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What Was Really So Great About 2013? 

By Azore Opio

CameroonPostline.com — The year 2013 was a tumultuous one; it was like a ship with a limp hand on its tiller, blowing about hazardously in a gale and going nowhere, seized by fire-eating revolutionaries, homosexuals on heat, intoxicated marijuana smokers, drug addicts, Satanists preaching their ultimate goals and works, and an assortment of riff-raff and bilge scum.

The Arabs who leapt into revolutionary action sometime a year earlier kept the heat on and North Africa and the Middle East so far remain hot spots of miscarried hopes for emancipation. They remain floundering in the hot waters they nose-dived into. While Iraq, orphaned by America, lingered on wracked by the pains of violent instability, Iran took centre stage with a ticking nuclear scheme in hand. In this theatre of absurd wars, America that was built on guns, war and money lived up to its past – maintaining a military grip on the war props and killing machines.

Financially, some European countries just melted down. Africa, however, seemed to have weathered the financial storm all in good strides. But the South Sudanese had little to smile about as they fared no better than they did when they first started the struggle for independence. They seem to be working harder at battering each other for power rather than sharing and enjoying it.

Meanwhile, as the hot ashes of civil strife cooled in Ivory Coast and her neighbours, Mali and Central African Republic picked up the notes of the war song, a kind of brutal refrain and astonishing crescendo to DR Congo’s infernal dirges. While, in Nigeria, Jonathan ran out of good luck as the Boko Harams took the wind out of his sail.

It is not often that you see man marrying man or woman wedding woman, but 2013 moved non-believers in homosexuality to tears as same-sex marriages were celebrated in the US, France, and other European countries. In Utah alone, more than 900 gays and lesbians “wedded” before the Supreme Court put a hold on same-sex marriages.

Then the very beloved Barack Obama turned out to be the messenger of doom when he hopped to Africa practically tut-tutting the mantra of homosexuality. That did not go down well with his African brothers and sisters. As more and more nations embraced homosexuality as a way of life, and enacting laws to penetrate the forbidden province, Italy remained the only major nation in Western Europe to offer virtually no rights or protections to homosexuals.

If Italians paid no more than a fleeting attention to homosexuals, the Ugandan parliament taught them to be quiet. It finally slipped the noose round the necks of homosexuals by passing a bill fortifying punishment for homosexuality to include life imprisonment in Sing-Sing and a crime for not reporting homosexuals. The spice in the bill is; any woman who even looks remotely sexy by wearing a mini-skirt will be served hot soup in the music dock. But for those who use marijuana, the increasing campaigns for its legalisation in the Western world favoured them.

For some reason in Cameroon, December 31 was quite calm. Temperatures were fair and there was a kind of graveyard peacefulness. There was none of the usual weeping and wailing caused by ghastly road accidents that time and again provide the chorus to bid farewell to the old year.

But, eventually, Cameroonians had to shed a tear when their quiet enjoyment of Christmas and New Year was solemnly blown apart by their President’s failure to turn up for the Reunification ‘Extra-ordinary’ Golden Jubilee – no apologies even after the officials had worked it almost to the last nut and bolt, and worked still harder and faster to increase their intake at the contracts till, only for el Presidente to blow the balloon up.

But more seriously his end-of-year speech turned stomachs. Its chief merit, however, was its scrupulous accuracy in diagnosing Cameroon’s chronic illnesses. With the truest deference and affection for their President, Cameroonians digested his errors and follies more in sorrow than in anger. In some respects, they consider him a tolerable blessing out of touch with reality.

As we penned this article, the level of success of the Reunification projects, or lack of it, could not still be assessed. Besides, the President’s slogan-packed 2012 end-of-year speech did far less to lift the people out of poverty during 2013. Government services seemed to have made little difference in people’s lives, while its economic policies failed due to the power of runaway corruption, graft and avarice. Cameroon also happens to be home to roads potholed beyond repair although some are being repaired progressively.

Cameroonians have had to come to terms with their President’s petty trade in promises. And God has been on his side. Cameroonians were not surprised then that the Presidente said what he said; the same things he has said over and over again without getting tired. Something like playing a favourite record that is broken. He just announced the facts as they are and left Cameroonians to work out the consequences themselves.

So among the fond memories he mentioned employment, corruption, a low-down economy; asking rhetorically “what is wrong with us Cameroonians despite our enormous natural wealth?” Nothing new in that. The President’s speech was miles away from anything that is even remotely familiar to most Cameroonians. Perhaps the trader in promises does not realise that a long, long time has passed as he masterminded, or overlooked? one public disaster after another.

For over thirty years, the President’s advisors, tribesmen, minions and other hangers-on have served him with doglike devotion and have never found it important or urgent to tell him he has been out of joint; dislocated from reality. The sycophants surrounding the President are hard put not to paint a gloss over his and their disasters.

2013 ended cheerfully however, for peace lovers when Madiba Nelson Mandela momentarily put a lid over the cauldron of worldwide odium by passing on gracefully. For a while, man’s hostility stood still; fiends, friends and foes alike embraced, hugged and shook hands. But hardly had the soil settled on Mandela’s grave than the antagonists picked up their guns to enter 2014.

First published in The Post print edition no 01495

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