The nation’s elected official is on tour in France. On September 04, 2021, the latter had a great meeting with the Cameroonian diaspora in Paris. The SDF deputy of the nation met on September 4, 2021, the Cameroonian diaspora in Paris as part of a chat-debate. The SDF activist put Renouveau on trial in all sectors. The homeless executive made a real diagnosis of the socio-political-economic situation that the country is going through, without any visible possibility of exiting the tunnel. The conclusion he draws is the managerial bankruptcy of the country, in all sectors.
MEETING WITH THE CAMEROONIAN DIASPORA
(Paris September 4, 2021)
Opening remarks by deputy Jean Michel NINTCHEU
Fighters for freedom,
My dear compatriots,
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the Cameroonian Council of the Diaspora (CCD) and the SDF France who organized this talk. Special mention to General Wanto, to the fighters Ngaleu Alexandre, Ketchate Albert…
In speaking to you today, I realize that what is most important to you is the future of our country, Cameroon. I am aware of your expectations in relation to the critical global situation that our country is experiencing on the political, economic and social levels.
If I accepted this exchange, it is because I am also aware of the importance of the diaspora in the liberation struggle of all countries in general and of our country in particular.
I dare to hope that we will approach this exchange with humility given the historic and extremely serious turning point in our country which is dear to us.
My dear friends,
Cameroon is going through an extremely delicate period in its history. Nothing is going well in our country. Absolutely nothing. Cameroon is doing badly! Very bad. No sector is spared. I mean no. On the political, economic and social levels. There is no more hope as long as Mr. Biya’s regime clings to power. Mr. BIYA, in addition to being overwhelmed, is a man of the past. All Cameroonians will undoubtedly bear the scars of his long 40-year-old and disastrous reign.
It is more than ever time to join forces to put an end to this stagnation and this decrepitude in which we are currently immersed. We have to get together. In countries that have experienced this kind of turmoil, in addition to the contribution of internal political forces and civil society, the diaspora has always played a decisive role. In this regard, I would like here and now to salute the combatant diaspora which, since the last electoral hold-up of Mr. Biya, assumes with determination and pugnacity its role of relay of the fight. Your highly beneficial and determined actions have caused the autocratic regime in Yaoundé to lose sleep! I know that it is not at all easy because of the tendencies and currents which are inherent in the resistance movements against a dictatorship with neocolonial roots. Nothing should distract you. Taking into account the situation in which our country finds itself since the last presidential election as well as the current situation of our country, it is normal that there are today currents of thought as for the combat strategy to adopt. A debate between the true patriotic forces is necessary. Debate which must lead to a consensual minimum in terms of tactics and strategy to remove those who have plunged our country into misery.
My dear friends,
This is about proving those who believe the opposition has given up wrong. To prove wrong to those who think that after Biya, it will be Biya and that the opposition can no longer count. It is also a question of proving more than in the past the irreversible force of the commitment of the patriotic forces and of progress to put an end to the descent into hell of our country. And globally, it is now urgent for the forces of progress, the combatants and the resistance fighters to prove wrong to those who think that politics does not arouse and will no longer arouse fervor, that current and future generations cannot and will not be able to. no longer rely on the mass engagement of the people as a whole. After these three years so difficult since the last presidential election, it is a question of arousing between the patriotic forces and of progress such a desire to debate, exchange and reflect on the final course to take. It’s not just a question of who will do what. It is also about coming out of a period of torpor, laxity and division felt by those who observe us from the outside; extremely difficult period and which made us practically inaudible due to the non-coordination of our actions.
We do not have the right to be divided today in the face of the situation our country is going through. The division spoils any movement of combat and resistance. We must put an end to the ego quarrels which have given the devastating image of real opposition to the public. It is now a question of moving away from a political approach in which individual logics always prevail over the demands of the collective. There will not be and there will never be individual success on the defeat of the collective.
Faced with the future challenges of our country, today is the time for the collective and not for personal ambitions which must also cease. We must return to the fundamentals of the 90s, namely peaceful marches and firm positions on the major topical issues that punctuate the daily life of Cameroonians.
The anger and the dismay of the Cameroonians are so great that we no longer have a choice. If the true patriotic and progressive forces do not have the alternative, who will do it for them? We must bring a positive alternative to this desperate image of a powerless and above all autistic and arrogant power. An alternative to a daily and scandalous practice of permanent lies. An alternative to the temptation to think that politics can no longer do anything and is no longer worth anything. We must urgently put an end to the image that Cameroonians loathe, namely the opposition of convenience and support that has done us so much harm. We must resume peaceful demonstrations for the claim of the fundamental rights of the citizen and on major topical issues.
