Apr 2018

Dear Comrade Delegates to the Convention, dear Guests, my dear Friends!

Allow me first of all to extend a warm welcome to all of you to our Convention which should have been held in November 2017, but which, for reasons related to the general situation of the country, has been postponed. I greet the comrades who came from the 360 municipalities, the 58 divisions and the ten regions of our country, some of whom have made a very long journey to take part in this Convention. It is the proof that they believe in the unity of our people and that they are ready to sacrifice themselves so that our country remains standing, is reconciled with its daughters and sons of all the regions. Your only massive presence in this large room of the Congress Hall testifies to our common desire to build our Nation and live together in peace and harmony. Nothing and no one should make us doubt this desire.

I would also like to acknowledge the exceptional work accomplished by the various commissions set up to prepare the holding of this second ordinary Convention of our party. I count on them to make all the arrangements to ensure the smooth running of this meeting.

Cameroon Renaissance Movement: the “Breath of Hope”

The Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) was born in August 2012, in Yaoundé from the transformation of the Popular Republican Movement (PRM), created on July 25, 2008, and chaired by Alain FOGUE TEDOM.

The CRM is the result of the merger between the PRM and some political parties, and the gathering of civil society actors, disappointed by the general managerial incompetence of the party in power since the mid-1980s and the loss of credibility of the most opposition leaders and political parties.

The CRM was therefore born from the analysis of the paradox of the deep disaffection of Cameroonians towards politics, even though due to the carelessness, the notorious incompetence coupled with the poor governance of the CPDM regime, they dream and demand a power change that leaders and parties of the traditional opposition have not been able to offer since 1992. In this context, the CRM has positioned itself very quickly as the “Breath of Hope” for our people who have been disoriented by the CPDM regime.

Its official launch took place on August 13, 2012, in a large hotel in Yaoundé, in a context of imposed siege and a climate of great tension maintained by the security forces used by the regime to prevent the outbreak of this young political party with clear ideas and ambitions.

Since its creation, our party, keen to restore to our country the noble role played by politics in any civilised and democratic society, is perceived by the government as a real obstacle to the connivance and the political compromises it has established, to corruption, police and judicial blackmail, and secret arrangements made in disregard of the suffering of the Cameroonian people, between them and certain political actors and members of civil society.

In addition, because the CRM has chosen to be impervious to the small financial arrangements that undermine the Cameroonian political scene and have contributed to the weakening or even the destruction of the opposition in our country, an administrative, media and political ostracism has been imposed on the party by the regime. Such an ostracism is incompatible with the democratic posture that the regime claims in both local diplomatic circles and on the international scene.

The first party Convention, officially scheduled for September 29 and 30, 2012, was held in an electric atmosphere orchestrated by the power. Indeed, even though, as a Republican party, legalised by the competent authority, the CRM had taken special care to comply with the regulations governing public meetings and demonstrations, the authorities in place had set in motion the entire engineering of its many spooks to prevent the peaceful organisation of the Convention. Under the operational command of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation of the time, two Divisional officers of Yaoundé in particular will strive to mislead the administration and the police to prevent the launch of our party.

For the record, these two administrative authorities were promoted to rank of Senior Divisional Officers, one in Upper Nkam, Bafang, and the other in Baham in Upper-Plateaux, as a result of their provocations and abusive obstructions during the launch of the CRM.

The participation in the twin elections of 29 and 30 September 2013, which changed the national political landscape

Dodging provocations, various threats of destabilisation and demonization campaigns, seven months after its launch, the CRM is taking part in the twin elections of September 29, 2013, in a dozen constituencies, while the country has 58 divisions and 360 municipalities. In spite of the wild and barbaric frauds, the CRM fought so hard to obtain a position of Member of Parliament in the constituency of Wouri East, won by the Honourable Mr Lazare SOUB (whom I ask you to applaud!), nineteen municipal councillors’ seats in the subdivisions of Bafoussam 1st, Douala 1st, Douala 3rd, Douala 4th and Douala 5th. At the end of these twin elections, our party ranked fourth political party of the country in terms of number of voters. As an illustration of the sympathy our fellow compatriots feel for our party, in the Mfoundi, headquarters of state institutions, the CRM collected nearly 100 thousand votes out of about 350 thousand in the city of Yaoundé! In other localities like Monatélé, Deuk, Yokadouma etc., confounding all forecasts made by the pseudo analysts who awkwardly wanted to force the CRM to put on a tribal and elitist straightjacket, our party received a more than encouraging electoral welcome, and instantly affirmed its national dimension.

The general mobilisation in favour of the CRM, which had been taunted and mocked in the cosy lounges and in many newspapers, on the radio airwaves and on television shows, surprised our political opponents and their relays in the public space, but not our brave militants and sympathisers. Thus, in a country transformed by the inconsistent management of Mr Paul BIYA, backed by the CPDM and its allies of the government, into a real field of social and economic ruins, the CRM appeared to the eyes of the Cameroonians, at the end of these twin elections during which it tested its political offer, like the “Breath of Hope” of the Cameroonian political scene.

