President Biya is surely tapping his foot and humming to his best song he likes for ‘swearing’ that he will host the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, ‘come rain or shine’, and has actually hosted it. He is surely very satisfied.
In the last couple of years, Cameroonians and the international community have wanted President Biya and his Government to attend to the multifaceted political, economic, social and cultural issues that have bedevilled Cameroon national life, but he decided to focus his attention on hosting the AFCON.
There have been so many scandals that needed the President to hit his fist on the table and put stop them, order for investigations and get the offenders to face the music of justice; but he hasn’t. He was merely preoccupied with hosting and presiding over the football fiesta.
Even the huge financial scandal, that has to do with the same infrastructure to host the AFCON games, did not divert his attention. Even when it was alleged that the cost of the building the Olembe Stadium can build two and half of such in another country with good and transparent governance. He did not budge. That the corruption was so blatant that a trip of sand or gravel was sold at FCFA 700,000 and a bag of cement at FCFA 1,700, the Head of State did not bother. He was bent on having the show.
The COVIDgate did catch his interest either. The outrageous scandal of some members of Government sharing funds meant for the fight against COVID smidgen to the Head of State.
Well, AFCON has come and gone. Mr. President has been pleased. Now is the turn of the Cameroonian people to be pleased. The President of the Republic he warned in his end-of-year address that people mismanaging public funds will go in for.
Now, we, the people, want the President to live up to his word. We want to see every account of the money for the fight against the Coronavirus. We want to know who took how much to do what with? Was it done?
On the other hand, life has become too expensive. The price of bread has risen from FCFA 125 to FCFA 150. There is every indication that it might go higher. The bakeries say the increase in price is due to the high price of flour. Those supplying flour are complaining of high taxes. In fact, everything has become very expensive. Everybody is saying it is due to over-taxation.
Everything in Cameroon today is taxed, except the air we breathe. Someone joked that, if Government had a way or had a means of hanging metres on the noses of Cameroonians; it would have taxed us on oxygen – a free gift from God. It is as if Cameroonians are being taxed for being Cameroonians.
Something has to be done, if not, I smell an encore of the hunger war of 2008.
With AFCON done and dusted, we must go back to our political issues and press for democratic reforms that will stop Cameroon from being a laughing stock in the eyes of the comity of modern nations.
Above all, there is the armed conflict in Anglophone Cameroon that Cameroonians of all creeds and credentials are craving for an end to. Cameroonians are waiting for the Head of State to call for a ceasefire, organise genuine dialogue and engage a peace-building process.
These issues, if tackled, would please Cameroonians.
Are We Together?