jeudi 30 décembre 2010
TWENTY YEARS OF PAUL BIYA
By Tikum Mbah Azonga
This was one of the hundreds of political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 prime time news of the CRTV National Radio Station in Yaounde between 2000 and 2005. This particular paper was a preview of celebrations marking President Paul Biya`s twenty years at the helm of Cameroon on 6 November 2002. The paper was broadcast on 30 October 2002.
Whatever way one looks at it, twenty years is a long time and in a multiparty state like Cameroon, it deserves commendation, for being a veritable demonstration of staying power, despite all the odds.
As we have pointed out, twenty years is a thankfully long time and contrary to what some opposition members may want us to believe when they intimate that nothing, not even a single thing, has been achieved in that period, the point must be made that such an assessment is subjective, unrealistic and demonstrates that its proponents are simply being economical with the truth. As a matter of fact, if the opposition does not go about things with objectivity, history is likely to prove them wrong. Worse still, when they in turn eventually get to power and are paid back in their own coins, they will feel the pinch. That is why the game of politics becomes more meaningful and purposeful when it is rid of unbridled emotionalism, personal interest and the rush to attack persons and individual instead of focusing the debate on issues and policies.
A look at Paul Biya`s twenty years in power leads to some inevitable conclusions in terms of achievements. During the epoch our country has enjoyed unbroken and enviable peace, to the extent of being perceived as “an island of peace in a sea of turbulence”. This is in contrast to neighbouring countries which have staggered from one crisis to another and in some cases, sunk into fits of trauma. Since peace engenders many subsidiary attributes, Cameroon has been consequently able to boost and nurture other areas such as agriculture, public health, the environment, rural development, the armed forces, foreign affairs, women and youth matters. The educational sector has been expanded, notably with the breaking up of the erstwhile Ministry of National Education into three separate ministries: the Ministry of Basic Education, the ministry of Secondary Education and the Ministry of Higher Education, etc. In fact, within the last ten years or so, our country has seen an unprecedented number of international events being hosted in Yaounde and some of the other cities. The latter point means that the international community recognizes that we deserve and enjoy certain leadership roles.
But then again, no one is suggesting that it has all been a bed of roses for us Cameroonians. Far from it! There are still many areas in which more work is needed. These include the poverty reduction and under development, health, unemployment, corrpuption and bad governance.
For democracy to have any real meaning in our country, opposition politicians whose role is indispensable must be flexible enough to look at both sides of the coin. That does not mean they are supporting Paul Biya. It simply means they are calling a spade a spade. That is why they should have joined the world in commending Paul Biya for his role in the peaceful resolution of the Bakassi dispute that for years pitted Nigeria against Cameroon. It may sound paradoxical, but the truth is that Cameroon can only have one president at a time.