End of year 2014 message by the National Chairman of the CRM

Cameroonians, My dear compatriots from the inside and the Diaspora,

Like last year, it is with the same sense of deep respect that I speak to you at this time of the year; a time when each of us legitimately aspires to share with family and friends a moment of joy, after a year full of events and emotions. This is probably a good time to take stock of what our country has experienced during this outgoing year.

The year 2014 was a difficult year in all sectors of national life:

  • the rising prices of fuel has increased poverty in the most disfavored sectors of our population by inflation of food prices in our markets; if the Government does not realize this, our mothers, do feel it and suffer in silence in our villages and neighborhoods of our cities; I have also noted that the price of crude oil has fallen by more than 40% in the international market, but there is no impact on the price of fuel in the fuel pump in our country.
  • the pressure on the treasury of the state has resulted in many unpaid, or significant delays in payment of debts of the State vis-à-vis businesses and individuals;
  • the persistent confusion in the leadership of our football and disgraceful performance of our Indomitable Lions at the World Cup finals disappointed and accentuated the gloom of a people so attached to her national team and the king-sport;
  • the public freedom has been threatened by various violations, including extrajudicial kidnappings, the pursuit of three journalists before a military court and the publishing of a law which, under the guise of combating terrorism in our country, opens the way to political crime and repression for short.

With regard specifically to the fight against terrorism and the defense of the integrity of the national territory, since May 2014, our country is at war against Islamic group Boko Haram at the border with Nigeria; and the border with CAR, it fights armed groups regularly, carry out kidnappings and murder our compatriots. Although the assessment of actions of the dormant terrorist groups and armed gangs already rendered many Cameroonian families bereaved  and destabilized the lifestyle of our people in some places, we must say that our security and defense forces have so far by their bravery and sense of sacrifice, saved our country from descending into chaos that  these extremists and fanatics seek it to dive into.

This is the opportunity, once again, to assert the full support of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement to those of our daughters and sons who, for ourfather land, expose and sometimes offer their lives.

For those of them who died at the front that we might live free, the CRM humbly expresses its infinite gratitude, and to their orphans, widows and widowers and their parents, the emotional expression of sympathy.

The CRM proposes that the Government take special care of school fees and complete hospital care of minor orphans until they reach adulthood, so they feel as little as possible the absence of their parents who died for their country. Such a measure would surely help in a practical and meaningful way to ease the pain of the bereaved families.

My dear compatriots,

If there is reason to celebrate the feats and sacrifices of our defense forces on all fronts and the release of hostages kidnapped this year, as a result of  wild, bloody and deadly attack, that had moved all Cameroonians, it is clear that our country is far from coming to grips with the enemy.

CRM remain convinced that for  respect of the people of Cameroon and to give meaning to democracy, the President of the Republic and head of the Army, should personally address  the nation in relation to the attacks and hostage-taking of which our country is a victim. This would enable the entire nation to bring an informed, coherent and rational support of its action in the management of this major crisis.

The terrorist threat has become one of the major challenges of the world today, especially in the Sahel-Saharan strip, which covers a part of our country. The Government passed a law on terrorism in the Parliament in order to cope with the phenomenon of terrorism. Despite strong political and civic protests, this law was promulgated on the 23rd of December. The CRM is convinced that we need a specific law to protect our country and fight terrorism effectively in the country, which is now a serious danger to Cameroon. However, it is strongly opposed to the instrumentalization of the fight against terrorism for political purposes.

The law that has just been passed and enacted transforms into terrorist, every citizen who tries to oppose to the violation of his civil and political rights by the state and therefore is exposed to death penalty. This law wants to fight extremism by paradoxically introducing a form of state terror on the population, political opposition parties and civil society organizations that would not be in good terms with power. This law was not good before its adoption by the Parliament. It was not good after its adoption by Parliament. It did not become good because of its promulgation by the President of the Republic. This is a bad law for public and political freedoms in the country.

Everything suggests that it was inspired by the desire to ward off events such as those that occurred in a certain African country at the end of last October. If the Government wants to prevent our country from protests, public manifestations or popular uprisings, it must simply create, without cheating, the conditions of serenity, social and political trust.

The CRM has proposed an amendment to improve the wording of Article 2, of the Anti-Terrorism Act. This amendment was rejected with contempt, without even being reviewed as required by the relevant legislation of the Parliament.