THE FIGHT MUST CONTINUE UNTIL THE FINAL VICTORY WHICH IS CERTAIN.
We must resist. We must base our determination on the requirement of democratic principles based on freedom of expression, political pluralism, electoral transparency which passes through a consensual electoral system in order to allow Cameroonians to freely choose those who must preside over their destiny.
To think that it is possible to defeat this regime by means of elections with the current electoral system which is iniquitous and tailored to Mr. BIYA’s measure is part of a naivety coupled with a beginner’s enthusiasm.
CONSENSUAL REFORM OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM IS THE PANACEA FOR PEACEFUL CHANGE AT THE HEAD OF STATE
Of course, you have to go and register on the electoral roll. But the simple fact of registering massively on the electoral lists and voting massively against the regime of Mr. BIYA would not be enough to obtain the change and the departure of this regime.
For some time now, a debate has arisen on the choice to be made between consensual reform of the electoral system and registration on the electoral roll. Which option should be preferred?
In a democratic country, such a debate would never have taken place, given that these two pillars put together constitute the basis of any credible electoral process. Unfortunately in Cameroon, nearly thirty years after the return to the multiparty system imposed by the people, we are still discussing these fundamentals in electoral matters.
If I were given to choose the priority between the two options, I would undoubtedly choose consensual reform of the electoral system. To put it simply, having been a direct player in the elections for over thirty years, what plagues elections in our country lies more in the absence of a consensual electoral system than in the registration of voters on electoral lists.
Even with the number of current registrants, Mr. BIYA cannot win any election in Cameroon if the electoral system is not tailored to his measure. Even less the party-state in the various legislative and municipal elections. With a credible and consensual electoral code, Mr. BIYA and his party-state will be thoroughly defeated and in all elections
It is common ground that the number of abstainers has always been greater than the number of voters. These abstentions are recruited more from the opposition side than from that of the Rdpc which always fills its voices with obviously known methods such as corruption, blackmail and the most often forced enlistment of officials and agents of the The State as well as the defense and security forces. The real question is to question the foundations of this high rate of abstention. Why these abstainers who, it must be remembered forcefully, went voluntarily to register, refuse to go and fulfill their duty to vote and ensure that it is taken into account? The simple answer is that they actually no longer believe in the electoral process. What can justify that the electoral critical mass has not yet been reached when practically everyone agrees that the long unchallenged reign of Mr. BIYA is disastrous and calamitous on practically every level? There is a serious problem in the collective consciousness of non-voters. At least on the side of those who want to put an end to these decades of bad governance. From my point of view, which explains without however justifying this apathy of the majority of Cameroonians for electoral matters is the absence of a fair and credible electoral system. It is when we succeed in imposing a credible and consensual electoral code that the electorate will regain confidence and the critical mass of voters will be reached. Only this click will be able to restore and subsequently boost the confidence of voters. Confidence to mobilize en masse to register individually. Confidence to go and register those who have not yet registered. Confidence to go and withdraw the electoral cards of those who by mistrust have not yet done so.
As long as this confidence does not return, there will always be the distrust of potential voters. They will not feel concerned at all by the elections. They will always tell themselves that whatever they do, their vote will be hijacked.
The real opposition and civil society have engaged in perilous battles for the improvement of the electoral system. In institutions as well as in the street. The institution of transparent ballot boxes, the overhaul of the electoral lists, the fight for the establishment of an independent national electoral commission which is still relevant today as well as the institution of biometrics although it is not integral in the electoral process are consubstantial elements of the battle against the system that we have acquired. Is it sufficient ? The answer is in the question.
Take the case of the body in charge of elections. We went from territorial administration to Onel 1 then Onel 2 and Elecam. With each change of denomination, it has gone from bad to worse. Elecam released a press release less than six months ago asking those in charge of its territorial units to make proposals to improve the electoral process. That says it all. Since its creation, Elecam has always been an outgrowth of the political bureau and the central committee of the party-state, thus fundamentally calling into question its neutrality and impartiality. Moreover, the irremovable nature of the members of Elecam to fight against various intimidations and permanent threats as well as the financial autonomy of this body are still a pipe dream. For the reigning oligarchy, it is necessary at all costs to “hold” this institution as well as the members who compose it.
