Saturday, October 24, 2020
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Rescuing Nationals From CAR: For Once, I Say 

By Bouddih Adams
Let’s give three happy cheers to President Biya, for sanctioning the airlifting of Cameroonian nationals from the war-prone Republic of Central African into safety back home. For the first time, the Head of State has shown care for the lives of his citizens living abroad.
Several times, Cameroonians have been manhandled and sent home from countries like Equatorial Guinea, whose livelihood is fundamentally dependent on Cameroon. But despite all their complaints and cries, the howling of the media, the President has, seemingly, never given a damn.
You and I know that the Presidents of other countries visit their citizens who are victims or survivors of some natural disaster, health hazard or travel mishap. As I am scribbling this piece, President François Hollande of France is personally visiting French troops – at the war front – after two French soldiers were killed in a gun battle.
Such a visit paid by the Number One Citizen of the country to the bereaved families, friends or colleagues, evokes that personal touch and reassuring aura that leaves them with a feeling of belonging and, in turn, awakens or rekindles patriotism in them. Of course, it endears the President to them.
But our own Number One Citizen hardly does that, except there are some stakes.
For instance, when the Lake Nyos disaster occurred, he went to the Northwest but stayed in Bamenda, far away from the scene and in the safety and comfort of his presidential hotel suite. In 2000, he appeared in Buea after the eruption of Mt. Fako although there were deaths. The other time he went out and within time, was the floods in the Northern Regions, and, you know why; elections were around the corner. Elections!
It would be remembered that he didn’t give an eye to the Victoria landslides where many people lost their lives and even the 2003 Wabane landslide where 23 people died and several animals and property were lost.
Many road mishaps have taken scores of lives, but the families of the victims never feel him. Yet Cameroonians are expected to be patriotic and respect the institutions of the State.
However, since the President has started, let him go the whole hog. After this salutary action, the President should take time and reflect: why are Cameroonians fleeing their very resourceful fatherland to poor countries like Central African Republic, which rather depends on the Cameroons for everything?
Most Cameroonians are fleeing home [though once out there they claim to be seeking political asylum] but, actually, they are seeking economic asylum. The harshness of the socio-political and, especially the economic climate in the Cameroons, can be measured by the number of youths fleeing the country, every single day.
And when they go out there, they make it, due to the cosy economic environment. Yet, Cameroonians authorities turn around and ask those who have made it out there to return home and invest. But they have refused to heed the bid.
Most of them, naturally, would love to. But I am sure they ask themselves why they couldn’t make it here. Besides, there is practically no effort to make the economic climate here convivial.
When they look at the Doing-Business Index and find that Cameroon is very poorly classified, they can’t. When they look at the Judiciary which they would turn to, if they are short-changed, and find that it is barely a footstool of the Executive; the Legislature a marionette with the Executive pulling the strings for its pleasure, they won’t.
So, they think; why should they invest money where it will be swindled by some lazy civil servant and they can’t get justice from the courts? The Legislature hasn’t the powers to make laws that would be binding on the Executive and ensure checks and balances.
The entrenched corruption which opens avenues for swindles has not been eradicated. Even all the noise about fighting corruption has been a cosmetic move to attract loans from donors which will, yet, be embezzled. Corruption has not been fought in earnest so that everyone can see the clean slate. If it were, it would convince the Cameroonians who have made it out there to come, without being wooed, and invest back on the fatherland.
All the same, I raise my glass of ‘mbuh’ to say, “Cheers, Mr. President.”
This is certainly the only time he has taken a popular decision followed by action, or better still, followed by immediate action.
Hei! This might be an only time that I have hailed the President. No! I think I did last time when he took a decision, requesting that the press in Cameroon be treated with respect or, something like that. But since then, nothing has followed to ensure that the press be treated with respect.
The other thing that impresses me is the timing of the President’s action – coming at this time – towards Christmas. So, I have been thinking; is it some kind of atavism (self-realisation) or some kind of reconciliation with the people and their Creator; given that the Icon of Reconciliation, Madiba Tata Mandela, has slept in the Lord?
Talking about Christmas is talking about Christ the Saviour. I learnt from Scriptures that Jesus the Christ, after 12 years of age, ‘disappeared’ and only ‘reappeared’ when he was 30. He completed his assigned mission from his Father in three years and died at 33. So, the Son of Man lived for 33 years and changed the world.
The Lion Man has taken such popular action after 30 years of reign. He might go the whole hog and change his world in three years before clocking 33 years in power. That would be great, if he is thinking about the next Presidential (s)election in 2018.
Are We Together?