An address by Maurice KAMTO on the occasion marking the celebration of the National Day, 20th may, 2015

My dear compatriots,

The celebration of the national day gives us an opportunity to reflect on its deeper meaning and revisit the path Cameroon has embarked on for several years now. This is not simply another moment for frivolous festivities, but the time where a nation provides an update on his condition and exhibits his technological prowess that reassures its citizens worldwide and giving a message to others. Instead, we have been lagging behind years after years on the unique artery that cuts the national capital into two, obsolete equipment acquired at the price of gold and repainted in a hurry for the occasion.

We must ask ourselves: what happening to Cameroon? What makes us Cameroonians that we succumb so fast to the propaganda which is inundates, and we accept everything, including the unacceptable?

What powerful message or messages did we want to deliver to the nation through the celebration of the fiftieth anniversaries of independence and Reunification? None otherwise, hollow and childish slogans not different from those that bloom on the occasion of each Parade during May 20th on the eponymous Boulevard in Yaoundé. What is left of the folkloric celebrations? Nothing, otherwise a few grotesque monuments, uninspired, hastily made and often with unbearable ugliness. These celebrations were an opportunity for a travesty of facts, a rewrite of a shameless national history, in which we find a man who was not yet back in Cameroon in 1960 and at this period had therefore not yet integrated the state structures, the "artisan of Reunification", the "true reunification". We were ignorant that it was faulty thus; the artisans did not merit the recognition of the state. With such revisionism inspired by idolatry, guilt of ingratitude and which is reprehensible, should shock our conscience in a profound manner: nowhere in Buea did I see any portrait of Late president Amadou Ahidjo, not even on simple paper, proof of the rapid extinction of Ahmadou Ahidjo’s legacy, of which he was the architect and artisan, not even those of John Ngu Foncha, Solomon Tandeng Muna, Augustine Ngom Jua, Bernard Fonlon, Sultan Njimoluh Seidou and you name the rest, not even the least.

These celebrations were void of meaning, as is the ritual with many ceremonies which conveys no message, no ideal, no grounds of commitment. The message has always been lacking in the following: the unity of the nation has as granitic basement, the Republic, this mother who welcomes all her children and watches over them with the same love; who teaches them that their fraternity is not based on a biological basis, the bond of blood who founded the clan or tribe, but on the shared desire of living together, adherence to common values and the same burning faith pegged to the body, faith in a promising future built together. This is the message that I am delivering to Cameroonians, one on which CRM is built and on that our party stands to impact our country.

Would Cameroon not be as a disparate assembly of territories without soul, without collective identity or any common base, where everyone fights beaks and nails for the defense of his parcel of territory and power? An archipelago of ethnic groups assembled randomly in logic of unspeakable federalism and not assumed? If we understand what a regional delegate of a Ministerial Department, a regional head of the forces of defense and security, a non 'indigene' of a Region because of their family ancestry, can work with commitment and determination to the development and security of that Region, why is it difficult to conceive that a Cameroonian citizen elected by the people of a Region where he is not a native would serve and defend politically with conviction and perhaps better than an alleged ' indigene', in the interests of that Region? Should it be established in Cameroon a Presidency (of the Republic) between Regions or between the ethnic groups in order to ensure that the interests of such Region or ethnic group can be preserved only if "one-of-theirs" exercises the supreme magistracy of the country? We must get to our minds, knowledge and reasoning to reflect together on the best way of ensuring the representation and participation of the various socio-cultural components of our country to the life of the nation, without falling into the tensions and unhealthy derivatives of what the writer calls the "killer Identities". This undoubtedly requires patience and relentless hard work in building trust, with incorruptible material of fervent love by everyone for our dear and unique fatherland, Cameroon.

The recent eruption in the political language of the nation for an unlikely distinction between "national meritocracy" and "regional meritocracy" could raise a smile if it was not an act of extreme disillusion. It does not correspond to our concept of national unity, nor to our concept of the exhortation of our youth to excellence. Unity of Cameroon cannot be built on the theory of division and plunging the nation into ethnic ghettos which absolve the State of its responsibility in raising the collective level of its citizens and depriving some Cameroonians in certain regions of the country, of their indispensable individual right necessary to take their place, their entire place in the life of the nation. You do not solve inequalities by freezing it, but by finding solutions to avoid them from being perpetuated. The distinction between "national meritocracy" and "regional meritocracy" freezes the imbalances in levels of education that might exist between the different regions of the country; it does not help to resolve them.

The unity of the nation is forged in the brewing at all levels and in all sectors: mixing of men and women in all regions of the country, ideas and cultures. It is built in confidence: confidence between the Government and citizens, and amongst the citizens themselves. It is built in the gathering without exception, without discrimination between those who live in the national territory and those that life has caused to live outside the country, but to love Cameroon viscerally, wherever they are.

I have never stopped saying this for many years now, and even before I became the head of a political party, that the Cameroonian diaspora deserves the attention of the nation. I explained why and the CRM has established this as one of its five main pillar projects for the new Cameroonian society that she is proposing to our country. In that light, the legal conditions must be created quickly so that our diaspora can take part in all the national elections, legislative and presidential and it is as from the next polls scheduled for 2018. The modification of our code of nationality to make possible the double or the pluri-nationality will be, in these conditions, not only a practical necessity which would allow them to contribute more easily and more significantly to the development of Cameroon, but also a political requirement will be open to them all the way in to full participation in national political life and their integration in the affairs of the Republic. The head of State made them a promise to this effect, it is more than five years ago; It is high time that he keeps his word.

Happy to belong to this grand community of great destiny, the activists and sympathizers of CRM have mobilized in order to participate, as in every year since the creation of our party, in grand style. Monday, May 11, 2015, they inaugurated in a very eminent and symbolic manner the week of national unity. Uniting all the sons and daughters of Cameroon at the four cardinal points as evoked by our national anthem, i.e. from North to South, and from East to West of this beautiful country, free gift of nature, wonderful gardens "that our grandfathers cultivated" and for the freedom of which immortal heroes sacrificed yesterday, today and forever.

As these heroes of today are fighting, are injured or dying at the war front, the celebration of this 43rd National Day gives me a special honor to renew our total support, that of the CRM and my humble self, to our defense and security forces for their bravery and their sacrifice exalted by the whole nation.

Long live Cameroon!

 

Maurice KAMTO,

National President of CRM,

Yaounde, 18th may, 2015.

 

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