Of course, the electoral welcome and sympathy garnered by our party strengthened our ambitions to govern Cameroon. Whereas before these elections the regime feared our determination to govern, it now had proof that this determination met with national popular support.

In the twin elections of September 30, 2013, the CRM, which proposed candidates in a small number of constituencies, had no intention of defeating the CPDM, which had candidates in all constituencies of the country. Like any serious political party, our party nonetheless made an analysis and evaluation of its participation, the conduct of elections and the application of the Electoral Code by ELECAM. At the end of this comprehensive analysis and evaluation, a general report on these elections, with false reports and other documents attesting massive fraud and other irregularities found, was drawn up. This report notably denounced ELECAM’s serious shortcomings, the outrageous partiality of some of its staff, the votes in places not open to the public, such as the barracks, the police, the polling stations in private homes, the organised absence of CRM ballots in some polling stations, the intimidation of the CRM tellers by the administrative authorities, the elements of the police or even the army, the purchase of votes, etc. Our party cautioned the regime and the international lobbies that support it against the will and interest of Cameroonians, on the time bomb that repeated electoral fraud represented for the security of the country. Frauds so often tolerated by the international community, under the very diplomatic pretext of preserving the stability of Cameroon and Central Africa.

Following the ballot, I then gave a press conference at the party headquarters during which the conclusion of this report was made public with a firm caution to the power that the CRM, its militants and sympathizers, and more generally Cameroonians with or without partisan affiliation, will no longer tolerate the regime’s wild frauds which distort their will expressed peacefully at the ballot box.

This report was then transmitted, by a means which leaves a written record, to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, the Minister of Justice, the General Delegate for National Security (GDNS), the Electoral Council and the General Management of ELECAM, institutional observers and diplomatic missions present in Yaoundé. Then, in order to reaffirm its republican character, the CRM submitted to the National Assembly a proposal to reform the Electoral Code. This was followed by a national awareness campaign for a consensual reform of the Code, as well as of ELECAM. As an answer, the authorities thought they should intimidate me, and through me the militants and sympathisers that you are, but also the Cameroonians. I was cavalierly summoned by the General Delegate for the National Security to be told that by expressing the refusal of our militants and Cameroonians in general to see their vote stolen by the CPDM regime, I was calling for an uprising and that it posed a threat to the State security. Of course, I vehemently refuted this shortcut and reiterated that during the upcoming municipal, legislative and presidential elections, we, the people of Cameroon, tired by the cheating of the CPDM power, will fight peacefully, but resolutely and relentlessly, including against the security forces if they support as usual arranged results in favour of Mr BIYA and his party, so that the election results that will be pronounced reflect, for once since 1992, the voting of the electorate. In order for him and the regime to grasp our determination, which is not incompatible with our political fair play, I told him that you, CRM militants and sympathisers, were ready to congratulate and wish good luck with my modest voice, the day after next presidential election, to Mr Paul BIYA or any other candidate of the CPDM or not, provided that he or she is elected in the transparency, honesty and respect of democratic rules.

After the twin elections in 2013, very informative about our electoral system and the practices of certain administrative, police, military and judicial authorities, our party immediately resumed the work of national implantation. It also launched awareness among Cameroonians for the registration on electoral lists, raising awareness of national and international opinion on the need for consensual reform of the Electoral Code, including ELECAM. It also worked on a review of our statutes.

The national implantation of the party

Regarding the party implantation project, allow me to extend to you my warm congratulations. Congratulations! for the amount of work done, as evidenced by the diversity of our origins in this room today.

Dear militants and Delegates from Kousseri, Tokombéré, Koza, Moulvouday, Maroua, Grand Karay, Mayo Oulo, Guider, pitoa, Garoua, Mayo Rey, N’gaoundéré, Garoua Boulaye, Yokadouma, Bertoua, Abong Bang, Awae, Esse, Soa, Monatélé, Saa, Evodoula, Eséka, Obala, Deuk, Bafia, Makenene , Bangangté, Bafoussam, Foumban,  Dschang, Penka Michel, Mbouda, Bafang, Baham, Ebolowa, Mvengue, Fifinda, Djoum, Meyomessala, Nkolandom, Mefak, Ambam, Kyé-Ossi, Lolodorf, Sangmelima, Buea, Tiko, Koumba, Muyuka, Bamenda, Fonfuka, Santa, Wum, Nkongsamba, Edea, Nkondjock, Yabassi, from Douala etc. and the diaspora, we are Cameroon! a single and united Nation with its enriching diversity!

It is also an opportunity to congratulate especially the leaders of the basic structures of the party. As I have always said, the CRM is its base, its Militants and sympathisers committed as missionaries of the good word. Our strength comes from you, you who are real heroes of the day, a small army of ants that ensure the effective implantation and development of our party, sometimes paying the high price and always courageously resisting intimidation, even public death threats from some CPDM elite in the country’s regions, towns and villages. Within a few years you have succeeded, thanks to hard work, a gamble that was daring and initially untenable: you have achieved the prodigious gamble of giving our party a truly national base, despite many and diverse taunts, jokes and provocations. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To the National Directorate members whose support has never failed me during stormy times, I would like to express my gratitude for the multiform support provided to comrades in the field of implementation.

