Dec 2018

Fellow Cameroonians, My dear compatriots;

Despite the many hardships, we are finally at the end of 2018. Unfortunately, Cameroon has now become a collapsed state; a Nation that has fallen apart; Cameroonians have become helpless and defeated, while doubts, pessimism and cynicism have settled in their minds. They have lost their dignity and pride, the main source of their self-confidence. Cameroonians are unrecognizable, and I am heartbroken. This is what our country looks like at the end of the year of our Lord 2018.

The cause of all this drama has a single name, BIYA Paul. Never has a man sacrificed the fate of his people for his own ego.

With regard to the tragedy unfolding in the North West and South West Regions, the regime of Mr Paul BIYA has stubbornly persevered with the armed solution, despite calls from all over the world for an inclusive dialogue in view of a political solution to this conflict. After having ignored all the early warning signs of a severe conflict, the government engaged in a disproportionate and immoderate use of force, judicial terror and punitive mass military operations on an unarmed population. Thus, from protests to revolt, our country is today entangled in a civil war, uselessly triggered since November 2016.

After two years, the assessment of this fratricidal conflict is disastrous:
– On the humanitarian aspect, nearly 1,000 civilian deaths, including more than 200 members of the defence and security forces, plus 50,000 refugees in Nigeria, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, widespread torture and acts of barbarism, arrests and mass detentions;
– At the economic and social level, more than 6000 jobs destroyed in a country with high unemployment and a chronic lack of jobs, especially among young people; 269 billion Francs CFA of lost sales; 5.9 billion Francs CFA lost in tax revenue, 8000 jobs in the informal sector compromised, according to the survey business organization GICAM, carried out in of July 2018; 70 billion Francs CFA of losses for microfinance institutions.

On November 26, I presented an action plan to end this conflict and restore to lasting peace. It was a coherent set of actions, with each element articulated to others within a grid that guarantees its success. Faithful to his logic of propaganda and arousing public opinion, Mr BIYA thought it wise to extract some pieces from the abovementioned action plan, as propaganda, like the creation on last November 30 of the National Committee of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration for ex-combatants from Boko Haram and armed groups from North West and South West Regions. The same is true of the release of 289 Anglophone detainees, who in fact are not all Anglophones or were neither involved in the conflict in the Anglophone regions. This scattered approach is inefficient and, of course, far below the expectations of our compatriots.

It is not surprising that such a piecemeal approach does not lead to a stalemate, because how can we understand the implementation of the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, without the precondition of a ceasefire negotiation? This is the case for the other proposed and unimplemented measures, of which their coherent implementation would have been the bedrock for achieving a lasting peace.

On the other hand, the fund-raising operation for our compatriots from the Anglophone regions through the AYAH Foundation, which is still in progress, can already be qualified as successful. I, hereby, seize this opportunity to greet all those who have shown their generosity by giving various kinds of donations. Let me also remind you that children and people in these two regions still crave for your generosity, do not give up on them. Let’s continue to mobilize to help them. I encourage the AYAH Foundation officials to demonstrate good management of the resources available to them through this operation. I count on them to make the most of all the channels available to reach all those who need help. This operation must, in fact, bring people to forget the elusive Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Plan of the Government launched last June, which collected about 13 billion Francs CFA. The population of the two Anglophone Regions are still waiting for its benefit and the Cameroonian taxpayers the assessment of its financial management.

Fellow Cameroonians, dear Compatriots!

The presidential election took place on October 7, 2018 in which you placed your trust in me and your victory was stolen in the massive and despicable fraud that you witnessed: falsified procès verbaux, results fabricated by the computer, our representatives in polling stations brutalized, the fake representatives of Transparency International on the national CRTV unmasked, and so on. To prove the truth of the poll at the end of that election, I have requested the recount of votes. Without success to date. What is scaring if one is so sure of victory, as Mr BIYA’s camp pretends? I expected him to have quickly seized the offer to embarrass me!

To all those who, here in Cameroon or abroad, want to construe our claim of victory as an attitude of bad loser, by asking us to turn the page, as if it were a trivial occurrence, we want to remind them that the stake of democracy is for the development of the country and the improvement of the living condition of the populations; and the election is its cornerstone. A transparent, credible and reliable electoral process is the indispensable mechanism for a genuine democracy. When this process, by whatever means, is rigged or erroneous, democracy loses its purpose and justification.

One should therefore avoid trivializing the election as if it were a joke, it is a serious act that determines the fate of society and its members. By always wanting to make elections a masquerade, Cameroon has been plunged for many years in an economic, social and cultural stagnation. So, we cannot turn the page so quickly, like unconscious people.

