CAMEROUN UNDER A STATE OF EMERGENCY

Ayah Paul Abine

Ayah Paul Abine


BY
AYAH Paul ABINE

Those who believed the Delegate General for National Security’s announcement that the police would from November 10, 2013, embark on the systematic checking of vehicle papers are now wholly disillusioned. Gendarmes have staged a stronger showing with even generals joining the checking of vehicle and drivers’ papers at roadsides. As if they do not trust even one another, check-points are at times under a kilometre from one another. And one is checked as often as one comes to a check-point – in the sme day. And of course, very a la camerounaise, private interest prevails over the general. Even CRTV, Buea, has exceptionally denounced barefaced extortions. The said government-owned media has cited, among others, the case of some private driver whose vehicle was impounded and he secured its release upon the payment of 100.000 francs without a receipt. And even as fines for traffic offences range from 4.000 to 25,000 francs as per the highway code, almost every offence discovered through tinted security binoculars attracts a fine of 25.000 francs – virtually invariably.

With the leave of His Imperial Holiness Excellency Hon General Nameless, one may attempt to answer the question as to what justifies this lawless state of emergency. It could well be instructive to state here that depicting the present state of affais as lawless is grounded on the fact that, by Camerounese law, only the President of the Republic can declare a state of emergency. In the absence of the publication of the relevant decree in the instant case, there surely must be some serious national threat: military, political, economic…

For those familiar with the Camerounese modus operandi, the third domain of the foregoing deductions seems most likely. It is no news that the coming of the President of the Republic to Douala to lay the foundation stone of the second “Wouri Bridge” has been deferred a number of times now. An open secret equally it is that, since August, 2013, there has been no programming for the payment of new civil servants, some of whom have been serving for several years without salaries. Also have almost all the projects for the “50th Anniversary of Reunification” ground to a halt for several months in Buea. Clearly, we do not need wise villagers from Bretton Woods Institutions to deduce that the state coffers are running dry. And verily I say unto you, my brethren; no woman can hide an advanced pregnancy in a night gown!

I bet that the current operations, however well-intentioned, will benefit individuals much more than the state. Were it even to be otherwise, our state coffers will ever remain hollow so long as waste is the taproot of Camerounese official policy of expenditure! It may please whosoever to hold to the contrary! But old wisdom would find waste where in one project, there is the laying of the foundation stone – (in Cameroun, even roads have foundations, justifying the laying of foundation stones). Then comes the partial reception of the project; followed of course by the final reception. In other words, in every one project we fund four projects!

Chop a chop; contri go before: Cameroun ô bosso!

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