The courageous and legitimate fight against terrorism and armed attacks on our borders must not make us lose sight of the growing insecurity in the country. In our towns and villages, alert coast is exceeded to trespass physical integrity of persons and property. Day and night, aggressions are now common despite the multiplication of police and gendarmerie roadblocks. Too many police officers and gendarmes are assigned to protect personalities, and even some homes at the expense of population’s security. The Government can no longer afford to speech where people demand concrete actions.

My dear compatriots,

The bad elections are a serious threat to the stability of our country, almost as much as acts of multifaceted insecurity. The 2012 Electoral Code was, in fact, just the transcript of the unilateral will of the Government into law. Despite numerous protests and based critical, it has been implemented with an arrogance contrary to all republican spirit. The twin election of September 30th, 2013 has offered, to any serious observer that’s concerned by the future of our country, to note that ELECAM displayed a lack of authority but also a harmful bias. We must all turn definitely the page of this inglorious experience of our stammering democracy.

As much as the CRM will no more accept wild electionsmarred by massive fraud, so, as a Republican Party, he works to prevent our country the throes of post-election conflict where human, social, and economic lost are immeasurable. It is in this spitit that fits his bill amending the Electoral Code of 2012 introduced in the National Assembly by his deputy during its November 2014 session.

This bill is the result of an careful analysis of the 30th September 2013 elections which was the first real test of the new electoral code but also for ELECAM. They showed, one and the other, gaps, deficiency and failures that led to numerous cases of fraud and other irregularities that stained our electoral process and discredited our democratic experiment. Our bill seeks a consensual grooming of the Electoral Code in order to get rid of thes sources of electoral conflict.

All domestic and foreign observers have agreed that due to the exceptional longevity of the current government, its strong repressive tendency, but also the irresistible will of political change that is now evident in all spheres of the society, including within the system in place, the next elections will be a critical moment in Cameroon. Guarantees of free, fair and transparent elections must be effectively implemented now to reassure political actors and the Cameroonian people, to prevent them from turning into a moment of turbulence.

Throughout the year 2015, and if necessary, until the next elections, the CRM will organize national and international sensitization campaigns on the importance of adopting a consensual electoral code for the preservation of internal peace in Cameroon after the next national elections.

The objective of this campaign is the adoption by Parliament of the bill on amending the electoral code of 2012, or the opening of a true consensual national dialogue on electoral reform and general mobilization for the challenge of peace by organizing transparent, free, sincere, fair and truly democratic elections.
This is to launch and bear with Cameroonians, political organizations and actors of civil society, sincere with our people, the initiative "Save the Peace in Cameroon requesting now the Reformation the Electoral Code for Free, Democratic and Transparent Elections! ".It Is a Republican issue that concerns all Cameroonians without distinction.

The schedule and the modalities for peaceful and democratic actions of this operation will soon be agreed, after consultation with the forces of our country and all people of good will, including those close to the ruling party.

No measures of intimidation, not even the threat of death penalty contained in the Law on the Suppression of Terrorism in Cameroon, will stop us in this struggle to get that at the next elections, the freely expressed will of Cameroonians are finally respected.

In the course of every outreach, all the information will be communicated to the authorities to enable them to secure and supervise public events. Given the political, civic and essentially peaceful character of our approach, and our willingness to cooperate fully with the authorities for the supervision of public events as part of this campaign, the Government shall be held responsible for entrapment in case of mishaps.

It is time for Cameroonians and other friendly countries of Cameroon to realize that if nothing is done now, some circles of power will take advantage of the upcoming elections to destabilize our country. Meanwhile, what can be done easily today, without any cost in human lives is to open the political game by accepting a consensual reform of the national electoral system.

None of our countrymen, no friendly country of Cameroon, no organization will say that the warning was not given on time. Late efforts to restore calm in advance will be morally condemned and can not be appreciated as anything but cynical.

Is it necessary to wait, as elsewhere, for extremist forces to create chaos for the international community to mobilize human, financial and material cost? If the international community wants to help the people of Cameroon, it must now work alongside those caring a peaceful message so that the electoral code should be reformed to give back the people of Cameroon their sovereignty through credible elections, after which the loser congratulates the winner, as is done elsewhere.
There is still time to anticipate the unforeseen consequences of the post-election disorder in Cameroon.

