17, July 2016
Michael Stephen Hoza, Ambassador of the United States of America to Cameroon tells Cameroon Tribune that the US is proud of the strong partnership it has with Cameroon. In this soul searching conversation, he also talks of areas of bilateral cooperation and preparations of US presidential election.
What are the key areas of current bilateral cooperation between Cameroon and the United States of America ?
Ambassador Stephen Hoza: The United States of America is proud of our strong partnership, particularly on the security front with Cameroon to defeat the violent extremism of Boko Haram, to provide peacekeepers to the United Nations and bring stability back to the suffering people of the Central African Republic and to defeat pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
Our partnership extends into the health sector where we work closely with Cameroon’s health experts to fight infectious disease, to eradicate polio, to defeat HIV/AIDS, to build health sector capacity to prevent, detect and respond to virulent pandemics like Ebola or Avian Bird Flu, and to take on the scourge of malaria. We have sponsored people to people programs that have brought Fulbright scholars, International Visitors, and Young African Leaders to America, each of them representing a beautiful thread in the fabric of our bilateral relationship.
We have partnered with Cameroonians at all levels to sustain the engagement of Peace Corps Volunteers engaging their new families in a vibrant cultural exchange. We promote private sector investment in Cameroon, like Taylor Guitars and Crelicam, who bring world class technology, create jobs for Cameroonians, and responsibly harvest the riches of Cameroon’s wonderful forests. Crelicam supplies Cameroonian ebony to all of the finest guitar makers in the world, and Bob Taylor has partnered with the University of Yaounde and UCLA to begin a program that will plant more ebony than Crelicam cuts down! That is American corporate social responsibility at its finest.
All eyes are now almost turned towards the various parties nomination conventions ahead of the November 8, 2016 presidential election in the United States of America. How is your general appraisal of the electoral process up to this moment?
Ambassador Stephen Hoza: This is an exciting time for Americans to exercise our voice through our vote. When George Washington was elected as the first president in 1789, only 6 percent of the U.S. population could vote. In most of the original 13 states, only landowning men over the age of 21 had the right to vote.
Today, the U.S. Constitution guarantees that all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 can vote in federal, state and local elections. In November of this year, America will hold its 57th Presidential election. Over 218 million American citizens, every man and woman aged 18 and up, will have the right to vote, and their vote will select the chief executive of our country-peacefully. Winners will celebrate; losers will concede graciously and plan for the next election.
It is certain that after the presidential election, the US will have a new President to pilot the affairs of the country. How do you see the American position and rule in international affairs when the new leadership will be in power?
Ambassador Stephen Hoza: We can’t predict the results of the election or what the next President’s policies will be. However, we can say that the beauty of democratic systems are in their absolute commitment to respecting the will of the people in their choice of leaders, and the constitutional processes that ensure smooth transitions from one chief executive to the next.
On the day our new President is sworn in, this Embassy, the State Department, our military and our entire government will, as required by our constitution, immediately go to work on ensuring that his or her policies are faithfully executed in a manner consistent with our laws and regulations and that The Peoples’ business continues uninterrupted.
All federal employees pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States because it is that document that sets out our responsibilities to the office of the President and the people of the United States, and it is the values embodied by the constitution that carry over from one administration to the next, regardless of specific political programs and policies presidents are elected to enact.
And those values will continue to underpin our actions and activities now and in the future. As always, we are not focused on our position and power, but on our partnerships and their potential to promote stability and better lives for all. We are focusing on what we’re doing right now, both in Cameroon, and around the world, and our commitment to engagement in so many regions is not going to stop.