We need to realize that elections rigging produces incompetent and illegitimate leaders, which is the main explanation of all the tragedies that our country is going through, from the economic, social and cultural stagnation to the armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions. The latest development shows that things are getting worse, since some bordering areas between Francophone and Anglophone Regions are now plunged into the tragedy of armed clashes and the burning of entire villages, as in Bangourain in the Noun, with a real risk of a generalised civil war.

My dear compatriots, you can understand why we cannot turn the page so easily after the excessive fraud of the last presidential election. We must learn from it all the useful and relevant lessons.

This election provided compelling evidence that one individual, Mr BIYA Paul, mobilized all public resources – financial, administrative, material, institutional and security – to perpetuate his re-election. It is no more no less than corruption, a damage on the public fortune and the abuse of power that led to an ELECTORAL HOLD UP.

In these circumstances, we must reaffirm our determination once more to make every effort to ensure that future elections in our country are finally held only after a consensus reform of our electoral system, guaranteeing a transparent and credible choice of leaders at all levels.

The same causes producing the same effects, in the absence of such a reform, it is to be feared that in the forthcoming elections, the truth of the ballot boxes will not be more respected by the regime’s fraud machine than that of the presidential election of October 2018.

As of now, I call on all Cameroonians, who think that it is finally time to get rid of the disguised one-party system behind, which is hidden the regime of Mr BIYA since the beginning of the apparent democratization of the 1990s, to join me in this indispensable struggle for the effective advent of democracy in our country. This fight is essential, beyond words and appearances, to appeal to international investors, and to put our country in the modern world.

The recounting of votes of the last presidential election and the thorough and consensual reform of the electoral system are the two key requirements that we have made known to the African Union, African Sub-Regional organizations, international institutions and to friendly countries.

Taking into account the parliamentary calendar and the electoral calendar, the political dialogue leading to the total and consensual reform of the electoral system should be held before the end of February, that is before the parliamentary session of March, if the resolutions of this reform are to be submitted to parliamentarians and the resulting laws in order to allow time to prepare the double ballot in September 2019.

In advance, I announce to you that in the next few days, the CRM will once more make public its proposals for the reform of our electoral system, which it has already presented following the 2013 double legislative and municipal elections.

Fellow Cameroonian, My dear Compatriots!

In the process of the collapse of our country we are witnessing, the withdrawal from Cameroon of the organization of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is indicative of the total bankruptcy of the leadership of Mr BIYA Paul. It is the huge blow that has exposed the carelessness of this regime, which no deception, no false propaganda or hollow slogan can hide. It reveals the incompetence of this regime where leader, negligently move to the forefront to make a promise and break it: “Cameroon will be ready on the said day, I take the personal commitment.”

Let me remind you it was in September 2014 that the CAF awarded Cameroon the organization of this 2019 AFON. This attribution that BIYA’s regime celebrated as a victory even though it has done nothing for sport in general and for football in particular after more than thirty years of power, quickly gave rise to greed within a system whose reputation in matters of corruption and misappropriation of public funds is renown worldwide.

The dramatic withdrawal of this 2019 AFCON from the land of the Indomitable Lions is the result of no conspiracy by some national or international dark forces. It is the tangible manifestation of failures in leadership and governance that we have accumulated for decades, perhaps without paying attention. Indeed, if one thinks about it, one would have predicted, based on the previous failures of the regime in place, that the organization of the 2019 AFCON could only be the chronicle of a fiasco announced in advance.

I would like to remind you that this regime has never managed to respect the deadlines that it announced, to the point where to get out of the constraints of its duty, it has freed itself from time constraints thinking that it can itself become the time.

Thus, the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification originally planned in 2011 that will be finally celebrated in 2014, with three years of delay!

The same for the agro pastoral show, which was traditionally held every two years to promote agriculture and its stakeholders: the last show was held in Ebolowa in 2011, 23 years after that of Maroua in 1988; the date of the next event is put off indefinitely!

The same with the council of ministers, which is held at the whim of the formation of a new government, according to the whims and caprices of the prince, every two or three years.

The same goes for the holding of the final of the national football cup whose date, formerly known from the beginning of the season is now unknown, random, to the point where this year the winning team was deprived of enrolling in the continental tournament of the African Cup Winners’ Cup.

Another example is that the Higher Education Council, which must be held every five years to set the course for higher education in our country, has not been held once for more than 30 years.

The same with the once heralded roadmaps of the government that became emergency plans, not to mention program budgets, such slogans with no real impact on the lives of people.

The same is true for the 7-year term which moves from great expectations to great opportunities through great achievements, with the only effect of worsening poverty and precariousness.

For example, the major projects initiated by Mr BIYA’s regime, never completed on the expected deadline, and whose costs, according to a World Bank report, are two to six times higher than similar projects in countries of comparable levels of development; these projects are transformed into a tremendous source of personal enrichment for high-level government clerics and those close to Mr BIYA, in total impunity.