The diaspora, for its part, has shown, through its financial and material contributions to certain municipal federations, that our party was not mistaken when it was created, considering that it is one of its main pillars, as well as that of the development of our country that the CRM is fighting to achieve in the coming years.

How to evoke the extraordinary work of setting up our party without having a strong thought for the family and children of our late comrade, Thomas YEMAFOU, called Père THOM, who died in a traffic accident while he and four of his comrades had been obliged to hastily take the road to Bertoua. In its strategy of containment and obstruction of the national implantation of our party, the power, through the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation had mobilised all kinds of administrative subterfuges and legal quibbles to prevent, in Bertoua, the holding of a meeting, however regularly declared, and within the time required by law. After filing a complaint at the administrative court of Bertoua, avoiding pronouncing a judgment that may contradict the wish of the power before the planned date of the meeting, the president of the court had embarked on an ingenious judicial manoeuvre of asking after each proof proving the identity of the applicant, another establishing the authenticity of the evidence produced. It was in this cynical game, revealing the incapacity of certain officials, to serve the Republic and not the individuals, that Père THOM who went urgently to Bertoua with his comrades to produce a legally useless document for a good decision of justice, died in a car accident in Ayos. While he was in a desperate state in his hospital bed and we were at his side, he asked us, in front of all his family gathered, to return to fight not only to hold the meeting of Bertoua, but to deliver our people of the dictatorship that has held them hostage for more than thirty years. This message still rings in our heads today. In memory of the sacrifice of Père THOM, dear comrades, we must fight with all our strength so that finally comes the power changeover at the most senior level. We want and we work so that this power changeover is peaceful and democratic. Those who work in the opposite direction will take sole responsibility for any disorder or serious crisis in the country.

To conclude with the implantation of our party, let me remind you that we are only a few months away from the expected elections, even though, unlike the practices of democratic societies, only the President of the Republic knows the specific dates of these elections. Therefore, as soon as you get out of vehicles that will take you back to your regions, divisions, municipalities, villages and neighbourhoods, you must throw your last strength into the battle for the implantation of our party. Do not forget: the government has multiplied polling stations in the hope that we will not have enough militants and tellers and financial means to cover all of them. It will have to realise through our presence everywhere, in the most remote corners that they have made a bad calculation. The country today has about 25,000 polling stations, and maybe there will be more. To hope to win the elections, we must place at least 50,000 tellers in these 25,000 polling stations.

These 50,000 tellers trained to Vote, Monitor and Defend the vote, if necessary, it is you who must identify them during the implantation work of the party. They must have a high political awareness and strong convictions, the determination to no longer suffer the plight of the Cameroonian CPDM regime and their allies, only interested in their selfish interests. Our tellers will have to show their commitment to refuse that those who govern the country transform them into beggars who have scornfully thrown some pieces of fish and a few grams of rice, sometimes without sauce, a few bottles of beer or adulterated red wine; they will have to assert their unwavering determination to finally take their destiny in hand, by their commitment to be soldiers of the respect of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.

Dear Convention Delegates, my dear friends, we have no time to waste! Your mission is titanic, but you have already proven that you can move the mountains when it comes to the interest of our dear and beautiful country.

Awareness campaign for voter registration started as soon as the party was created in 2012

Regarding our campaign to register on the electoral lists, it began before the twin elections of September 30, 2013, and was interrupted by the said elections. It resumed immediately after the elections and spread throughout the country with difficulties at times, due to the obsolescence or shortage of ELECAM equipment, the poor working conditions of its teams that the remarkable availability makes us sometimes forget. To the comrades who have been involved in this vital work for the victory of tomorrow, I would like to say thank you and encourage all the comrades to invest themselves within the remaining time before the convocation of the electorate. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the fact that our voter registration campaigns have inspired some politicians.

Consensual reform of the Electoral Code and the reform of ELECAM

On the consensual reform of the Electoral Code, including ELECAM, our party is keen to prevent the fraud of the CPDM regime from plunging the country into a serious post-election crisis with disastrous consequences. Our country is already undermined by a deep social malaise, the despair of the youth in the grip of idleness and chronic unemployment, assaulted daily by the arrogant opulence of the few individuals who live an extravagant life because they are in power. This disillusioned youth ended up being won over by the terrible and deeply regrettable feeling of the futility of politics and voting.

