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Adolf A Agbormbai
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Another point... "If the opposition parties could just organize themselves to work on the development of a new more democratic constitution..." Now, this is not a very diplomatic or representative statement. Anything that involves only the opposition parties is not truly representative of the country. All parties must be involved (including the CPDM). It must be noted that there are two opposing sides to the CPDM: the old guard (monsters of inertia) and the new guard (progressives). The opposition can work together with CPDM progressives.
Ngwa, There are three points I've picked up from your preceding commentary, that are worth a further comment... 1. "Once the nation/citizenry has been organized at this level a national candidate can be elected to contest against and defeat Mr. Biya." This Biya-centric statement is outside my vocabulary. My standpoint is that Paul Biya is irrelevant to the forthcoming general election. Paul Biya had two terms of 14 years and that will be over in 2011. Paul Biya will not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming elections. He has no say or authority over that election. This means that all Biya-centric aspects of the Constitution and laws of Cameroon become void. Parliament must begin the process of reconstructing the political system in Cameroon. It also means that Paul Biya has no right to appoint members of the election management body. According to democratic norms, authority over this matter lies in the hands of the Cameroonian people. Representatives of the Cameroonian people and all stakeholders must begin the process of constructing a new election management body that is independent. 2. "I'm not sure how many of you know this, but the current constitution gives the president the authority to enact laws and dissolve the National Assembly." Like I've said above, all such Biya-centric aspects of the Constitution, that encourage his abuse of powers, become void. Parliament must begin the process of constructing a new constitution. 3. "How we would keep this person from betraying the national interest, I don't know." Impeachment facilities must be built into the constitution. If the President commits a crime against the national interest he can be impeached. If he does not keep to his promises or plans he won't get another term... The people will vote him out.
Correction: 'Steps' in the last paragraph of the preceding commentary should be 'stops.' ___________________________________________________ Now Ngwa, There is this aspect of your commentary that I have some issues with: "All government officials must be ... elected through popular vote by all citizens of Cameroon of legal voting age." It is practical to elect the leader or President, but impractical to elect all government officials. You will notice that, in the West, this impracticality is resolved by trusting the leader to appoint his or her subordinates. This works when the leader is trustworthy. And if the democratic system surrounding the election of the leader is rigorous and fair the leader can be trusted to appoint his subordinates. For instance, when Obama was elected he was trusted to appoint his subordinates. But again you will remember that each appointment had to be vetted by the Houses. This reduces the risk of shoddy appointments getting through. If the next President of Cameroon is elected by following the fair and robust DUE PROCESS that I outlined earlier in another article, then this President will be trustworthy to appoint his subordinates. It will be even better if Parliament were to scrutinise these appointees before they take office. The basic idea behind the due process that I formulated earlier is that a leadership contender must prove himself or herself worthy of the Presidency before taking office. Just as Obama had to prove himself worthy of the White House before gaining it. The next President of Cameroon MUST EARN that Presidency... NO MORE OPPORTUNISM! You will remember that Obama started out as a junior senator who wasn't presidential material. He worked hard and learned a great deal to finally make it. The next President of Cameroon will have to do the same. His researching and detailing a political manifesto that describes what he has to offer the Cameroonian people in terms of solving the current problems of the nation, and his defence of the content of that manifesto in Press interviews, debates, and rallies... all prepare him or her for the demands of the Presidency. He may start not being presidential material (like Obama did) but he will certainly end-up a true President! Parliament must of course help this process of transforming the political future of Cameroon. They must implement all the necessary limits on Presidential power, pass all the necessary laws to make Cameroon's political system fair (, robust, and incapable of individual manipulation), and make all the constitutional adjustments that are necessary for an effective democracy.
Ngwa Man, Thanks for your wonderful insights. I particularly like this aspect of the definition of democracy: Democracy is defined as... "4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority" This confirms that in a democracy authority fundamentally resides in the people. When they elect a President or leader they temporarily lend that authority to the President/leader for the duration of his office. Authority passes back to the people when the President's term of office expires. By consequence, during his reign, a President cannot exert authority over matters that happen after his reign. We can see very clearly in this definition that Paul Biya has NO authority over anything to do with the forthcoming elections. His authority expires in 2011 and affect only matters whose impact are felt up to 2011. The forthcoming election impact the post-2011 period. Authority for that general election resides in the Cameroonian people who must pull all the necessary steps to ensure that the right person gets to the Presidency.
When an investigator starts working on a problem he has no insights regarding the problem. He starts from a blank slate. As he researches the problem his understanding picks up gradually, until at a certain deep stage this understanding becomes insight... a deep level of understanding of any problem. The investigator becomes an expert at that problem. Insight is COMMON SENSE! When you reach the common sense level of understanding of any problem know that you've truly mastered that problem. Everything seems to fit together with ease. And you can communicate about that problem in simple, everyday language. An investigator can be ANYONE. You don't need a PhD to investigate or research a problem. You don't need a PhD to be a candidate or leading candidate for the next Presidential elections. And you don't need a PhD to be the next President of Cameroon!
