Have Cameroonians lost hope in Politics?

Endemic corruption is incapacitating this country all the way

Nadine Tonguem


A random sample of the opinions of Cameroonians in various forum on social media reveal a starkly pessimistic view of Cameroon politics, widespread distrust of the country’s political opposition leaders and especially their suspicious inability to compromise, ahead of the upcoming October 7,2018 presidential election. By and large, Cameroonians are frustrated not only with our country’s political system but our ability to talk about political issues in a civil manner, that is, without tribal diatribes and personal invectives. It appears the country is being divided on so many topics and on so many fronts at same time. Our politics has become what could easily be described as a “stone-throwing contest'', where Facebook is used as a platform not for constructive exchanges but a forum where opinions are amplified and angrily expressed. 

It cannot be denied, that Paul Biya’s 36 years long autocratic rule appears to be a more critical factor in informing the way Cameroonians feel about the state of the country’s political institutions. More recently it is also interesting to find out that the people’s trust in our country’s electoral system is eroding. Biya’s prolonged stay in power has caused a total wariness in the electoral process, and a consensual feeling that politicians are out for themselves and beholden to special individual interests due to greed and corruption, in total disregard to the general interests of all. However, the opposition is partly to be blamed for the dysfunction of our political system as since 1991, they have adopted a reactive rather than a proactive approach towards regime change. 

One has the impression that all that matters to them is the function of the Presidency of the Republic and the privileges and powers which the constitution concentrates within the hands of that individual and nothing is done at the level of grassroots politics where from sovereign power emanates. Very few opposition parties have a strong base on the ground, such that the sufferings of the people are at the heart of their political programs in order to empower the youths and motivate them to adhere to their vision. 

Strong views from Cameroonians both at home and abroad believe that the political situation of the country today is a fertile ground for a popular revolution by the people as in the days of ghost towns and sit ins of 1990-1992, that is widely viewed as the only chapter in recent Cameroonian political history wherein the people had a golden opportunity to turn around the destiny of this nation. Today, there’s a different configuration in our political chess game. The regime has succeeded in large part, to divide us to its advantage, by playing on people’s fears. 

Coupled with the ongoing armed conflict in the Anglophone regions, our nation’s politics have reached a dangerous low point. Underscoring the overwhelming antipathy toward this regime, a majority of Cameroonians do not believe Biya’s reelection will be legitimate to bring long lasting solutions to the various crisis the nation is currently undergoing. It is a secret to no one that our major challenge is corruption. 

Endemic corruption is incapacitating this country all the way. In the last 30 years the embezzlement of public funds and overt corruption have ruined our nation, whereby crooked politicians at every level of the government betray the working class, pocketing the profits for public projects and treating the people like sheep. Consequently, the people are tired of hearing promises which they know will never be kept. Corruption is the enemy of our development, and of good governance and we must fight to get rid of it. 

Both the government and the people at large, must come together to achieve this national objective. Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. We should be a people who put integrity over politics. Voters should want somebody who understands their problems. Finally, it is also important to note that if the masses have to go into a revolution it must be with a prepared plan of social reconstruction, and not only with the feeling that they cannot endure the old regime. We live in very volatile times. And it is very necessary that all of us resist this move toward the militarization and establishment of a more and more authoritarian regime, not just in the Cameroon but in Africa and everywhere else.

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