Regarding the consensual amendment campaign of the Electoral Code, although we have tabled, four years ago, through our MP, a bill in the National Assembly, in clear violation of its rules of procedure, the Assembly has never examined it even at the very first stage of the legislative procedure, which is that of the Conference of Committee Chairs. More seriously, some of our comrades were molested and tortured simply because they were trying to peacefully sensitise politicians on this matter, which is a matter for Parliament and is of national interest, and therefore non-partisan. The CRM has written to the political parties so that joint action can be taken to make the government understand the urgency of this consensual reform of the Electoral Code, including the composition of ELECAM. But oddly, these parties did not even find it useful to acknowledge receipt, even by simple republican courtesy, of our correspondence, some of them preferring to go from television show to television show to claim that the CRM does not want to join them.

On the non-participation in the senatorial election of March 2018

Some have wondered, including in our party, why the CRM did not take part in the senatorial elections. It is true that following the constitutional manipulation of 2008 which led to the senatorial elections of March 2013, new senatorial elections were to be held in March of this year. However, it was necessary to correct the original vice that tainted the birth of the Senate in our country by making it a House that represents the Municipalities and not the Regions as provided by the Constitution. Moreover, in the context of a civil war in which the North-West and South-West regions are plunged due to the toughening of the regime, and especially the breach of trust between the populations and the political elite in these regions, it was urgent to create conditions for the legitimacy of future senators. Instead of indulging in his favourite game of political manipulation of the Constitution and republican institutions, this regime should have, had he had the slightest democratic sense and legitimacy of the elective institutions it captured, anticipated the municipal and legislative elections for a few months, and organise the regional elections, before organising the senatorial elections; all the more so since in his end of the year 2017 message, the President of the Republic asserted he finally wanted to accelerate decentralisation, so that the senatorial elections be held with a politically complete electorate and that finally the Senate effectively represents the regions.

The electoral body for the senatorial elections being reduced to municipal councillors from the poll of September 30, 2013, which saw the CPDM be proclaimed winner in nearly 300 municipalities out of 360, the CRM, which in this election where it was able to present lists only in a small number of constituencies due to its young age, was awarded only nineteen councillors – even if it won much more – could not reasonably participate in senatorial elections of March 2018, lost in advance.

The CRM is a serious party which, from its launch, decided to stay away from the politics of the little usual arrangements that have done so much harm to Cameroonians since the day after the first truly competitive elections of 1992. At the CRM, elections are not perceived as a game in which parties can embark on the sole purpose of collecting public funding or begging for political charity in the CPDM! The political parties with no municipal councillors or with only two or three councillors in an entire region will be the only ones to know why they went to these senatorial elections last March. It is astonishing that the lead political analysts, incisive against the CRM, did not call them to explain the new mathematical logic that would allow a party with zero voter can win an election where the victory requires a majority of more than 500 votes! It is possible to think that, in addition to the quest for public funding, some parties participated in this vote largely lost in advance, even without fraud, to make a reservation for the thirty seats that the President of the Republic will distribute according to his mood, or may be services provided to keep him in power.

The general state of the country

Dear conventioneers, my dear friends,

The general situation of the country has never been so worrying as during the last seven years.

Security: when President BIYA sold the illusion of peace to Cameroonians

In terms of security, President Paul BIYA inherited from his predecessor Ahmadou AHIDJO, in November 1982, a peaceful, stable and prosperous country, in which, after years of bloody nationalist struggles, attention had henceforth turned towards a global development inducing the raising of the standard of living of the populations. In thirty-five years of power, Mr BIYA, the CPDM and its regime have, by their irresponsible and inconsistent management, deconstructed all the achievements of yesterday, including national unity and living together. They turned the country into a hotbed of chronic insecurity, tribalism and ethnic hatred. They spent more than three decades selling Cameroonians peace, which they were not the builders. They have nothing left to offer now that they have plunged the country into civil war, having decided to wage a war against Boko Haram that was not that of Cameroon. It is now clear to every Cameroonian citizen that it is not this president and his regime that can preserve the unity of the country and national harmony. As with most of his statements, including “rigour and moralisation”, President BIYA spoke of “national integration” without faith. The country is more than ever divided and the defence of its territorial integrity even experienced in recent years the solicitation of the armed forces of a neighbouring country. We could not lower a Nation that was the lighthouse of Central Africa and is now condemned to look with nostalgia for its past glory. Those responsible for this national drama exist and the Cameroonian people must not forget it, nor accept that they take refuge behind the unacceptable formula: “We are all responsible”.

The fight against Boko Haram 

CRM militants and supporters will forever be grateful for the sacrifices made by our brave defence forces and courageous Far North populations to keep the Republic up against the terrorists of the Boko Haram sect. These sacrifices and sufferings (of our soldiers and our populations) are, it must be remembered, the dramatic consequence of the serious political fault of the power which, for thirty-five years, has chosen to abandon at the mercy of various predators, entire parts of the national territory and the populations living there. Busy with protecting himself against the people, Mr BIYA’s regime has forgotten that the country has borders that must be protected.

Preferring political corruption to the far-sighted and responsible management of the northern part of the country, he has bet everything on an elite under him. This CPDM elite, which specialises in the production of election results unrelated to the local political reality, uses and abuses various forms of terror to subdue the populations of these areas of the country. With his support, President BIYA has patiently and cynically built the breeding ground for insecurity that Boko Haram terrorists have only exploited.