Cameroonians, My dear compatriots,

The economy of our country suffers from serious structural weaknesses against which the Government is clearly disarmed.

The trade balance deficit is abysmal: its negative balance increased from -1,055.8 billion CFA francs in 2012 to -1,205.4 billion in 2013. The most distressing is that the vast majority of our imports consist of food products, which can be explained by the poor performance of our productive system, despite the exceptional potential in both natural and human resources available to our country.

Regarding the country's economic growth and its impact on poverty reduction, it is clear that Cameroon, will not achieve the goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015 as set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for which it has committed itself to the United Nations in the year 2000; unlike some African countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and Rwanda who have reached the eight MDGs.

The reason is simple: the economic growth rate is low to cause development with a significant impact on reducing poverty and achieving the elimination of hunger in our country. This growth rate has not exceeded 5% over the last four years, that is to say, since the Government adoption of its Strategic Document for Growth and Employment (SDGD) which foresees a rate growth of 7% per year.

Donors agree that it will take a two digit growth rate from next year to catch up with the delay. But, given the current state of our economy, this is a wishful thinking to which the Government itself does not believe. The fears we expressed in 2012 are confirmed. As always the government has swept our alert with contempt.

Like in 2013, the allocation of 30% of the state budget for public investment in 2014 has not been beneficial to the population. At the end of the third quarter 2014, only 36% of the Public Investment Budget (PIB) was executed. The government gets mired in explanations that changes from year to year. In 2014, it tries to hide this sad reality by evoking a rate of 89.30% of performance in terms of commitments. In the same periods in 2013, its indicator was the number of contracts awarded and not physical performance. Barriers to the under-consumption of public investment budget are known, but the government is obviously unable to overcome this.

To be more concrete, and as an example to the poor state of our economy, for several months now, the malfunctioning of the Douala Autonomous Port has nullified the efforts of many national companies whose activities rely mainly on imports and exports.

CRM stands with women and men who, with their patriotic commitment, overcome difficulties of all kinds to invest in Cameroon and create jobs and wealth that the country so badly needs. The Government would do well to solve this problem by taking into consideration, the damages suffered by the companies concerned, if it has any desire to really fight unemployment and protect the most vulnerable populations against an unbearable inflation.

But faced with this situation, the Government ripens in the arrogance of its convictions and contempt for dissenting voices. It only has in its mouth, insults and denouncements of imaginary plots in response to each inquiry to which it is subject. Aside the system in place, no Cameroonian has neither the intelligence nor the legitimacy to make any contribution to the construction of the country. But it is not sufficiency and insults that will resolve the daily problems of Cameroonians or that will meet the urgent challenges which the nation faces.

The country suffers from a lack of trust and the proliferation of contingency plans will not change anything as long as the horizon remains uncertain, that corruption will get better day by day, that the worship of our leaders will corrupt our minds and will prevent us from seeing our shortcomings and correct our mistakes.

CRM notes that its urgent need to reduce the lifestyle of the state inspired the President of the Republic, who, during the last Council of Ministers, found it a financing source of the emergency plan announced since December 2013. The interpellation of CRM, with regards to the fuel price increase had however, in its time, caused the wrath of some communication officials. If the CRM can feel some satisfaction to notice that the relevance of its analysis is shared by the Government, it regrets the poor methodological approach adopted in this regard. In, fact, it is incoherent to hold a cabinet meeting aimed at reducing the lifestyle of the state just few days after the adoption of the budget law, which when reviewed, provides the bulk of revenues to expenditures. As we see, it is difficult to implement the ideas of others.

About emergency plan, which one should it mobilize the national effort today? The one announced in December 31st, 2013? The emergency plan for Bakassi? The emergency plan for the Northern part of our country? The Government doesn’t know where to head. Following the failure of its economic and social groping, he believes he can find salvation in the emergency plans, in a country that is not coming out from any war or crisis. What is the state budget approved by Parliament during its last session for 2014 if it is to be executed in line with another budget for the emergency plan? The nation needs to know in any case that, the fact that the funding for this emergency plan did not pass through the Parliament, is contrary to the Constitution, which makes the vote on the budget and monitoring of its implementation a matter within the exclusive domain of the law. Even in a non-democratic regime the executive can not make expenditures of nearly 1,000 billion CFA francs without the approval of the Parliament.