Let us also take the departmental supervisory commissions. These commissions are chaired by magistrates from the high courts. precisely to deceive national and international public opinion as to their impartial nature. In reality, Yaoundé’s tactics are simple. In electorally sensitive areas, we appoint magistrates whose connections with the power of Yaoundé are obvious and in areas electorally acquired therefore practically without risk for the party-state, we sprinkle with magistrates belonging to other ethnic groups. This method is well known. It suffices to identify the chairmen of the various departmental voting supervision committees to see this.
Why not abolish these various departmental commissions and set up full biometrics which allows the data recorded on the minutes of local voting commissions to be transferred directly to a central server located at Elecam’s headquarters for publication of major trends and why not provisional results in 24 hours? It is quite possible with full biometrics. Many other aspects of the current electoral code deserve to be repealed, modified or introduced like the single ballot to counter multiple purchases of conscience and active corruption. And that is what should be tackled as a priority and in a consensual manner. ‘To ask only Cameroonians to go massively to register on the electoral rolls when more than 50% of current registrants refuse to vote, is to be on the wrong track if the objective is massive participation in the vote. It is moreover to make a false diagnosis for a deep illness. It is about attacking the consequences and not the causes.
The root cause of the abstention is the current electoral system which is not credible. A credible and consensual electoral system will inevitably trigger the rush of Cameroonians to register on the electoral roll. We must avoid having an angelic vision of political life in Cameroon. Mr. BIYA and the Rdpc can in no way win a credible and transparent election. Not even in the slightest corner of the country. Their political DNA is fraud. Going to the elections under the current conditions which in no way guarantee equality of opportunity is to be practically certain of losing.
The major election is approaching. We must come together for this battle. All fronts must be set in motion. The battle at the level of institutions and especially popular mobilization for a credible and consensual electoral code.
Calling for registration on the electoral rolls without, however, requiring at the same time to modify in a consensual manner the current electoral system, is to perpetuate and justify the legal dress of the democracy and especially to be an accomplice of the reptilian dictatorship.
My dear friends,
Cameroon is going through multiple crises, the main one being the war in the two English-speaking regions of the northwest and the southwest. I will not go back to the indicators that plague our country, namely the rate of underemployment (75% of the working population), the poverty rate (40% of the population), increasing endemic unemployment, companies with capital. private individuals who are struggling to complete their commitments and who have not even been supported since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, corruption and embezzlement of public funds which have caused the State of Cameroon to lose more than 8,600 billion FCFA since 1997 (sources Anif and and Conac), fictitious salaries (more than 2000 billion FCFA siphoned off in 20 years from 1987 to 2006 and the bleeding continues), the external debt which has crossed the 10,000 billion FCFA mark (source Caisse Autonomous d ‘amortization). With regard to indebtedness to our bilateral and multilateral partners, according to an IMF report released last October, it increased by FCFA 4310.1 billion between 2009 and 2019. Sonara and Camair-co on this date accumulate a debt of 825 billion FCFA. The tragedy here is that there is hardly any loan-financed project that has been completed and is functioning at 100%. There is no project financed by loans that works and that has allowed the State of Cameroon to invest, produce and repay in the short or medium term with the capital gains generated in other sectors of the economy. activity. Of all the projects that have been the subject of borrowing, a vagueness is maintained around the real identities of the creditors, the interest rates and the counterparties concluded. The opacity is maintained around the real level of our indebtedness since in October 2020, it was mentioned of a gap of approximately 1000 billion FCFA on which the Cameroonian government and the IMF could not agree. . In difficulty on the financial market, Yaoundé sometimes resorts to non-concessional loans from private banks with all that this entails as a high interest rate. Several projects were poorly thought out. Several projects were not selected on the basis of their economic viability. These debts have not been effective in terms of their impact on the national economy. 1200 billion FCFA have been invested in thermal power plants without the coverage rate experiencing a considerable improvement. 6000 localities in the country are deprived of electricity. Each department or district being crossed by a watercourse or a river, we could have invested in mini hydroelectric power stations. We could also have invested in wind power. We could also have increased our installed electrical energy production capacity (currently less than 1,200 megawatts), modernized and densified our electrical energy transmission network, which is in a state of disrepair, and improved the distribution network. It was enough in these different segments to inject respectively 1400, 800 and 500 billion FCFA. That is a total of 2,700 billion FCFA which is below 3,000 billion FCFA – invested in an opaque manner and shrouded in
retro-commissions and various overbilling – in the CAN projects which will be held in early 2022 in Cameroon. Several projects have become white elephants:
- Ebolowa Tractor Plant
- Sotramas (Sangmelima cassava processing company) which had the ambition to process 120 tonnes of cassava per day and which has not yet produced a single cassava tuber.