To the brave people of the northern part of the country, where the drought ruins the efforts of our courageous populations and where the famine threatens nearly three million of our compatriots, particularly those stricken from the Far North; to the soldiers who, at the cost of their lives, have hitherto preserved the integrity of the national territory in the face of these barbarians of modern times, the CRM and I express our eternal gratitude, our solidarity and our renewed encouragement!

The Civil War Wanted by the Regime in Anglophone Regions

While the country had not yet definitively disabled the Boko Haram terrorists in the Far North, the Anglophone question, which the CRM endorsed in its Vision for Cameroon since its creation in 2012, is noisily imposed on national public life from October-November 2016.

The denial of the Government followed by its arrogance, the excessive use of force, judicial terror and punitive mass military operations with the result of massacres of unarmed populations, have succeeded in transforming the legitimate social and political demands of the North-West and South-West population, in revolt against the regime and finally in civil war.

I reiterate my condemnation and that of the CRM, without reservation, of any project of secession of Cameroon. Likewise, I condemn violence in all its forms: whether it is the violence of the defence and security forces against unarmed populations – even if they express political demands – or the violence of members of secessionist groups who target either the soldiers carrying out their missions as security guarantors and the integrity of the national territory, or the populations and leaders who reject extremism.

In the CRM, however, we cannot help but think that a political agenda is hidden behind the civil war that President BIYA finally succeeded in imposing on the Cameroonian people, despite the benevolent and patriotic advice we gave them publicly, but also informally, those of many other national political actors, friendly countries of Cameroon and various international organisations, including the UNO. In fact, any attentive observer is at least troubled by the essentially warlike attitude of the President of the Republic and his Government, in a purely political matter which, moreover, is in fact only the consequence of his obstinate and irresponsible refusal to implement the regionalisation enshrined in the Constitution of January 18, 1996.

At a time when the national army is already engaged on the Far North front with a gruelling human, economic and financial cost for the country, where six of the ten regions of the country are fiscally damaged, where Cameroon has returned to IMF and that a long election year with important financial commitments opens in 2018, one wonders why the President of the Republic can tilt the country into the civil war if not because he chose the policy of chaos to maintain power, or because he no longer has the lucidity needed to govern the country. The result is or will be the same in both cases: a disaster for Cameroon.

No matter what the near future will tell us about the illogical will of the regime to maintain the civil war in the two English-speaking regions of our country, the CRM reiterates, once more, its categorical rejection of the slippage of the electoral calendar for whatever reason. A desired war, provoked and maintained by a regime that fears to defend the record of thirty-five years of undivided rule and errors in the face of a people now prepared to free themselves from dictatorship, can in no way be invoked to justify a full or partial postponement of the elections scheduled for 2018.

That said, despite the many lives of soldiers and civilians unnecessarily sacrificed and the atrocious suffering imposed on the peaceful populations of the North-West and South-West by excessive militarisation, administrative terror measures and the appointment of two Anglophone personalities responsible for the outbreak of the crisis as ministers despite all political common sense, it is still possible to save the peace. For that, as we have relentlessly proposed to the Government, it is imperative and urgent to send a delegation of peace in the English-speaking area to wipe the tears of the bruised populations to create the conditions of de-escalation of violence and to organise a sincere national dialogue to thoroughly resolve the anglophone question. At the same time, we must look at the political, institutional and electoral reforms, made unavoidable by the general state of the country and the risk of widespread crisis that the upcoming elections could bring along as a result of an Electoral Code favouring massive fraud and the hold-up of the results.

I made detailed proposals for the organisation of the dialogue requested by all to resolve the Anglophone crisis with chances of success in my message of the end of the year 2017. There is no more time to waste, because we must put an end to the sufferings of the populations caught between the fire of the army and that of the secessionists, obliged to hide themselves like wild beasts in the forests; we must bring our fellow compatriots who took refuge in camps in Nigeria to flee the killings and the ravages back to their villages and their property. By choosing a warlike stance and indiscriminate judicial repression resulting in the arrest and imprisonment of moderate leaders such as Lord Justice AYAH Paul ABIDINE, Barrister NKONGHO Felix AGBOR BALA, university professor Dr FONTEM, now released, radio host Mancho BIBIXI and many others still in detention, the Government is marginalising some moderate leaders and pushing others into radical secessionists.

I also want to send a message to those Cameroonians who have been forced to take up arms against their Nation. They must understand that the chosen path will never bring the desired political result because no one can divide our people for any reason whatsoever. I urge them to lay down their arms and return to the logic of the negotiations for an in-depth resolution of the political problems they have posed since the beginning of the crisis.

As I have said since the beginning of the crisis, and before it is transformed into a civil war by the power, because of the perception and the formulation of the English-speaking political problem by the CRM since its creation but also, because of my own sensitivity to this delicate issue, I am ready to invest myself, alongside other Cameroonians of good faith, to find an acceptable and definitive political solution to the current situation.