In truth, it is not the desire to build a strong national economy, able to bring the country to the forefront of African economies that guide current choices of the government, but rather the haunt of the preparation of the 2018 deadline. This is why everything is keyed to the next three years or around this period of time: the female CAN 2016 in preparation; the three-year Emergency Plan which hopefully will result in 2017 to supply the balance sheet to present in 2018 to justify the solicitation for a mandate that will permit to organize the African Cup of Nations in 2019. It is Fair enough, I will say; except that the long-term interests of the country should not be sacrificed at the altar of short-term political calculations.

My dear compatriots,

Distress and despair are growing in our youth. This is not limited to a few graduates of the capital and major cities who have the chance to benefit from recruitment in the public service or in some public enterprises, parastatal or private. I speak of millions of educated youth, under-educated or not educated, whose only horizon is motorbike riding or wandering the streets with only two frippery shirts or a pair of shoes by hand. There is no exaggeration or indescribable desire to destabilize the power by saying that there is a potential vector of social crisis in our country.

Do those who vehemently rise against attention made to this situation know how many young Camroonians in search of a future died this year while crossing the Sahara Desert? How many got drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea? How many died on the barbed wires of the Spanish border? How many have committed suicide in despair and shame of social failure after suffering sometimes more than ten years after obtaining a university degree without employment?
No, the Government can not tell you, precisely because the fate of the young Cameroonian is not really at the center of its concerns.

A Government that provides as main source of job creation for young people, periodical recruitment and altogether ridiculous in a bloated civil service, leads the country to the ruin of its public finances. It makes the implacable demonstration of its inability to stimulate the private sector.

Dear compatriots,

The Cameroonian people thirsts for political appeasement, for reconciliation, for the reconstruction of trust amongst its children, between its political actors, between the state and the citizens. Similarly, it calls for the nation’s recognition to those who have worked towards its construction as a nation, and its affirmation as a player in the international society. In this regard, the first president of our country, Ahmadou Ahidjo, can not be relegated to the dustbin of history. He is indeed part of the collective consciousness and national political heritage, as are equally King DOUALA MANGA BELL and NGOSSO DIN, Martin Paul SAMBA, Ernest OUANDIE, OSSENDE AFANA Ruben UM NYOBE Roland MOUMIE John NGU FONCHA, Salomon TANDENG MUNA, Sultan NJI MOLUH SEYDOU Augustine NGOM JUA, Bernard FONLON, Emmanuel EGBE TABI, Daniel KEMAJOU, André Marie MBIDA and many others; and as will one day be President Paul BIYA. For the CRM, the Republic of Cameroon must show dignity by officially repatriating the remains of the man whose destiny gave the privilege to proclaim the independence of our country. It's time to embark on a national program for the country’s reconciliation with its past and its heroes, regardless of their ideological trajectory.

This same period a year ago, we announced that the CRM would initiate an implementation campaign throughout the country during the past year. This operation was launched and continues successfully in different regions of the country and in the Diaspora. But unsustainable pressure and open threats continue to be exercised on the population and some of our comrades and supporters across the country, creating a detestable climate of fear.

This gives room to the sensitization of our valiant people of the Southern Region in particular, so that they overcome these maneuver of intimidation and the shabby speech of ethnic hatred, so as to expressed theirselves as free citizens of a nation built on the base of the Republican brotherhood. Their fate is not confused, and can not be confused, to that of a regime or elite! To these people and those elsewhere hesitating again, I say, "Join the CRM, so that together we build the" National Renaissance! »

My dear compatriots,

Before we part, permit me to form for each and everyone of you, wherever you are, for the common people of the cities and the countryside and the business communities, creators of wealth, whose hard work have enabled Cameroon to overcome so many crises, for our security and defense forces that are the pride of our country, for the sick and those who are unjustly detained in prisons, for officials who maintain the state standing, for our promising youth, my heartfelt wishes for a Happy new Year. Let it be full of health and prosperity, so that together we work towards the Renaissance of our dear and beautiful country.

Long live Cameroon!

Maurice KAMTO
National Chairman of the CRM
Yaounde, December 28, 2014