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“Independence” celebration: A diagnosis of the two phases and perspectives

May 20, 2010

By Aloysius AGENDIA

When I visited the website marking what has been described as Cameroon’s “50 years of independence”, I was struck by the apparent paucity of information  on architects like EML Endeley, John Ngu Foncha,  Ahmadou Ahidjo etc . There was practically  no information on others like Um Nyobe,  Ernest Ouandie, Roland Moumie, Ndeh Ntumanza, Martin Paul Samba, Rudolf Douala Manga Bell.

I was also flabbergasted by the no-mention of the achievements during the first “22 years of independence” of Cameroon under Ahidjo whereas; the website is awashed by a myriad of “ambitions” during the second 28 years with President Paul Biya. I was also appalled by the fact that, the home page of the site has just the photo of President Paul Biya as if he was the architect of Cameroon independence.

How can can America celebrate independence without talking of the Washingtons, the Jaffersons etc.  This was the reason why I decided to dig into some archives to make an assessment of the first 22 years of “independence” and the second 28. This was under the framework of us knowing where we are from, and, where we are going to. 

Below are some developments carried out or initiated by either President Ahmadou Ahidjo or Paul Biya. The trends are presented in a tabulated form in the field of democracy and liberty, diplomacy, administration, security and governance, public health, education, road infrastructure, state companies etc.  This assessment, from 1960-2005, was published by Le Messager in November 2005 but, I realised that a lot of things were lacking concerning the English part of Cameroon. I have added some data from 2005 t0 2010. All the items I have added are in asterix.

One thing stands out clear, Ahidjo might not have done so well when we compare to the aspirations of Cameroonians at the time. But again, when we make a comparison of President Biya’s tenure, we realise that Ahidjo was a better evil. That does not cancel the fact that President Paul Biya scores significant points on of freedom expression, irrespective of the fact that Cameroon is still considered NOT FREE by bodies like Freedom House (2010).  

The same critical principles will apply post Biya. If the person who assumes office does not do better, Biya would be considered a better option.

 But there is one thing that  our two post independence rulers have had in common; neither of them spoke/speaks English, which is one of Cameroon official languages. None of them seem to have had the interest of the English speaking part of Cameroon at heart, as many English speaking Cameroonians would have loved their president to. Neither of them was  really  or has been an epitome of a nationalistic or patriotic leader. They seem to be more as colonial administrators. Cameroonians especially the youths will have to take their destiny in their hands if at all they want any positive change.

The circumstances and resources under which both president Ahidjo and Paul took officer are different.  While there were meagre resources before 1982 with a small population, a lot more resources like petrol added to state resources though with an increased in population.  Summarily, while life expectancy during the Ahidjo era was 54 years, it declined to 48 as 2010.  National and internation debt has increaded as compared to the first 22 years of independence.

One of presidents met his people often while the other did or does less.  Without going into any polemics, the statistic below are not meant to say one was better from the other or justifying good or bad but just meant to help so that we may learn not to constantly repeat the mistakes of others.

        Under  AHMADOU AHIDJO

 

First  22 years of Independence

Under PAUL BIYA- New Deal

 

Second 28 Years of Independence

 

 General Remark

 

Cameroon is not yet independent. The general interest of Cameroonians is still in jeopardy.

Service delivery is still overwhelmingly wanting.

Each and every young cameroonian must take his or her destiny in his own hands so that the next 50 years can make a difference

Remarks per section

DEMOCRACY AND

 

1 party state

 

Repressive bodies like BMM, CRC

 

A few media outlets like CT, Effort camerounais, La Gazette etc, No private radio or television station

LIBERTY 

 

Multiparty state (over 200 parties

 BMM, BIR, Commandement Operationele

 Media liberalised. Hundred of newspapers, radio and television stations

 

*1990 Several students killed and others exile after student strike

1990 six killed in Bamenda as SDF is launched

*1990 several opinion leaders imprison

 

*2005, 2006, 2007 several students killed as state universities go on strike

 

*2008  40 killed (Gov’t sources) 200 killed (independent) sources as Cameroon embrace general strike

 

 

Under Paul Biya there has been much improvement in political developments, though its has not met the aspirations of most Cameroonians

 

 

 

 

No journalist imprisoned

 

Only Islam and Christianity allowed

4 journalists imprisoned – one dies in jail

 

Freedom of religion

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATION,

 

 

GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY

 

 

 

Created a 5 year development plan

 

* Maintained few ministries

 

 

 

Creation of 7 provinces

 

 

 

• Change from 19 regions to 46 divisions

• Creation of a military tribunal specially for scrutinising cases related to embezzlement of public funds.

• Recruitment of female police officers

• 1972 ordinance aimed at discouraging banditry and prostitution

• Only 1 General in the Army

 

* Declared 11th February youth day with the day having no apparent connections to youths

* Shun the October 1st 1961, the Real Unification Day

 

* Bogus referendum in 1972 to end Federation and bring in a Unitary State

 

* Instituted One Party rule

 

* Members of cabinet never more than 25.

