By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This article is an adaptation of an earlier one I broadcast on the Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) National Radio Station on the 12th of June 2003. The paper was broadcast as a spontaneous reaction to the political and economic state of play in the country at the time. It is one of many I broadcast on the same channel between 2002 and 200, on the early morning prime time national and world news broadcast.
If Cameroon had been one of the developed countries of the world, then the governance programme would be at the very core of the election campaign. In fact, it would be common to hear politicians underscore in their rhetoric, for instance, that the elections would be fought and won on three key issues: governance, governance and governance.
The focus on governance is by no means overstated for the programme as it was conceived, takes into account the much needed partnership between the states, and within each state, the private sector and the civil society. Seen from that angle, the state therefore relinquishes its outmoded and counter productive role of nanny, thus enabling a balanced development process to be put in place. In recent years, good governance has not only become a far cry but increasingly also a prerequisite for international borrowing and lending, notably with leading donors such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is just as well because the precondition is likely to make long-lasting dictatorial Third World leaders to sit up, or at least get pricked.
The governance programme is intended to create an environment propitious for economic activity, which implies an intensification of the fight against poverty. Through it, capacity building of the civil society is expected to be reinforced. This is expected to come about via the prioritization of economic concertation by groups such as the inter-ministerial committee which in the case of Cameroon is extended to the private sector and is presided over by the Prime minister, Head of Government.
But as things stand, political parties do not appear to have made the programme much of an issue, although it must be said that it is within the general context of the election race. So for the time being, the programme looks very much like the sole concern of the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM). Perhaps the opposition parties are standing aloof in the hope that the CPDM will swim in its own blood. However, if that is what the other parties think, then they may be unwittingly preparing a time bomb that will explode when they take power.
To all purposes and intents, good governance could have made an incredibly useful battle horse for any political tendency that was stronger at pulling the blanket to its own side of the bed, so to speak. In fact, if well implemented, the good governance programme could pervade all of Cameroonian society. In essence, positive changes would be noticed in areas such as the administrative machinery, a reformed judiciary mechanism, a culture of responsibility in the management of state institutions, victory over corruption and the irreversible putting of the state before one’s personal interests, as well as commendable moves in the direction of decentralization.