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ROUGHSHOD: Wake Up, Mr. President, Happy Birthday! 

By Bouddih Adams

Wake up, Mr. President. Happy 84th Birthday! Happy Youth Day! Happy Lovers’ Day
However, I am very sorry to wake you up from your deep slumber and reverie, Mr. President. I wouldn’t have done that if you had not, albeit inadvertently, invited me to do so with your address to the youth.

By saying youths should work on farms, were you referring to the gardens you have around your palace in Etoudi and the ones you see in cities abroad, or real farming which can only take place in rural areas that, unfortunately, haven’t the roads to transport the produce to the markets in urban centres?

The address made me think you were sleep-talking. Of course, I know you have never been to a real farm; hence you don’t know what farming really is. How do I know that you have never worked even on a garden? Remember when your spin doctors took you to a farm for the camera during your so called “good example” campaign, you were unable to tear open a cob of maize and had to be assisted?

True, some of us have ancestral lands that we can exploit agriculturally – especially talking about your other Freudian talk of “2nd Generation agriculture”. But we need the machines. The kind of agriculture you are talking about is both capital and labour intensive. How do they get capital to hire the labour?
And when they are donated by countries that were at the same level economically with the Cameroons before your took over in 1982, like India, China, and even those that we were better-off than them and gave aid to some 34 years ago, like Malaysia, your civil servants steal them and hide behind their houses. Remember the tractors donated by Indians a couple of years ago.

Kupe Muanenguba and Lebialem in the Southwest Region produce some of the best food crops. But the crops rot on the farms because there are no roads to take them to the market.

Donga Mantung and Menchum in the Northwest cultivate high yields of food stuff, but the harvests get rotten behind their houses because there are no farm-to-market roads.

Even in Bomboko, where one plantain stem bears three bunches, located barely a few kilometres from the National Refinery (SONARA) from where tar is produced, food rots on farms due to bad roads.
Mr. President, it shouldn’t be you telling us about working the soil. The rest of us, at least have worked on the soil.

We even have a saying that “The soil does not fail anyone who works on it.” But is this reserved only for us. Would you advise Junior and Brenda to do the same after their education?
Of course, if they were to, they will obtain the documents in one minute; all the agricultural machines would be imported and given to them; all the banks will give them the capital and all the labour will be at their disposal. But, NO! Mr. President. Not so for the rest of us.

When you asked the youth – the android youth – in your address to take advantage of the ICTs, what did you really mean? Are you not by that inviting them into cyber criminality? Do you know that in China and other Asian countries, pupils couple mobile phones as part of what we call here homework?
Would you and your system not tax a company out of business were it to set up an ICT production plant on this soil, which the youth would “take advantage of”?

Do you know how long and how much it takes one to establish a company on this soil. It took yours truly more than two months to create a company. By the time yours truly got to the end, the starting capital had been extorted through arm-twisting methods employed by your civil servants.

Let me ask you one more question, Mr. President? How old were you when President Ahmadou Ahidjo appointed you into his government. Thirty-something years; if I may answer on your behalf. How old was your partner-in-cr*me, Bello Bouba, when he was appointed by Ahidjo. Dorothy Njeuma, Sanda Oumarou, Philemon Yang and the rest were first appointed when they were around 30. Do I need to say that Ahidjo loved the youth and you do not?

Today, under your aegis, people of that age are regarded as no-do-wells.
I am sorry if you were actually awake when you were talking – which makes it worse, Mr. President.
Anyhow, happy birthday, Mr. President
May you have good health so that you can continue to rule Cameroon even in your next life?

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