By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station in 2002 on the occasion of the visit to Cameroon of a group of German parliamentarians.It was a spontaneous reflection on the political state of play prevailing in the country at the time. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaoundé, between 2002 and 2005.
This is a crucial point in the political evolution of our country, Cameroon. In fact, we have reached a crossroads from which we must move forward, despite the odds.
It is important that whatever step we take, we make it the right one in order to avoid any pitfalls.
In the paper that follows, our political commentator, Tikum Mbah Azonga argues that to put things in perspective, it may be helpful to imagine that this is Cameroon a hundred years from now.
A hundred years from now, we shall be in the year twenty hundred and two, or two thousand, one hundred and two. Looking ahead from here and now, some people will say they have no idea what Cameron will like at that time. That is understandable.
One thing that is certain though is that by that apocalyptic time, an overwhelming majority of us would have passed on to the world yonder. It is likely that the population of Cameroon would have grown by geometric progression, to about 60 million inhabitants. Everything being equal, the cure for the dreaded HIV AIDS may have been found, thanks perhaps to the ingenuity of our very own Cameroonian Professor Victor Anomah Ngu. By the D-Day of the 29th of July 2102, our national fight against poverty may have been won to a certain extent with the result being probably a significant rise in the number of Cameroonians living above the poverty.
Maybe English and French will cease to be our official languages with the role they play for now being handed to one of our national languages, a linguistic consensus having been found. It is possible that the now strong and divisive linguistic and ideological boundaries of anglophone, francophone, bamileke, bassa, beti, wimbum, bakossiphone, will have disappeared, with there being firmly established a sense of nationhood, everyone just feeling Cameroonian, no more no less. Maybe Cameroon will be waxing stronger in the new dispensation that is the decentralized administrative regions now currently taking root in conformity with the constitution which according to supporters of President Paul Biya, is intended to strengthen nationhood and foster development, but which according to his detractors, has been tinkered in order to give the president an unfair advantage. But then, again, there may be people casting nostalgic glances, moaning and claiming that in 2002, far from jumping on their own accord, they had been blind folded and then pushed into a wrong direction.
Another certainty is that 100 years from today, all the politicians ruling us will have left the political stage altogether with all the political wrangling, recrimination and internecine strife that have characterized them. That is because if one considers that today the said politicians are already adults, who a hundred years from today must have grown old enough to die and exit from the scene. But the 1000 dollar question is, who will have replaced them, and will it be for better or for worse?
The answer to that question brings us back to here and now, in the hope that it is not some force landing. The truth of the matter is that Cameroon in the year 2102 will be made, or is being made by us now. Whether we like it or not, we are building that foundation every single day. Whether with time that foundation turns out to be one made of sand or of solid rock depends on how seriously we take the task today.
By implication, we must view any discord or dissension we may be having now only as another tribulation as we move towards our destination. If we manage our crisis well, it will turn out to be only a storm in a tea cup, and not the deluge, let alone the earth quake we feared would sweep away our cherished institutions.
A crisis should not also be a reason for us to upset the apple cart or rock the boat, or to contemplate suicide. The year 2102 is still too far off any way. So, we must exercise patience, fortitude and forbearance while we get there.
When that time comes, history and posterity will be waiting at the door to judge us. They will do so with the available means and the records in front of them, and above all, without us, for we would have left the stage. But Cameroon will still be there, since people come and go but the national remains