 

Initiated vision 2035 after 27 years in power

 

* A very bloated government of an average of 65 excluding secretary generals in ministries

 

• Creation of 3 new province s

• Adding of new divisions from 46 to 58

*Changed from Province to Regions

 

 

* 1984 changed from United Republic of Cameroon to Republic of Cameroon (the original name of French Cameroon)

• Instituted the hiring of female military officers

• Cameroun, twice the most corrupt nation on earth according to transparency international

 

*Manager of SNH boldly declares that oil revenue is an affair between him and the head of state

* Attacks in the centre of Yaoundé and Limbe

* Increase in the number of broad day light bank robbery

* 20 New generals created in the army

*Created the Audit Bench of the Supreme Court

 

*Creating National Financial Investigative Body ANIF

 

*Created Anti Corruption Body (CONAC)

 

*Began the arrests and trial of suspected embezzlers all of which are hard core members of his own party.

 

*Twice Cameroon ranks the most corrupt

 

* Since 2000 among the 45 most corruption countries on earth

 

*A French Catholic NGO published a report implicating the head of state in high level corruption and embezzlement

 

*A French radio reveals information on head of state extravagance in Le Baule-France

 

*Members of cabinet between 45- 65 (excluding inspector generals)

 

*2008 the constitution is change to remove term limits and gives president immunity after he leaves power

 

There has been much more corruption and impunity as compared. Administration is unecessarily centralised.

DIPLOMCACY

Creation of air Afrique 1961

DIPLOMACY

*Soon after taking power he says he will not take Cameroon to the IMF-

 

Obtained headquarters for institutions like ISSEA, BEAC, OCEAC, UDEAC (CEMAC)

Obtain General secretariat of organisations like

UDEAC-CEMAC, OAMCAF,

2 OAU Secretary generals from Cameroon

 

Recognised the Peoples’ Republic of China in 1966

Ended relations with Israel in application of an OAU resolution

 

Disbanded French occupation bases of Douala and Koutaba

Refused French Troops the use of Cameroon territory to assist Biafra separatists in Nigeria

 

Never took part in France Afrique

1975 signed an agreement with Nigerian-Gowon recognising the sovereignty of Cameroon over Bakassi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit several parts of Cameroon often and less trvel abroad

 

*Takes Cameroon to IMF and qualifies Cameroon as Poor and Highly indebted country

 

*Twice winner of the Most corruption nation trophy

 

*President appears on the list of 20 worst tyrants in the world according to author  David Welinsky

 

*2004  Hires his own elections observers after being fade up with accusations of NDI and other international bodies

 

Re-established links with Israel: later is is rightly of wrong accused  by some Cameroonians to have been behind the Lake Nyos bomb test/ natural disaster

 

* Gained admission to the Common wealth and la Francophonie

1996- Hosted the OAU submit

2001 hosted the France-Afrique submit

 

*Got a major diplomatic victory over Nigeria in the Bakassi ICJ verdict and application

*International media widely reports on Biya allege extravagance in le Baule Paris and Cameroonians die in poverty

*Presidential collaborator steals presidential suit case in  Switzerland allegedly  containing billions of FCFA cash

* Seldom visit any part of Cameroon and record numbers of days spent out of the country( an average of 60 in a years with some stays as long as 1 month)

Diplomacy under the New Deal has been much more of quiet diplocacy.

STATE

 

• Crreation of :SEMRY – SODECOTON – SODERIM – SOCAME – Ndo Plain Development Agency, SODECAO – UCCAO - OCB - ONCPB SOSUCAM – CAMSUCO - CHOCOCAM ZAPI/Est - SCT – MIDEVIV - SACHERIES-CDC – HEVECAM – CELLUCAM – CICAM -SOTUC - MIDEPECHE – SODEPA - Crevettes du Cameroun- SNI – BCD – SCB – BIAO – FONADER - FOGAPE – CAPME – FEICOM –CREDIT FONCIER – FODIC - LABOGENIE – MATGENIE – CERICAM – CIMENCAM – SIC - MIDIMA - SONEL – SNEC – SONARA – CSPH – SNH-CAMAIR – SOCATOUR - CAMSHIP – CNC - SOCAR – CNR – CNPS - TANNERIES -

Cameroon Development Bank, Marketing Board

 

 

 

*Less private companies, less employment

 

 

COMPANIES

 

• Creation of Ocean Development authority

Creation of CAMAIRCO

Creation of Electricity development company

• Liquidation or closure of  : CAMSUCO – ONCPB – ZAPI/Est - SCT – MIDEVIV – SACHERIES – SOCAME - CELLUCAM - SODERIM BCD – SCB – BIAO – SOCAR– CNR- FONADER - FOGAPE – CERICAM –CAPME - SCT – Crevettes du Cameroun -SODERIM - SOTUC– MATGENIE - SOCATOUR- Meal- Bata-Cnce

• Privatisations of : OCB – SONEL - CAMSHIP – , SNEC, REGIFERCAM,
HEVECAM - TANNERIES – tea section of CDC

*Killed West Cameroon Bank

*Killed Marketing Board

*Killed West Cameroon Development Agency

*Killed first West Cameroon bank: Amity Bank

*More private companies, more unemployment, more abuse of workers and consumers by private companies

*Alarming sale of land to foreign investors

 

Many state companies were closed down or liquidated after 1982. More companies have been created int he private sector but not enough to sustain the growing population. Taxation system is disorganised and corrupt.

