Can 2020 Be The Turning Point For Cameroon?

NW CPDM leaders

As I approach my mid forties there is nothing more I expect than to see a new generation take over power in this country. I have live my entire life as a toddler to a man nearing retirement seeing the same people hold the reins of power in this beloved triangle. The same names I grew up through primary school memorizing to overcome end of term examinations are basically the same I still watch on TV and talk about daily as I try to make ends meet for me and my dependants.

As a Christian, I was taught never to wish any one ill, talk less of death. I was also brought up to know that every leader is from God. But the same moral standards also made it clear that greed is amongst the greatest evil ever, Luke 10:15

EVAGRIUS Ponticus one of the desert fathers who identified the seven evils placed greed after pride in his list of deadly evils and one that needs to be overtaken by every means because it erodes all we have spiritually. The reward for greed is clearly spelled out in 1 corinthians 6:10.

I see greed as that covetousness, that desire, selfishness to own, control not share, not give up your turn of what is collectively owned. The Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary could not put it any better. It defines it as an “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Beside, I don’t want to make this a sermon, but I have a a very strong feeling that 2020 could be the turning point. I say so because I have seen some of the septuagenarian, octogenarian, nonagerian and centenerians slowly or quietly bow out of the scene even if some still stubbornly resist and are clinging to power with the breadth of their hair.

Adamu Ndam Njoya 77, left the scene on March 8, 2020. The one time minister of Education 1977-1980 was president of his CDU Party since creation in 1991 and Mayor of his native Foumban since 1997 to his demise.

Simon Achidi Achu, the former minister of Justice (1972-75), Prime Minister (1992-1996), Chairman of the National Investment Corporation from 2003, vice president of the Senate 2013-2018 and an active member of the governemt and the CNU then CPDM since the 1960s. The 85 years old left the country for the USA in 2018 and has not taken any active role in Cameroon’s politics again. It seems his failing health has send him on involuntary retirement.

The septuagenerian Ni John Fru Ndi 78 seems to have also left the scene for good. Following two cases of kidnapping by armed separatist and attacks on his home, the founding president of the leading opposition party, SDF, took a sick leave to the USA and has since remained mute on national issues. This man saw the slow and steady rise of his first vice president Joshua Osih. He was his party”s candidate for the last presidential, the first time Fri Ndi failed to carry the the SDF into a general election since 1992.

Meanwhile the centenarian Sen. Victor Mukete recently abdicated his throne as paramount ruler of the Barfaws. On March 21, 2020 he handed over power to his son though he still remains as a senator at 101 years of age. It’s still inconceivable to many of my generation how this man who even doubled at one time as board chair of state corporation is still very active in public life.

President of the national assambly since 1992 Cavaye Yengui Djibril 80, and has been present in Parliament since modern Cameroon, has dominated Cameroonian politics as one of the king markers. But as he moves above 80, there are increasing signs that his health may wrestle power away from him. He had to rush back to the country from his sick bed in France and defiled measures by government to combat Covid-19 to assumed his eternal position as house Speaker even though he could barely walk.

Cavaye’s situation is not any better than that of the Senate President, 85 years old Marcel Niat Njifenji. He was also re-elected to the upper chamber with a failing health and seems to see the weight of age bearing down on him with the force of gravity.

Philemon Yunji Yang 73, Prime minister from 30 June 2009 to 4 January 2019 and previously Assistant Secretary General of the Presidency ( 2004 to 2009.) Former ambassador to Canada (1984- 2004) and before then junior minister in the ministry of justice and later minister of mines (1975-84). He has been in hibernation since last year and is hoping to spring back despite needinh more time with his grand children.

Just like Luc Ayang 73, former PM and president of the economic and social council, Peter Mafany 72, former PM and Senator and president of the Bilingualism and multicultural commission, René Ze Meka 81, army chief of staff since 2001, Jean Nkuete, 76 former cabinet minister and scribe of the CPDM, Martin Mbarga Nguele 87, who became a police officer aged 19 and has held several posts as ambassador are all still very active in Cameroon’s political life even though age seems to be taking it toll on them. They are still clinging to power with all they have got.

But the years 2020 and 2021 will certainly mark a turning point. It is usually said “there is a time to work and there is time to rest”. Though I doubt how true this is in the Cameroonian context. Just as I said earlier, it is unchristian to wish even your enemy badluck, but we can all understand that the mighty Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro had other desires but nature had it say. Beside, the covid-19 appears to be a red signal, it’s no respecter of authority or wealth. It has it firm anchor on age though the most vulnerable elderly have been bearing the brunt in richer nations.

I believe if every generation was given a decade to stamp their footprint in this land, the Rene Emmanuel Sadi 71, Issa Tchiroma 70, Maurice Kamto 68, Marafa Hamidou 68, Akere Mina 67, Grégoire Owona 67, Joseph Dion Ngute 66, Atanga Nji Paul 60 and many others their age, will have been bowing out of the way by now or in the next couple of years and making way for younger leaders like Édith Kah Walla, 55, Josua Osih 51, Cabral Libi 40 within this decade.

To rest my case, I even fear we could slide into a never-seen political and constitutional quagmire. Have you ever imagine the situation where the second and then the third person constitutionally required to take over incase of power vacuum is unable to assume such functions? We could be at the threshold of this. May God guide us through this tough and trying moments for Cameroon.

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