The problems described in this article are the sort of problems that anyone hoping to be the next President of Cameroon must be able to solve. The suspicions between North Westerners and South Westerners is typical of the type of suspicions that can be expected between regions in a country. This sort of event is not unnatural in a nation and is always to be expected wherever people exist. Neither is it unfortunate. To the contrary, it is a healthy challenge for leadership contenders to take on to prove themselves... to include in their political manifestos for the Presidential campaigns. Such suspicions are what constitute divisions in a country. And out of such division a leadership contender must create unity. If we don't have the answers now, that is no problem either. In fact, this is why research exists! If we had the answers to our problems, why carry out research? A typical life situation: We have a problem we know absolutely nothing about. We seek a solution to this problem. Our answer lies in conducting research. First, we seek to understand the problem by investigating it thoroughly. We seek practical information from published material. We also talk to people who are knowledgeable about some aspect of the problem or who have something useful to say. This process is often erratic. Usually, there's a lot of dodgy information out there. We have to sift out the dirt to isolate or distil the useful stuff. We then combine all the useful ideas from different sources into a synergistic solution that reflects the sources and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) that embodies our own perceptions and thoughts about what we've developed from the investigation. This last point is critical. A solution is not a catalogue of useful ideas we've crystallised from different sources. A solution is a continuous piece of expose that employs the insights of the investigator to seamlessly integrate useful ideas from different sources. The investigator's insights is what constitutes the necessary SYNERGY that cracks the problem. Otherwise we'd have an unconnected set of ideas that lead to nowhere. A solution must be a continuous piece of meaningful thought to create understanding. And it is when this understanding has been created, and all the loopholes closed, that we can say we've cracked the problem. Often, what appears to be a complex problem ends up having a simple solution. However, the path to finding this solution is often mountainous.
Excellent analysis that really sheds light into what is happening at the Embassy. What is described here is characteristic of what can be expected of the dynamics of implementing change among people. There is the old guard... the bad guys(monsters of inertia). And the progressives... the good guys. There has to be war between these opposing forces, and change occurs when the new guard wins. This is how it will always be. So don't be surprised to see this pattern occur again and again in Cameroon in the coming months. The bottom line is that for change to occur the new guard MUST ALWAYS WIN! They cannot be allowed to fail!
The Konde posting above is tribalistic and is to be discouraged at all costs. We don't need that any more. That belongs to the past. Besides, what's wrong if some North Westerners support the government and others oppose it? Isn't that what is supposed to be for all tribes and regions? Not all South Westerners support the government. There are those who support and those who vehemently oppose. Does that mean that there's some overarching SW strategy? Please let's try at all costs to avoid any arguments that connotes tribalism, even if our personal urges drives us to. We have to fight our personal urges to free ourselves from such mental enslavement. I really see no connection betweeen the welcoming of the PM in the NW region and what is described in this article.
I didn't take it lightly at all when I saw this incident. I believe that intellectuals contribute a great deal to the societies in which they live and deserve a lot more respect from the authorities of those societies. When an arrest is made there has to be a big difference between the arrest of a common criminal and the arrest of a person of intellect. As for the American police, I really think that they are not much different in temperament from those common criminals they deal with every day. They are as volatile as those criminals. Instead of solving problems they have a tendency to incite situations when called upon to deal with incidents. I can completely understand why American criminals really enjoy putting a bullet in the skull of police officers. I think the whole US police force needs a tremendous lesson in keeping cool, calm, and collected in the face of volatile incidents. Maintaining a steady temperament keeps your senses more observant, and is less likely to get you killed when dealing with criminals.
When I saw this on the Internet my first reaction was: "Why does this sort of thing always seem to happen only to a black person or to a minority?" I would like to see a white Harvard Professor or equivalent handcuffed like a common criminal and displayed for all the world to see. Then I'll know that this incident was not racially motivated.
Great article with great insights.
Who is this Ras who writes like a fool? Please read your rant above and tell us whether you've communicated anything at all. I wonder how anyone managed to make any sense out of that commentary. Louis has written what looks like an accurate and fair account of his experiences in Cameroon. We all know that Cameroon has serious problems. So Louis is only confirming what we already know. Thanks Louis for reminding us about the problems back home. Your experiences at the restaurant reminds us how inhospitable Cameroon can be to strangers. With this sort of poor hospitality and rudeness how can the country attract tourists? All these people attacking Louis, for describing truthfully what his experiences were, can at best be described as immature. They are behaving like people who have something to hide. They are being defensive. There's nothing to hide about Cameroon. There are objective statistics backing up what Louis has narrated. The country is in a sorry state and life is miserable. Before you go into all your wishful thinking comparing Cameroon favourably to England just know that there is just NO COMPARISON. I love Cameroon, as my country of origin, but that does not mean that I'll support what are clearly lies about the country. Look at objective statistics comparing living conditions and the state of development of Cameroon as against England, and you will know why you are making a complete fool of yourselves. Don't argue out of emotion; argue out of reason. Emotional outbursts are not going to help transform Cameroon into a developed country. Accept the truth when it smacks you right in the face, and stop behaving like spoiled kids. There may be a handful of hardworking people in Cameroon who've made it but that doesn't mean that all is suddenly well with the country. Besides, with a country as corrupt as Cameroon is, those who have made it would have done so by being corrupt. This is not the type of success we want for Cameroon.