HEALTH SECTOR

 

*Life expectancy as of 1982 : 54 years

Extension of Yaounde Central Hospital Central Yaoundé

Extension of  Laquintinie Hospital Douala

Extension Garoua Main Hospital, Maroua and Ngaoundéré

Construction of ebolowa General Hospital

HEALTH SECTOR

 

*Life expectancy reduces  as of 2010: 48 years

Creation of the Yaounde General Yaoundé

Creation of the Douala Reference Hospital

Creation of the  Gynaeco-obstetric hospital Yaoundé

Extension of the Yagoua Yagoua

 

*Creation of the Chantal Biya Hospital

 

*HIV Clinical trial takes places in Cameroon, over 400 girls inoculated with HIV virus

 

*Painting or reconstruction of the Buea hospital

 

*A record 40 percent o all state trained doctors vamoosing for greener pastures

 

*East Province hospital obtains its first MRI machine

 

 The  situation has exacerbated in the health sector.  Few medical centres, equipment and personnel and a very corrupt personnel in most cases. The current leadership and their  associates  have never  patronised cameroon hospitals, preferring western hospitals.

EDUCATION

 

• Creation  of the University of’Université de Yaoundé  and University centres in Douala, Ngaoundéré and Dschang

• Creation of Higher education institutions like  : ENAM, EMIA, ENS, CUSS, INJS, IRIC, Polytechnique, Police Higher college, ENP & T, ENT.P

• Registration fee in Universities: 3 000 F

• Monthly student assistance of at least : 25 000Frs and at most FCFA60 000.
Created and equipment over 400 primary school and colleges

EDUCATION

 

Creation of the University of Yaoundé II et de Buea.

Transformation of university centres to full fledge universities

Institution of the payment of fees in state universities at: 50 000 F

Suppression of payment of studentship

 

*Paved way for the creation of private universities

 

*Creation of the Higher Teacher Training College in Maroua

 

*University student-population dramatically increased

 

*Several strikes in state universities in 1990 in Yaoundé, 2005, 2006, 2007 in Yaoundé, Douala, Buea during which several students were killed

University about to be launched.

 

*All post 1982 university building contrast with pre 1982 building in terms of quality and quantity

*Brought about elitist school like cococinelle at the presidency

*Created over 1000 primary school and colleges

*Parents and community obliged to fund the college, pay teacher and build some

 

 Both presidents failed to encourage technical education making the population to overwhelmingly rely on public service jobs and  other administrative jobs in the  private sector.

  You can access the orginal document which was published in Le Messager, in November 2005 by clicking  HERE.

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what's our last 27yrs achievements

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

Two presidents in 50 solid years!With the current having served during the former's tenure, and gearing up for another 7years,sounds scandalous but shameful.How many presidents have served in the US during this period?

This is a good article, Aloysius. It's really scandalous that in fifty years, only two people have ruled a country- not because they were voted to stay in power by absolute majority but because they did everything possible to make sure they stay in power, whether the masses loved it or not.

Good information,Cameroon shame,i say again shame.that in 50yrs we have nothing to ride home with as benefit from our greedy presidents ,especially so call paul biya.God will pay you in your own coin ,and destiny will help us a day.since i see greedy fools ready to vote you again come 2011,shame,shame.

freedom is not free, the cameroon ilegall occupation of southern cameroons is only made possible because, military, when southern
cameroons have a military and will to fight for their independence they will have it.

OPEN YOUR EYES CAMEROON IS RED I MEAN RED IN THE REAL SENSE. BLOOD EVERY WHERE I MEAN BLOOD. SOME HUMAN BEINGS ARE TERRIBLE LETS DIE AND LET THEM STAY AND STAY AND STAY AND TILL THY KINGDOM COME AS THEY ARE NOW KINGS.

This is a good article, Aloysius.

CAMEROON TRUELY HAD
INDEPENDENCE 50YEARS AGO YET
PROGRESSIVE TRANS FORMATION OF THE ECONOMY OF CAMMEOON OVER THIS 50YEARS IS TOO SMALL OR FAR INVISBLE,LOTS OF MONEY WAS SQUADER BY THE BIG FISHES IN THE NAME OF THIS ANIVASERYOF NO SENSE



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