I will seize this opportunity to salute the courage of the Jakiri MP, Honourable Joseph WIRBA, who, in his role as representative of the Nation, took the political debate on the Anglophone crisis to the National Assembly on November 22, 2017, but has unfortunately been treated as a plague by both the National Assembly and the leaders of his own political party. I am convinced that, if at one point he suggested that he understood the secessionists, it was more to express his displeasure with the autism of the Government that he had tried in vain to sensitise on the depth of the malaise of our populations in English-speaking regions. Indeed, if he did not believe in the Republic, he would not have brought the debate to the National Assembly. The corrupting power of the CPDM has manoeuvred to paint him as an enemy of the Republic. It seems to me that this MP, close to the populations he represents, should be fully involved in the search for a lasting solution to the Anglophone crisis.

I must also greet here the commitment of Honourable Jean Michel NINTCHEU, Member of Parliament for Wouri-East who, on Saturday March 4, 2017, also courageously tried to spark debate on the Anglophone crisis, a civic march projected into the city of Douala, but was kept by the police at his home.

The unacceptable murder-drowning of Bishop Jean-Marie Benoît BALA and the president’s indifference to Eséka’s drama

People who fear neither God nor man have plunged our country into the depths of the drama with the murder-drowning of Bishop Jean-Marie Benoît BALA of the Bafia Diocese.

In my message to the Nation last December, I already mentioned this heinous crime committed against a man of God who shocks our conscience as a citizen but especially, the lack of will of the State to find the authors and sponsors is revolting.

Cameroonians, believers, non-believers, Muslims, Protestants and others, we must hold the Government accountable in this case where, once again, the Republic is being genuinely challenged. The power owes us explanations on this assassination-drowning!

The Government also owes us explanations on the Eséka tragedy, which occurred on October 21, 2016, in which entire families still have no news of their loved ones, dead or missing because of the compromises and corruption of those in charge of State management.

In these two cases, as in many others, the indifference of President BIYA and his government is no longer acceptable!

A country in economic and social ruin

On the economic and social level, the country’s situation is, it must be said, disastrous.

Between the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the Government has placed our country under the control of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) again. Despite various denials, if the Cameroonian economy is not yet technically into recession, the State is threatened with bankruptcy. This is a return to square one: we remember that only five years after the accession to power of President BIYA, he turned to the IMF when he had just inherited a prosperous, financially healthy and abundant country. Cameroonians have made more than 20 years of sacrifice to get out of structural adjustment. But just out of a tunnel whose end had been announced for several years, the Government has fallen into the mismanagement, a massive debt to fund projects poorly studied, overcharged and of dubious efficiency. Added to this are economic policy mistakes. And the same president BIYA has placed Cameroon under the financial supervision of the IMF for a second time. The loop is closed. Such a failure in the management of the economy is rare under the same President of the Republic.

The conclusion of an objective analysis of the economic policy and conduct of this regime is now a shared fact: the slogan “Emergence in 2035” is already dead, because from the beginning, such a goal was out of reach for this Government, which has never attained, even once in seven years, the growth rate that it has set for itself in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) which is supposed to lead us to this paradise. In fact, with a growth rate of around 4% in 2017, lower than that of 2016, in a downward trend, the Cameroonian economy is stalling, while poverty and precariousness are intensifying and spreading. The smokescreen of the famous “structuring projects”, vainly baptised the “Greater achievements”, stopped creating illusion. Initiated after three decades without investments on the part of the New Deal regime in the relevant sectors, they are a collection of failures.

By way of illustration, the Mekin dam, which was poorly designed, is still not functional and one wonders why it is a structuring project; the Memve’ele dam, built without connection to the consumption poles, is lost in the middle of nowhere and will in any case produce an out of price energy; the deep-water port of Kribi, a white elephant estimated at some 800 billion CFA is still not operational for the so-called “completed” part, and will be oversized when it is completely finished as it has been planned to process 100 million tonnes while some of the biggest African ports like Tangier-Med in Morocco and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire process 45 million and 25 million tonnes respectively; the construction Nsimalen-Yaoundé highway, on a distance of barely 15 km, is not going well; the Yaoundé-Douala highway, on its part, is abandoned: not only the first long-announced 60 km are not completed, but they begin and end in the middle of nowhere in the heart of the forest. Much worse, its construction beats the price record, because it costs 7 billion per km while a km should not cost more than 2 billion.

At the same time, on the social level, despite the government propaganda, the main indicators of the standard of living of Cameroonians show a strong overall decline. In our markets…

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INS), the current regime has produced about 2,500,000 more poor since 1987. The total number of poor reaches 8.1 million people, the most affected region of the country being the Far North where poverty reaches 74% of the population. Life expectancy is declining and is estimated at 56 years. Underemployment reaches 70% of the working-age population. The informal sector, with low productivity, employs nearly 90% of workers. In the field of health, our country records about 600 deaths per 100,000 births, while the less affluent countries are doing much better: including 550 for Niger, 345 for Burkina Faso, 45 for Cape Verde. Only 3 out of 5 births in our country are attended by qualified staff, whereas this figure is at least 4 out of 5 in most countries of the world. 2 in 100 Cameroonians have health insurance. The number of people with access to consumable water is insignificant: the total number of subscribers to drinking water was 500,000 in 2016, while it is over 700,000 in a country like Senegal that has 1/3 fewer people than Cameroon. As for housing, the deficit is abysmal. It is estimated at 1,500,000 units, while the Cameroon Housing Company (CHC) has produced only 14,000 houses in 65 years, an average of only 215 houses per year.