Also, at the international arena, for instance, even as Chairman of the OAU since the Yaounde summit of 1996, Mr BIYA did not dare to fly to Harare to attend the handover ceremony of his successor in July 1997;

It is the same for his systematic absence from the Summits of Heads of State of the African Union, but also often sub-regional organizations! In this case, his absence at the Summit of Heads of State and the CEMAC summit in N’Djamena in 2000 heavily penalized our country as we lost the headquarters of the Central African Stock Exchange, though all the studies, including those of the World Bank group, had shown that Douala was the genuine seat for this strategic financial institution.

This inertia and the ensuing several failures are the direct consequences of Mr BIYA’s indifference to the crucial issues for the future of Cameroon and its international influence. They are also the result of a governance plagued with corruption and impunity whose hardships you are deeply enduring in daily life. Otherwise, how can we understand the monthly salaries of the state-owned and parastatal corporations are circa 20 million Francs CFA, while those companies are financial abysses which live off public subsidies, instead of being development agents and catalysts.

In a normal country when nearly 2000 billion Francs CFA sweat and blood of taxpayers go up in smoke, without compensation in terms of economic, financial and social benefits for the national communities, because of the incompetence and corruption of some leaders, those responsible are dismissed and an investigation is immediately ordered to establish the responsibilities, to determine the causes of the drifts and propose corrective measures. In Cameroon, we find none of this. The so-called master of time is immersed in a deafening silence in the total contempt of those who are no longer his fellow citizens, but his subjects.

My dear compatriots,

The history of our country and the recent events have pushed me to share with you a deep concern. I have the impression that for reasons that are difficult to explain, we have a problem with our capacity for collective indignation, our ability to rise together as citizens of the same nation to say NO to the unacceptable.

When, between the end of the 1950s and the 1960s, the populations of the former Sanaga Maritime, Nkam and the West were massacred for political reasons, the rest of the Cameroonians were silent, not feeling themselves concerned; when after the failed coup attempt of April 1984 a great number of officers, senior officers and a large part of the civilian elite from the northern part of our country was decimated, the rest of the Cameroonians had to say that they had only what they deserved;

When BOKO HARAM began the massacre of our brothers and sisters from the North, people in other parts of the country lived in indifference as if they were not concerned;

While for the last two years the populations of the Anglophone Regions of North West and South West have been massacred, the rest of the Cameroonians do not feel concerned, using the pretext that they are secessionists.

The manipulation of Cameroonians, dividing and opposing them, the stirring up of ethnic hatreds, are the recipes of Mr BIYA’s regime, the perfect student of the colonial school, recipes that work again and again, even after the independence of the country.

We diligently learn to hate each other and to cultivate indifference towards our neighbour, our compatriots, even our brothers and sisters of the same blood. If we persist in this anti-national attitude, the question will be: Whose turn is it next?

This indifference is sometimes justified by the refusal of some to meddle in politics. But this is only a regretful excuse, because here the preparations for a sporting event, the AFCON, revealed the depth of the failure of Cameroonian leadership and systematically bleeding the country by a mafia gang with international ramifications. It is not a question of politics, but of national humiliation and ruin: because it is the most spectacular expression of Cameroon’s regression; because our hospitals have become death homes, our education system is a machine for producing failure and unemployment, our country has become a gigantic sell-off of our resources and public and parastatal enterprises, our so-called cities have become unbearable spaces of chaos and ruin. According to some estimates, it is about 1000 billion CFA francs that are engulfed in this desperate operation, and each of us and our children will have to contribute to the repayment of the enormous debts contracted on this occasion by an irresponsible regime. However, if the national humiliation that is the withdrawal of this AFCON from our country has angered most of our compatriots, it did not provoke any collective indignation. On the contrary, some people struggle to find excuses for a leadership whose guilt is not doubtful, and which, arrogant and contemptuous as usual, has walled in silence instead of drawing all the consequences of its mistakes.

Nobody will come to liberate Cameroon in our place from the yoke of dictatorship, nepotism, compulsive theft, rapine, depravations of all kinds. Look at the history of nations and you will see that it is the people who liberate themselves, whether in Europe, America, Asia or Africa. We must collectively make important sacrifices to liberate our country from a mafia, incompetent, corrupt and venal regime. We owe it to Cameroonian youth and future generations.

This is why, on October 25, 2018, I asked Cameroonians to come into resistance against the illegitimate power of Mr BIYA which many of you sanctioned in the ballot box. Our country has since plunged, in addition to the civil war in the Anglophone areas, into a post-election crisis that even led the diaspora to rise up.