- The SPAC (Company of agricultural products of Cameroon) in Bafang which was to have slaughterhouses with a production capacity of 2,500 chickens / day and delivery of 15 million chickens / year to the Cameroonian market.
How much are all these lost funds that have been the subject of various funding?
In terms of transport infrastructure:
Where has the Multi-Purpose Terminal at the Kribi Deep Water Port gone? How much do we have
already invested in this project? Why do we no longer speak of an industrial-port complex in Kribi?
Where have the following projects gone and for which Yaoundé had also published the list of selected companies:
- The tram in Yaoundé
- The tram in Douala
- The Edea-Kribi railway
- The Douala-Limbe railway
- The cement port of Limbe
-What to say about the privatization-clearance sales of strategic companies that were once the pride of Cameroon? They only served to enrich a handful of Mafiosi in the governing seraglio.
As you can see, Mr. BIYA’s regime has considerably mortgaged the future of our country. Several generations will pay a heavy price for the poor governance of the quarantine years of Cameroon’s debt concealers.
CONCERNING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC FUNDS:
Even covid-19 funds have not been spared from the voracity, venality and plunder written into this regime’s DNA. This diet has definitely brought shame on the dogs. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen pathetic individuals in the government take advantage of the plight of Cameroonians to enrich themselves. Overbilling of so-called special markets, business, concussions, embezzlement of public funds. All without being worried. Everything goes there. The report of the audit chamber not submitted to Parliament. No member of the government worried despite the evidence that I was able to provide through documented denunciations which included the award dates, the objects of said contracts, the amounts, the names of the beneficiary companies and the beneficial owners of all these contracts awarded without notice tender. All are still in place. The report of the Special Criminal Court is still awaited. The only report made public is the CAS-COVID-19 execution report of the Minister of Finance. This report, which is beneficial because it has at least been made public, has given rise to enormous questions on my part.
This implementation report of the covid-19 Trust Account (abbreviated CAS-COVID-19) was made public by the Minister of Finance more than six months late, if we stick to the circular from the Minister of Finance which followed the decree of the Prime Minister of July 22, 2020. This document covers the expected FCFA 180 billion. The CAS-COVID-19 report mentions that CFAF 161.89 billion were effectively mobilized, i.e. an execution rate of 89.93%. The budget for the covid-19 trust account (CAS Covid-19) budgeted at the sum of FCFA 180 billion was previously distributed as follows:
- 137 billion FCFA taken from the general state budget
- 43 billion FCFA in assistance funds made up of loans and grants, including 22 billion FCFA from the World Bank; 2 billion FCFA from the EU; 6.5 billion FCFA from AFD; 9 billion FCFA from the Global Partnership for Education; 3 billion FCFA for individuals and others.
The CAS-COVID-19 execution report of the Minister of Finance reveals that out of 161.8 billion FCFA of authorized expenditure for the 2020 financial year, the Ministry of Health received a cash advance of 44.83 billion FCFA released long before the Prime Minister’s decree of 22 July 2020 and 116.97 billion FCFA were settled by the specialized payroll of the special allocation account. In terms of mobilization of bilateral and other partners, the report indicates that FCFA 5.3 billion from AFD and 3.3 billion from individuals and others, for a total of FCFA 8.6 billion outside the general state budget. Added to the forecasts of the general state budget initially set at the sum of 137 billion FCFA, we should logically have mobilized (137 + 8.6) billion FCFA or 145.6 billion FCFA. The Minister of Finance says he has mobilized 161.89 billion FCFA rather than 145.6 billion FCFA. This represents a differential of 15.3 billion FCFA clearly taken from the general state budget, thus bringing it to 152.3 billion FCFA instead of 137 billion FCFA authorized by Parliament after the adoption of the amending finance law. The Minister of Finance must justify this budget overrun of 15.3 billion FCFA taken from the State budget without the prior opinion of Parliament.
It is therefore common ground that this report relates only to the budgeted FCFA 180 billion.
It should also be recalled that with a view to fighting the covid-19 pandemic, Cameroon obtained from the IMF a total amount of CFAF 222.4 billion under the Quick Credit Facility, paid in two installments as well. that it follows:
- 135.6 billion FCFA in May 2020
- 86.78 billion FCFA in October 2020.