The President of the Republic has decided to have fun while nourishing the ambition to afford an African Cup of Nations (ACN) in 2019. Until the Cameroonians decide in the polls in a few months on who of him or the candidate who will be presented by the CRM in the presidential election will preside over the final of this competition, we cannot resist the temptation to give in to anger. Indeed, how can a responsible government, which manages a country in which there are cement and iron production units and where the sand is abundant and a particularly high number of young people looking for jobs, can decide to produce concrete blocks in Italy and then imports them into Cameroon by dozens of boats and forward them from the Douala port to the building sites on lorries escorted by security forces in in heavy weapons and helmets? This government is unpatriotic! It does not like the youth! It has no economic patriotism! It just does not love Cameroon! Yet, it is the youth of today who will repay the fanciful and irrelevant loans that will have been used to give jobs to foreign workers who sell us what our companies can produce here at home. A prestressed concrete production base was built around Yaoundé. It does not seem to serve any purpose. Waste on waste!

Faced with this gloomy socio-economic situation, the compulsive debt of the power is not the solution. The ills of the Cameroonian economy are the lack of vision and the structural crisis of public governance. The main cause of this crisis is the President of the Republic, Paul BIYA, who refuses to effectively prevent and repress corruption and prefers to exploit this scourge for political ends. He thinks, unsuccessfully, to drown his personal responsibility in the development of this socioeconomic cancer stopping many of his colleagues, but on the basis of political scheming.

Who is the one who, instead of asking the competent services of the State to carry out the necessary investigations, asked in 1986 the evidence from Cameroonians, while a known journalist relayed to him live, the national television CRTV set, the public’s concern about the extent of the embezzlement public money in the country? It’s President Paul BIYA!

Who is the one who, despite the adoption of the implementation law of Article 66 of the Constitution on the declaration of assets and property, which is however not the most effective of the possible solutions against the embezzlement of public funds and related offenses, stubbornly refuses to enforce the law? It’s still President Paul BIYA!

Who is the one who set things up in such a way that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Conac) and the National Financial Investigation Agency (Anif) should not be able to directly seize the court? It’s still President Paul BIYA!

Who is the one who violates the principle of the separation of powers to drive the rhythm of the famous “Opération Épervier”, to the point of developing in the public opinion that it is ultimately a political instrument? It’s still President Paul BIYA!

Dear Conventioneers, dear Guests,

As a republican political party that has resolutely chosen the option of peaceful change through the ballot, the CRM cannot in any case approve the use of force and weapons for the conquest of power. As well, it cannot resign itself to a regime that retains power through political terror.

However, several decades after the observations from the 1984 coup leaders on the very nature of the so-called New Deal regime, it cannot be denied that President Paul BIYA and his party, the CPDM, have methodically worked to validate the analysis of the coup leaders. Indeed, the regime settled, as said the authors of the failed coup attempt, in the “tyranny”, the “swindle”, and “incalculable greed”; the power has allowed a “criminal policy […] against the national unity of our beloved country” to flourish. Thirty-four years after this unfortunate episode in the political history of our country, we can reiterate this report of the coup leaders about the country’s lacklustre situation: “Its unity endangered, the internal peace troubled, its economic prosperity compromised, the national reputation tarnished. (…). The Constitution [is] tossed around the considerations of politicking. The government and its agents propelled at the head of the State machinery, act with the sole motto not to serve the Nation, but to serve themselves. Yes, everything happens as if you had to fill your pockets as quickly as possible, before it is too late.”

Indeed, in the face of the moral disintegration of our country, the catastrophic governance of the CPDM regime, the contempt of this regime for laws, the institutionalisation of the most primitive tribalism, the security situation of the two Anglophone regions and the northern part of the country, a consequence of the political indifference of the President of the Republic, what Cameroonian or objective observer can fail to recognise the relevance of the coup leaders’ diagnosis of the first steps of President BIYA’s regime, although, I repeat, we radically disapprove of their bloody method of attempting to conquer power?

Faced with these resounding multisector failures, which expose the incompetence of this regime and resonate in our everyday lives whatever our tribe, our social class and our religion, Cameroonians must stand up! They must stand up because the country has been held hostage for 35 years, with political corruption, police terror, administrative blackmail on civil servants and tax blackmail on private sector business leaders! Cameroonians have to stand up by going to massively register on ELECAM electoral lists, voting polling days, monitoring their votes and defending, if necessary, their results, by peaceful means, but in ways with determined, bitter, if the regime imposes them by its usual frauds! At the CRM, we call this the RVMD method of republican conquest of power: Register on the electoral lists, Vote, Monitor, Defend the results if necessary.

