On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

Cameroon: The Politics of Decomposition June 12, 2009

Filed under: Articles in English/Les articles anglaise,Crime — kikenileda @ 8:01 AM

By Innocent Chia

rot at the Douala International Suffocation Airport… Shoulder-deep
potholes housing dust and mud as the dry and rainy seasons alternate…
Human-sized rats and other rodents going about their business
willy-nilly in broad daylight… A dilapidating Mungo bridge on an
endless see-saw break with drivers and other users…
The Mungo Bridge

shortlist is by far an incomplete playbook that the CPDM Government of
President Paul Biya has apparently utilized with great success since
the advent of multiparty politics in
La Republique du Cameroun.

results have borne the party its desired fruits as opposition members
drone in frustration and change sides of the aisle. Who would not
change sides to the party that delivers the goodies – look at the
better state of roads in Yaounde and compare to the patches of the
mid-century macadam on the roads in Bamenda and Douala, two bastions of
opposition politics. Compare the Yaounde-Nsimalen Airport to the
humiliation in Douala. Yet Douala is the economic capital of the
country, carrying all the main arteries to sustain the nation with the
blood that has been oozing from beleaguered Limbe.
Yaounde Administrative Quarters (c) Flickr

come Yaounde has outdistanced and even completely annihilated Douala in
the race for development? How come Limbe is hardly in the race? How
come Bamenda is a spectator to the race?
It all boils down to the
politics of decomposition that has been unleashed on the people of
Cameroun by the government of President Paul Biya. According to its
playbook, the politics of decomposition rewards a population of its
entitlements when that population votes cronies of the CPDM. Example:
That Yaounde has remained in the hands of the CPDM has obviously
resulted in the noticeable improvements on its road network and

In the meantime, those cities with an affinity
for opposition rhetoric have been deprived of every development
opportunity. This dates as far back as 1996 when the SDF party of John
Fru NDI surprisingly swept 60 local councils, including all major urban
councils like Bafoussam, Kumba, Limbe, Nkongsamba and Yaounde. On the
heels of its reverberating defeat at the polls, the CPDM government
passed into law a gimmick to steal victory from the electorate. It was
the birth of Government Delegates. These CPDM TSARS were appointed to
run the major Urban Councils won by the SDF and UNDP of Bello Bouba

Indeed, they have foiled development initiatives by
the opposition and, at the end of the fiscal year, returned huge sums
of money to Yaounde under the pretext that the councilors had no
worthwhile projects. In many instances, it is known that the delegates
have simply denied funding for projects that were approved by the
majority of council members. So, what to do? And what if it true that
the councilors are indeed dwarfed by any ideas that can improve the lot
of the people?

By political calculation, one man’s loss is
another man’s gain. Some call it the zero-sum game because the winner
takes it all. In this instance of suffering councils, the abject
poverty of the masses speaks volumes against the party in-charge. So,
the opposition pays a handsome political price at the polls when the
population is suffering from the lack of good roads. The opposition
pays a price when neighborhoods have partitioned and sporadic supply of
electricity. They pay a price when an airport facility like Douala is
run with wanton disdain by CPDM appointees.

In the hope of
changing their lot, the people of Limbe switched camps from the SDF and
are now paying allegiance to the King, albeit with mixed results as the
Government Delegate still managed to secure a vote of “No Confidence”
from councilors of his own party in January 2006. A vote of “No
Confidence” from the CPDM councilors to its appointed Delegate must not
fool any alert observer of the independence of the Council. Rather, it
magnifies the degree of difficulty that opposition parties are caught
up in. If municipal councilors and the mayor are to be judged by their
works, well….

The CPDM appointed Government Delegates have as
principal mission to abort progress in opposition strongholds.
Unfortunately, the public eye is either blind to these details or is
easily exasperated and in need of quick solutions. Also, the opposition
cannot afford the media to the extent that the CPDM can. Nor can it
afford to squander the taxpayers’ money on the powerful sensitization
and corruption campaigns of the CPDM. So, at the next election, the
opposition is either deflated in its voting numbers because its
supporters lack the oomph to carry it through or, the plotting CPDM
manages to get a few people out to the polls. In some other cases, the
population may just decide to sanction the local party in power.
Mission accomplished?

It depends on whose side you are. Yes, if
you are with the CPDM. No if you are on the side of the opposition. As
for this commentator, it is an absurdity of untold proportions that at
the end of the day the same Government Delegate rides home in the same
potholes that he refuses to fix. He flies out from the same eyesore
airport in Douala. Receives medical attention from the same
understaffed health facilities that suffer erratic electrical cuts as a
result of his government’s actions or inactions. If it matters that it
be said one more time: Politics of Decomposition is a shame. A shame.


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