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 30th of August 2002. 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.
The Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary defines the word, "politics", as " matters concerned with acquiring and exercising power within a group of an organization’’. However, like with any other exercise or activity, political action can be evaluated and assessed. Such an action would serve either as a thermometer or a barometer. Stock can then be taken so that the necessary adjustments are made.
But as experience has shown, we do not always go that far. We do not go the extra mile. Only too often, our newspapers, political leaders and parties get so bogged down, they hang on too unscrupulously and stringently to preconceived ideas and ideological prejudices that when some changes comes, they either do not perceive them or they knowingly choose to ignore them and thus cling on to old glory. It’s like throwing the baby with the bath water, more or less.
Few newspapers and political leaders seemed to have realized that if so many foreign dignitaries such as the Chinese President and his wife visit our country as opposed to another country, then there is something in us that is attracting them. It would appear as though for our newspapers and political leaders, anything that is news must necessarily be negative and derogatory about the country or the regime in place. One may then beg the question: what is news? In response to that question we shall refer to one of the most quoted definitions of news in the world, which maintains that "man bites dog is news and dog bites man is not news". So, news has to do with the unusual, the new, the novel, the strange, the odd, and the curious. But it also has to do with the remarkable and the praiseworthy. That premise, again, presupposes flexibility and an open mind. The essential ingredient of objectivity must not be sacrificed; otherwise it would be tantamount to dropping the substance for the shadow.
We recall that last week, a top official of the International Monetary Fund,(IMF), indicated that Cameroon had made progress in its economic battle having registered a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 4.6% in 2001, with further progression expected next year. The country’s economic reforms of the last five or six years have largely born fruit with the economic growth rate standing at around 5%, which is quite impressive. The other side of the coin is that despite these signs of recovery, Cameroonians are still not quite reaping the fruits. The fall outs are not filtering down to the grassroots, thus leaving the country in a situation where the few rich get richer and the silent majority gets poorer. Nonetheless, the progress made is also undeniable. Yet, our newspapers either ignored the upbeat part of the story or attempted to shut up the IMF official while he was in the country. If the opposition did its homework well, it would have found enough loopholes to wrong foot both the government and the IMF. But it did not. One lesson the opposition must learn in order to grow up is to rise above petty politics and concentrate on issues rather than personalities. Unless it gets that far, it will end up by only groping in the dark and going round in circles.
Politics is a dynamic game. It changes, the stakes change, situations change and people change.