Indeed, despite the savage repression of the illegitimate regime, demonstrations were organized against this electoral Hold-Up in several localities of the country, but also in the diaspora. The human toll of peaceful protests across the country is very heavy.

Several peaceful protesters were tortured, some were severely physically and psychologically affected; they suffered degrading treatment from the security forces, some of whose agents were particularly conspicuous during repressions by their tribal hatred. These zealous agents carried away by the fear of political change are wrong. The change is not against someone or a group, a clan, a tribe, a political party or a category of civil servants or citizens! It is about collective well-being, building national consciousness, restoring harmony among our people and putting them back to work for the benefit of our children and future generations.

I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate, once again, all Cameroonians from within the national borders and the Diaspora, the members of the coalition that supported my candidacy and my comrades from the CRM who stood up peacefully but firmly to say NO TO HOLD-UP; to wish a speedy recovery to those who have been wounded and are recovering, and to reassure those who are still waiting for judgment that we will not abandon them to the injustice of the regime.

I would like to mention here the historical and primordial role of our diaspora in this liberation struggle. This committed diaspora deserves our full respect, as well as our encouragement to carry with even greater determination the national cause of the struggle for freedom, democracy and progress shared on the international scene, so that our populations be not decimated or reduced to misery in an unbearable prison.

The second phase of the National Resistance Plan is underway. It provides for the submission, on the 6th and 22nd of each month, throughout the national territory of the declarations of public demonstrations at the DO’s office with the suject “No to the electoral hold-up” and the organization of a civic day where subjects of national interest are discussed. In the diaspora, this phase of the resistance corresponds to the intensification of public demonstration in the countries of residence to sensitize on the electoral hold-up perpetrated by Mr BIYA and his stooges of the Constitutional Council. I invite all those who are responsible for the deployment of all these operations both at the national level and in the diaspora to redouble their efforts and to ensure that each one fulfils their missions with dedication and patriotism.

From now on, I invite you to actively prepare for the popular success of this great citizen, republican and peaceful mobilization that will begin mid-January all over the national territory. It will be the marches of indignation, protest, and anger, simultaneously:
– Against the war in the North West and South West to say: NO, THIS WAR IS NOT IN OUR NAME;
– Against the assassination of democracy by massive electoral fraud and the theft of the election to say: NO TO ELECTORAL HOLD UP;
– Against corruption, embezzlement and looting with impunity of public money and the resources of the Nation, by a gang of criminals who tried to hide their crimes under the cover of the organization of the 32nd Annual Africa Cup of Nations, to say: NO TO CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC FORTUNE.

I urge you to discipline, not to yield to the provocations of the regime that will not fail, and to clothe yourselves in white (clothes, T-Shirt, scarf, armband, in short, any white distinctive sign) during this popular mobilization that we name the “White March”.

I reach out to all compatriots, including those of the CPDM who can now realize for themselves that those who run the country are insensitive to their suffering and only have one true ambition to plunder the state, to the associations of civil society, the diaspora so that together we pass, finally, a strong and patriotic message to Mr BIYA.

We are dealing with a prebendal regime which, according to the World Bank, in 2017, used 52% of the state budget, a little more than 2000 billion Francs CFA for the operation, spent 35.5 billion Francs CFA just for fuel expenses and 42 billion Francs CFA for fringe benefits; this system multiplies by two or even six the cost of all the infrastructure works undertaken in the country under the direct authority of M. BIYA; according to Radio-Télévision Suisse, he spent the equivalent of 4.5 years of his 36 years of power in Geneva at a cost totalling 65 billion Francs CFA francs, and stubbornly refuses, for several years, the application of the law on the declaration of property and holdings of senior state officials and public enterprises. Faced with such a regime we must resist!

We must resist because it is no longer acceptable that some families, a caste, a clan, a club of friends confiscate the State, plunder it with impunity, continue to compromise the future of our children and future generations for their own selfish comfort while our country has one of the lowest monthly minimum wages in the world (36,270 F.CFA); that, despite legal provisions on free education, thousands of children remain excluded from the school system because of their parents’ abject poverty; that the most basic care is paid for in public hospitals which, in reality, are decaying; and that poverty is upscaling while the index of inequalities is worrying!

Trust your humble servant, the elected and legitimate President of Cameroon, to remain always by your side, to rebuild the Nation, to restore its pride of yesteryear today scoffed at, to build and bring it together in all its cultural and linguistic diversity, together with you. Trust me to make our nation prosperous and just, modern and powerful, refractory to tribalism that weakens us more than it prepares us for the global challenges facing our country. You can count on me to make the National Renaissance together with you.

It is with this commitment that I wish each one, despite all your difficulties that I know, a happy new year 2019.

Long live the peaceful resistance!
Long live Cameroon!

Maurice KAMTO.
Yaounde, December 31, 2018.