By Philip Acha for The Chia Report
Power alternation in Cameroon among presidential hopefuls ignores a crucial observation. Incumbency should be applicable to the opposition as it is to the party in power because, since 1997, the actors and consequent results are the same. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then absolute powerlessness surely renders imbecile. All political parties are good enough! There is no difference between UPC, UNDP, CDU, CPDM or SDF, but there is a huge difference between the people whose ideas and objectives dominate these parties.
No ethical criterion exists to qualify the CPDM or the SDF as good or bad. Morality is not a political exercise. Parties are made of men, who promote dreams and nightmares. These men may be extremely bad and are found everywhere. Backtrack to Nuremberg Trials (1945): the Nazi Party was never put on trial. Individuals, albeit all Nazi, were tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their similarity was not Nazi allegiance, but crimes carried out in the exercise of the functions in a Nazi state. Individual responsibility does not dissolve in the aggregate. The individual has moral and ethical obligations that the party may not have. The individual must be defined! Legally, you can neither protect nor confront what you cannot define.
In Cameroon there is no distinction between the party and the individual. Basically, the individual is not defined. Failure to define the individual in a potentially frenzied environment gives room for all forms of abuse and misconceptions about power. Beyond goat-herding slogans like “Great Ambitions” and “Power to the people”, what do political parties in Cameroon stand for? What does John Fru Ndi offer? Non-voter registration? A boycott? John Fru Ndi definitely wants to be the next president of Cameroon, but he has never planned to be one. Absence to recognize what an individual stands for explains why the SDF develops epileptic seizures because Kah Walla has a firm opinion about issues, especially voter registration. Voting is the ultimate political activity and eventually “those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber” (Plato, Athens 427 BC - 347 BC)
What strategies going forward?
Paul Biya won the last presidential election by just over 2million votes. This means state machinery, sovereign institutions, a faulty electoral system and pre-determined malfunctions were put into contribution for an output of just over 20% of the electorate or 10% of the total population. The CPDM is not a formidable beast after all! Paul Biya counts on silence. That choice may be explained by the incapacity to misquote silence. His cohorts and opponents invest huge amounts of mental energy trying to second-guess him at the expense of building an effective electorate.
If you bellowed “SDF!” in 1991, the response was “power to the people”. By the turn of the century, the response was “power”. Presently there is no response since there is no rally call. From “power to the people” to “power”: was that a simple contraction, or a psychological overhaul from the quest of a group, to an individual’s quest? Power is essentially speculative. We think we are powerful because we compare ourselves to adversaries, potential and actual.
Confrontation on the other hand is empirical and absolute. Only through confrontation can power be realized. Cameroon is on a collision-course to a generational confrontation whose victims are obvious. Challenging with novel ideas, plausible goals, verifiable solutions and an average age of 45years are Dr. Matthias Eric Owona Nguini, Kah Walla, Joshua Osih, Prof. Pius Ottou, Charles Ateba Eyene, Dr. Fomunyoh and Hilaire Kamgang. On the incumbent bench are Paul Biya and Augustin Koddock (born at beginning of WW2 - 1933), John Fru Ndi and Adamou Ndam Njoya (born in 1941 and 1942 respectively), Bello Bouba (born in 1947) and cronies with an average age of 70years. These are the battle lines for 2011. A whole generation may not be sacrified for the personal comforts of a gerontocracy. As in chess game, a threat is more formidable than its realization. The messages from the younger generation herald the first shot in this epic battle. Where do you stand?