The elections with which we will change Cameroon

The municipal, legislative and presidential elections are announced, although, as I deplored earlier, only the president of the CPDM, that is to say our political opponent, knows for the moment on what dates they will be held. However, I know you are ready, even if you still have details to refine. By my voice, the CRM announces to the Cameroonians that you have decided that for the first time since the return of pluralism in our country, in all the constituencies, as well for the municipal elections as for the legislative one, it will invest candidates against those of the CPDM. The CPDM will never again go to parliamentary elections in this country with, for example, forty seats of MPs won in advance simply because it has had no opponents in certain constituencies.

To Cameroonians around you, and even to fellow compatriots who are militants of the party in power, many of whom are frustrated every time the election season comes and some of them are sincere democrats, you must explain that we have no prejudice on their patriotism nor on their willingness to truly serve their country. You must tell them that they can still board the high-speed train en route to Etoudi by joining you now. They will be welcomed by sincere republican patriots who are determined to restore the image of our country.

To those compatriots from the CPDM and other political parties, to those who have never even belonged to a political party, I would like to say, indeed, that the CRM is an open republican party, which has an inclusive conception of State power; I would like to urge them to go beyond the stereotypes and false accusations cleverly set up by an occult cabinet against our party to take the hand that is here for them, so that together we can build another future for our children. I urge you to make room for them in your ranks and on your electoral lists. They are our compatriots, our brothers and sisters! We do not like Cameroon more than them! We love it differently and can share with them our values and our vision for our country. We need all Cameroonians, each other’s experiences, and even lessons learned from failures, to put our country back on its feet.

Review and amendment of our statutes

Dear Delegates to the Convention,

Every democratic political party must re-evaluate its texts to the test of their implementation. At the first Convention of our party, statutes and bylaws were adopted. In practice, it appeared that certain provisions of these texts were difficult or impossible to apply. Also, the National Directorate of the party has made the resolution to review and tidy them up. All the militants, and even the sympathisers were invited to read and propose changes to both texts. This important project was laborious as we were all overwhelmed by the fieldwork and daily emergencies, but it was finally completed.

During the present Convention, you will therefore be presented with a reviewed draft of the Statutes and Bylaws for adoption. I invite you to take it very seriously and especially to actively participate in the debates preceding their adoption.

The 2018 presidential election and the candidacy for the CRM nomination

Dear Comrades, my dear friends,

According to our statutes, the national President of our party is the candidate by right in the presidential election. Nevertheless, it is more than two years since I submitted, as the National President of the party, a resolution, finally adopted, putting my candidacy in competition.

For me, it was natural that if a woman or a man is to compete for our party in the presidential election, this person should have the political support of the militants beyond the statutory provisions. It seemed to me that the organisation of internal party primaries could provide our candidate in this supreme and decisive election for the future of our country with the internal legitimacy and confidence necessary to bear such a heavy responsibility.

In other words, it’s almost three years since the bid for the candidacy to be the CRM candidate for the next presidential election has been open in our party. This Convention must be closed with the name of the candidate who will wear our jersey to execute the penalty that the Cameroonian people have been waiting for so long against the CPDM.

I have the honour, as far as I am concerned, to announce my candidacy for the party’s nomination. I wish to be your candidate for the next presidential election to defend with you our vision, the values we have been courageously promoting for the past five years, and a modern, innovative, precise and realistic society project.

For five years I took on the heavy responsibilities you intrusted to me at the first Convention. I worked with your support to impose our party in the Cameroonian political scene, among more than three hundred other political parties. I led our party to the twin elections of 29 and 30 September 2013, even though it was only a few months old, with the unprecedented results that you know, and which allow not only to be represented at the National Assembly and municipal councils, but as I said, to rank fourth in the country in terms of votes, far, far ahead of many parties in operation for decades.

In spite of differences of opinion that always exist in a family, with the National Directorate, I have sought the understanding between comrades and my decisions have always been guided by the best interests of our party and only by it. It was not easy, but our party managed to stay the course.

On the basis of these elements, and on my commitment to work towards greater representation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the various decision-making bodies of the party, I humbly submit my candidacy to the Convention.

In advance, I would like to reassure my potential competitors and comrades about my total willingness to bow before the freely expressed wishes of the Conventioneers-electors and above all my commitment to loyally serving any other comrade who would be elected by this Convention because our party must face the upcoming poll with a strong sign of unity.

Dear Delegates to the Convention, my dear Friends, allow me to wish you good and fruitful work during this important assembly, which is the supreme body of our party. I hope that the CRM remain united, tolerant amongst its members and vis-à-vis the others, and that it reigns an ardent patriotism and a democratic spirit to bring about the national Renaissance.

Long live the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, the Breath of Hope!

Long live Cameroon!

Yaounde, April 14th, 2018.