Very interesting, but also very sad!
You can see why Rwanda is doing well. A President who can write like this!
Very interesting, but too long to read all.
"It should be noted here that US critics of the NHS claim it is an example of an overly-bureaucratic system which rations care and denies treatment to the elderly. But campaign groups and right wing pundits have also attacked it as "socialist", with one TV debate even discussing whether it was a breeding ground for terrorism." This is the type of garbage and ignorance that comes out of the minds of right wing elements in the US. Unfortunately these elements are allied to the Republican party. If the Republicans want to win elections again they must completely expunge themselves of these elements.
Good critical piece!
The timing of Milla's comments is right. You make critical comments of this nature after you've got results not when you are still trying to get them.
Roger Milla is a Cameroonian legend. After Pele there is no footballer who played the game like Milla. None had the brains or vision of Milla. He was pure footballing genius. As a man of this footballing importance he has the right to say whatever he wants to say, and his views MUST BE RESPECTED even if you don't agree with them. Samuel Eto'o may be making tons of money but this would not have been possible without the sacrifices of such Cameroonian greats as Milla and his team mates of the 1982 World Cup. If those players were playing today they would be making as much money as Eto'o, and Milla would be making at least twice the earnings of Eto'o. Eto'o is a talented player and deserves every bit of what he's getting. He's earning it well and he is generous too. I like the way he uses his money to motivate his team mates. He could be a talented manager in the making. He has good brains off-pitch and he's also proving to be a great captain. However, Eto'o still has a great deal to learn to reach the magical footballing heights of the likes of Milla. Milla is the sort of guy who when he was on the pitch you just felt happy and you knew Cameroon was going to get results. You knew you were in for a footballing feast. I particularly love watching brilliant players on the pitch. Football is not just about pace. It's about BRAINS, VISION, POSITIONING, and READING THE GAME DYNAMICS as it flows so that you can take advantage of it. Milla had it all!
It's good to see that, which I thought was long dead, has been running as Up Station Mountain Club. The new site is much better than the old one. Keep up the good work of writing classy articles on topical issues. I shall be coming back here for my commentaries. As far as I'm concerned the major strategic issue for Cameroon today is who will replace Paul Biya in 2011. For the good health and well being of the nation it is mandatory that Paul Biya leaves office in 2011. We need a new country with fresh ideas and a new leader. We must have a brilliant leader in office in 2011. Tribe does not matter. Gender does not matter. Only ability matters! To find this leader there must be due process... Between now and the next general election party leaders and independents must research and formulate their political manifesto describing and analysing the problems of the country. This manifesto will discuss the strategies and higher-level tactics for dealing with these problems. The solution must be grounded in reality and take into account constraints. The manifesto will include implementation or action plans for applying the solution, and the start date for such plans must be the FIRST DAY in office. Low-level tactics are not needed at this stage because they are the things one adjusts on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to implement the solution. They must therefore be flexible and are best formulated when in office. The role of the Press is to ensure that the nation understands the various positions of the leading candidates. Basically they must help the people to make informed decisions at the ballot box. The press will interview these candidates on their manifestos, and critically analyse their positions in language that the people can understand. The press will also organise debates among the leading candidates so that they can argue out their positions and defend their solutions. The goal behind all these is to ensure that the best candidate gains the Presidency through the ballot box. This candidate will be brilliant, knowledgeable about the issues of the country, and will thus have the best solution for the way forward. When in office the Press will keep an eye on the Presidency and its actions to check that the promised manifesto is being implemented. And when there are deviations, the Press will raise an issue on the matter. Cameroon must have an independent election body that guarantees fair elections and that is therefore acceptable to all stakeholders. Forget about Paul Biya's ELECAM. It is Biya's toy for defrauding elections and keeping himself in power forever. Paul Biya is irrelevant to the next general elections, as his term runs out in 2011. He therefore has no authority or say over the events of that election. Authority belongs to the Cameroonian people and not to Paul Biya. Cameroon is bigger than Paul Biya or any individual Cameroonian. Cameroon has decided that Paul Biya's ELECAM will not stand and it won't! Preparations must start to formulate an independent election commission that will oversee the next general election.