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Partiality: the dividing line in Cameroon.

29 August 2017 No Comment

By Ayuk Tobias Oru

Look at the roads! What a beautiful scenery! This time around, our government will have no problems at all with electoral campaigns.
– What is it to boast about, my dear friend? Why do you talk of electoral campaigns? Is it not the duty of any government to construct good roads?
– My brother, it is simply because the time is close when our authorities in government will come visiting us on a daily basis. Though our man, Agbor Tabi has passed away, Minister Mengot and others are still around to make the votes, come the 2018 elections.
– Please, let sleeping dogs lie. What have the people of Manyu enjoyed from the incumbent government ever since they have been supporting it? The campaign message of our authorities turns around the fact that they have been appointed into high offices by the regime. This is nothing but politics of the stomach…
– You talk as if you are blind. Look at the good roads linking Mamfe with Kumba, Bamenda and Nigeria. Things are changing fast. Why do you express such ingratitude towards the government? Why don’t you praise President Paul Biya for what he has done for Manyu? My brother, it will be sheer ingratitude if we fail to vote for the CPDM party come the next elections.
– This is where most of you in the CPDM party fall short of reasoning. For how long has this political party been in power? Imagine what this community could have been by now, if these roads had been constructed long ago! Should I applaud a government that has starved my people of social and economic development for over fifty years, just because it has provided some good roads at the end of time? Indeed, most of you are not in your right senses…
And so continued a heated debate in our bus on the way to Mamfe for a funeral. The die-hard militant of the CPDM party was so infuriated that he struggled to punch his non-militant critic. The bus had to stop for some minutes in order to appease emotions. Certainly, this might not be a singular instant along this road. Many are the sons and daughters of Manyu who express great joy over the construction of the roads linking Mamfe to the rest of the world. But they are equally a good number of them who are critical as to the great delay in the construction of the roads linking Mamfe to the rest of the world. Or aren’t they quite right at being critical as to the great delay in the construction of roads in this part of the country? As such, there is a sort of dividing line within the community.
Road construction in this country is indeed a tickling problem. Nobody is unaware that roads have all along been constructed across the national territory; but the questions on the lips of most Anglophones have been: where and why? Initially, one was made to hold that roads were constructed on a strict economic basis. It was said that an economically indolent or dormant community had very little chances of acquiring good roads before communities which were economically vibrant and viable. Unfortunately, this rule has not actually been respected. No one can underestimate the economic vibrancy and viability of the South West Region in this country. Cameroon has been linked to economically weak nations around it, but it has taken over six decades for an economic giant like Nigeria to be linked by road with our feeble economy. Who should take the blame, the Ministry of Economic Planning or the political hierarchy? Whatever the case, the core of the matter is partiality in the attribution and allocation of economic projects and facilities in the nation.
This apparent oversight cannot be out-of–the-way in the history of Cameroon ever since our reunification. And one can readily recall the period when our government applied for a World Bank loan for the construction of a deep sea-port for the country. After a thorough survey of the nation’s coastline, the foreign experts identified Victoria, today Limbe, as the ideal natural sea-port. This idea did not seem to go well with the authorities in government. Rather a French loan was acquired for the development of the Douala river-port. Nowadays, we talk of the Kribi sea-port and totally ignore the natural sea-port of Limbe. Why should Victoria, call it Limbe, remain unremembered? This is simply deliberate! It is partiality at its best. Indeed, our authorities owe the Cameroonian public an explanation as to why this sea-port has been denied its rightful place.
Partiality, as a notion, carries with it a good dose of favouritism. One is most often shocked at the high degree of favouritism in the appointment of public servants and ministers in our government. One would expect that the existence of ten regions in the country constitutes a sort of ratio in the distribution of posts of responsibility. Can one properly account for the appointment of more than ten substantive ministers for the South Region, the least demographic region in the country, whereas the two Anglophone regions cannot boast of ten ministers, however junior in portfolio? This set-up might even be a child’s play, if one should consider the totality of nominations in the public service as a whole. This degree of partiality is unheard-of in a truly democratic society. It is as if the nation is the possession of one particular ethnic group.
The nation is at a socio-political standstill today; not because it lacks the economic power to forge ahead; not because Cameroonians don’t know where the wheels of economic progress are clogged; it is simply because we are unwilling to denounce the deeds of our brothers and sisters in authority. This is still a strong element of partiality. The country can only take its right form and move on good rails when we disabuse our minds of obnoxious elements of partiality. Thank God, we can still boast of personalities like Barrister Akere Muna who does not mince words in telling the truth, and nothing but the truth. This seems the only way out of the grip of partiality in our fatherland.

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