualification, employment or self-employment.

My dear young compatriots,

The current difficulties notwithstanding, your future remains foremost among our concerns. Look around you. Look at the hydro-electric dams under construction, the roads, the ports, the motorways being constructed, the factories and the stadiums being built. They provide employment and various opportunities for our youth.

Our country is undergoing transformation and development. Be part of this wonderful and extraordinary adventure.

Feel proud to be Cameroonians! Continue to be daring in creative activities, to be courageous in your work, and to hone your different skills in your respective fields of endeavour.

Together, we will continue to move from victory to victory.

Together, we will continue to be a strong nation.

Happy YOUTH DAY to you all!

Long Live Cameroonian youth!

Long Live Cameroon