Dec 2012

My dear compatriots from Cameroon and abroad,

On September 29th of last year, a new political dynamic was set in motion in our country; a new hope was born: the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) has started, in the particularly difficult conditions that you know. It is in the name of this movement that I have the honor and the pleasant duty to address you as we prepare to enter a new year.

The year 2012, which is coming to an end, highlighted the malaise and difficulties facing our country as well as the extent of the suffering of our people. National cohesion is increasingly undermined by political intolerance and indifference to the plight of certain parts of the national community. Open tribalism remains a formidable challenge to our living together.

In 2011, it was argued that the coincidence of the presidential election and the date of the fiftieth anniversary of the Reunification, on October 1st, 1961, had prevented the solemn celebration of this historic event. October 1st, 2012 has passed; now 2012 is ending, and the symbolic moment of fraternal reunion between the former Eastern Cameroon and the former Western Cameroon has not been commemorated. Our national history remains mutilated. It is these inconsistencies that fuel the frustrations of our compatriots from the English-speaking part of the country. They are the ones that undermine the unity of our nation.

Widespread insecurity no longer only affects large cities; it also strikes our villages hard, paralyzing the most courageous, discouraging national investors, and is likely to deter foreign investors.

The country’s economic performance remains mediocre and is, in any case, below the continental and sub-regional average. According to the International Monetary Fund Bulletin of October 12th, 2012, the estimated economic growth rates in 2012 are 5°/° for Sub-Saharan Africa and 6.12°/° for Central Africa, compared to only 4.4°/° for Cameroon.

We were told that as of January 2012, Cameroon would be transformed into “a vast construction site.” It was not an April Fool’s joke…

Some important projects in port and hydroelectric infrastructure have undoubtedly started and could help, upon completion, to mitigate or even resolve in the years to come the chronic energy deficit suffered by the entire country. However, the government’s policy for the realization of these large projects shows that, at the end of their execution, Cameroon will have benefited from no transfer of know-how in this field. This is particularly worrying for the technological and industrial future of the country. After the construction of three hydroelectric dams in Cameroon, Cameroonian engineers or national companies should be able to build the fourth. The timid realization of these projects reveals the serious governance problems that characterize public management in our country. This situation does not credit our political and social system. Worse, it is likely to compromise the quality of the structures and infrastructures for which our compatriots make significant sacrifices.

Current public policies are unacceptable in a country where citizens are urged to practice “economic patriotism”, where we claim to be attentive to the training and professional mastery of youth. The prospect of awarding the third mobile phone license to a foreign company, in a strategic sector where no national company is found, confirms this policy of indifference to national interests. As with the mining sector, the national representation will have to have its say on this kind of transaction in the future.

My dear compatriots,

In 45 days, we will celebrate Youth Day. As every year, we will recall that Youth is the future of the country, the spearhead of the nation. But as everyone can see, our Youth has become a future without horizon; it is a spear whose tip has broken off.

We must ask ourselves: What have we done so that our Youth has no other perspective than the absence of jobs, disguised unemployment, and the desperate flight to foreign countries that leads them to drown in the world’s oceans?

The offer of education and training has increased, thanks in particular to the remarkable contribution of private confessional and secular education. But disorder and laxity have set in. Apart from a few bright spots, the quality of education has collapsed, offering the country a sometimes overqualified youth, but generally insufficiently prepared to face the multifaceted challenges that our nation is and will be confronted with.

The endemic unemployment of the active population, especially among young people, is the most serious threat to the stability and economic future of the country. We can no longer turn a blind eye to such a scourge, nor approach it without imagination or resignation. According to the National Institute of Statistics, invisible underemployment affects 63.7% of employed workers, particularly women. Women in employment are affected at a rate of 71.8% in this situation, compared to 56.3% of men. This phenomenon affects 81.4% of employed workers in the informal agricultural sector, compared to 20.0% in the formal private sector and 12.3% in the public sector.

The government must clearly explain to Cameroonians how and when it intends to reverse this dangerous trend. In this regard, it must commit to providing reliable statistics on job creation and the real unemployment rate in the country at least quarterly.

Dear fellow citizens,

My dear compatriots,

The night precedes the day! The advent of the CRM on the national political scene was in adversity, even though we had taken every step to respect the laws of the Republic. But our party is standing and following its path. It generates a strong current of sympathy within the Cameroonian population. This sympathy must be transformed into a resolute citizen commitment. To do so, each individual must free themselves from the fear that individually paralyzes us collectively.

In this new election year that is looming, the sovereign People are invested with all the powers to bring about the change they have aspired to for so long. Elecam must fully play its role, impartially and with strict neutrality. It could, in this regard, start by doing what is done everywhere else where biometrics has been adopted, namely: issue the voter card to voters immediately after registration instead of postponing it and publish the list of all registered voters on its website at least three months before the election date. Its responsibility will be greater than ever in the coming months.

The government, for its part, must make public the division of electoral districts and the date of elections by the end of February 2013, if it is truly animated by the concern for transparency, in order to allow all political formations to prepare for the electoral deadlines with serenity and to preserve equality of opportunity between parties.

The society project of the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon is welcomed by a large number of our compatriots as a credible political offer, the most serious alternative in our country. Your choice in the upcoming elections will restore confidence to a whole people, or maintain Cameroonians in discouragement and despair.

So here is the message: Go and register massively on the electoral lists! Make sure that people of voting age in your surroundings have registered. Go and vote massively on election day! Your vote will be decisive for the future of our country. That is why we must all be ready to defend it.

I wish you a Happy New Year 2013, with less poverty and misery; with the hope that those in charge of the affairs of the Nation will work to reduce the suffering of the weakest, and give a horizon of hope to the youth of our dear country.

Long live Cameroon!
Maurice KAMTO
President of the CRM
Yaounde, 24 December 2012