In his letter of intent sent to the IMF in April 2020 before Cameroon’s eligibility for the Rapid Credit Facility in May 2020, the Minister of Finance committed to publishing a semi-annual report on the execution of expenditure related to the fight. against covid-19. And the IMF had demanded an independent audit on the management of these funds. Where did the execution report go for the 222.4 billion FCFA received from the IMF? Nobody cares about it in government. Not even the Chamber of Accounts. The report of these 222.4 billion FCFA from the IMF is still awaited. The attempt to deceive the commodity cannot prosper. And if by extraordinary – nothing is decidedly impossible in terms of the management of financial resources in Cameroon – the 161.89 billion FCFA had been debited from the 222.4 billion FCFA granted by the IMF under the Rapid Credit Facility , we should at least give the destination of the differential which amounts to
60.51 billion FCFA.
Dear compatriots of the diaspora,
In addition to the relatively controlled security situation in the northern regions with the dangerous sect Boko Haram and the worrying one in the East due to the porosity of our borders in these regions, porosity linked to the glaring underdevelopment of peripheral cities, Cameroon has been at war since 2017 in the two English-speaking regions of the northwest and the southwest. A stupid war because of the autism of the central power of Yaoundé which resolutely ignored many republican proposals to avoid getting bogged down. The debate on the federal form of the state was however the only way to avoid the outbreak of this dirty war. How many civilians killed? How many defense and security forces have lost their lives? How many massacres have been perpetrated in these two regions over the past four years? How many kidnaps operated? Officials taken hostage if they are not simply executed. Moral, traditional and religious authorities kidnapped. The late Cardinal Christian Tumi passed there. The most recent is that of the vicar general of the diocese of Mamfe whose kidnappers demand a ransom of 20 million FCFA for the release. Fortunately, he was released. How many internally displaced as a result of this war? We are told of more than 600,000 compatriots. How many out-of-school children?
Apart from certain districts of the administrative centers of the departments, there is hardly any life in these two regions which represent 20% of the population and 40% of foreign exchange contributions.
How much has this war cost us since it actually broke out in 2017? What is the financial cost so far of this war?
Apart from the attacks claimed by certain secessionist groups, who can, apart from an independent commission of inquiry, identify the real direct and indirect perpetrators of these killings?
Limiting oneself to futile condemnations and slogans that are boring to the limit for the populations who undergo this unbearable tragedy on a daily basis in their flesh, will hardly change what is happening in these two regions. We can no longer continue like this. The two most urgent equations to be solved in our country are those of war and the return of peace in. True peace requires the opening of an inclusive, frank and sincere national political dialogue on the form of the state between the various protagonists as well as political and civil society forces. We must all come together for this war to end despite the fact that Mr. Biya’s regime started this war without anyone’s advice. One more dead is and always will be one too many dead. “Peace cannot be maintained by force. This can only be achieved by understanding,” said Albert Einstein. You have to release positive energies. Federalism must be acted as a mode of development of the country in general and to address the concerns of our sisters and brothers of Anglo-Saxon culture in particular. To stop the bloodletting observed in the theater of operations, Yaoundé would benefit from putting on a mission of good offices persons recognized as credible and of integrity who count in the public space in order to initiate the process of dialogue with the political leaders of the secessionists. The contours of the negotiation, namely the place and the themes, must be agreed upon. No theme should be left out at the start of negotiations.
As long as this genuine political dialogue is not organized, the Cameroonian government, which has the constitutional responsibility to protect people and property, will always be held responsible for the stalling of this dirty war which could have been avoided from the start. triggering of this crisis if the Yaoundé regime had adopted a more conciliatory strategy and not the absurd and authoritarian one. You don’t wage war against your people. There is no war that ends without the protagonists sitting around a negotiating table.
In conclusion, dear compatriots of the diaspora,
It is time that we find the path of the struggle of the 90s, that we take initiatives or join all the initiatives tending to free the Cameroonian people from the dictatorship of Mr. BIya. The time has come to mobilize ourselves and intensify our battles on the eve of Crystal Evening (Grand Soir).
In the coming months, I will take initiatives in this direction so that together we take resolutions for the liberation of our dear country as well as that of all our compatriots imprisoned within the framework of the same struggle that we have waged until then.
Dear compatriots of the diaspora, we must continue this fight until the final victory.
I cannot finish my remarks without having a deep thought for many compatriots who died for having fought against the dictatorship of the regime of Mr. Biya. I also have a thought for the opposition activists who continue to fight every day in the national triangle for the establishment of a rule of law, of a democratic Cameroon and especially for the militants of the Mrc who are currently illegally ensnared for nearly a year just for wanting to exercise their constitutional right, namely the right to demonstrate. I demand their immediate release.
Hasta La victoria Siempre
Hon. Jean Michel NINTCHEU