While president Biya has addressed the nation, opposition leader Maurice Kamto has also written a letter from jail marking the 53rd edition of the National Youth Day in Cameroon.
Kamto expresses worry over the deteriorating state of Justice and the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon.
Read full letter below:
“I address you today on the occasion of the celebration of the National Youth Day from the back of my makeshift jail cell located in the Special Operations Group of Yaoundé where I have been detained, for 14 days, in an illegal and totally arbitrary way, as well as several citizens who accompany me in our struggle for a better Cameroon.
As you know, the fight for freedom has never been without obstacles. The history of our continent, and more particularly that of our country, is replete with figures whose commitment to just causes has often been at the risk of their own lives.
Our incarceration at the GSO, at the State Secretariat for Defence, at the Mobile Intervention Group, at the direction of the judicial police, and the provisional detention of some of our comrades at Kondengui Central Prison, in flagrant violation of all the rules of procedure, should not arouse in you fear and anguish, but strengthen your conviction that it is necessary that the forces of change, from the entire nation, rise up against the degrading power determined to drag our country towards insignificance, uncertainty and total disintegration.
Indeed, this situation is far from strange considering the context of our country where we have witnessed for many years the systematic privation, or even the privatisation, of public freedoms to the benefit of the maintenance of a political regime whose political, socio-economic and security record is a disaster.
On the political front, the consensual reform of the electoral system, which is an imperative for the balance of democratic competition, has been proposed with the aim of settling incongruities such as the maintenance of the electoral majority at 20 years while the we are criminally responsible at the age of 18. It is really denying most of the population of our country its ability to make an informed political choice. It is as if, for the illegitimate power of Yaoundé, the maintenance of the status quo marked by an Electoral Commission and a Constitutional Council designed to remain instruments of conservation of power is more important than the balance of the political game, the only guarantee of a lasting peace.
Similarly, the absence of a strong reaction following the withdrawal from Cameroon of the organisation of the African Cup of Nations, unfortunately assimilated to a simple “date shift” by the one who made the commitment to hold it on the “stated day”, is the proof that Mr Biya’s regime is a victim of a lack of momentum that is detrimental to the proper functioning of the institutions.
On the economic front, the failure of the Growth and Employment Strategic Document, originally presented as a compass towards the emergence of our country, is further proof of the inability of the CPDM regime to provide solutions to problems faced by Cameroonians. The introduction of a 2015-2018 Triennial Emergency Plan, a Special Youth Triennial Plan, the Humanitarian Emergency Plan is a sign of an inability to strategic planning, or even an economic governance through permanent tinkering.
On the security front, the legendary neglect and contempt of Mr Biya’s regime vis-à-vis the northern regions, whose populations are considered as mere stooges, has fostered the emergence of crises, including the spread of the Boko Haram terrorist threat.
While it is necessary to salute the heroic action of our defence forces in the fight against this threat, intellectual honesty would emphasise the inconsistent use of the financial and material resources made available for this purpose. This not only jeopardises the military cooperation between Cameroon and strategic partners such as the United States, but also undermines the credibility of our country as a key player in the fight against insecurity in the Sahel-Sahara region.
Moreover, the phenomenon of hostage taking in the Adamawa, long stressed by many alerts, has finally taken a worrying scale, thus creating another front of insecurity.
What about the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions that the military option chosen by the Yaoundé government, to the detriment of the organisation of the inclusive dialogue regularly proposed by the forces of change and the CRM, is still unable to resolve? It arises as a resounding failure with regard to the radicalisation of the actors and the diversification of the fronts. The numerous consequences of the crisis on the employment of the populations, in particular the young people, and on the stability of the economic activities, school and university of the two regions demonstrate, besides the increasing number of victims, that the resolution by the arms of an eminently political problem inevitably leads to an impasse.
Dear young compatriots,
This gloomy picture of the situation in our country reflects the daily race towards uncertainty where the CPDM regime leads us. This is the reason why we decided to implement the continuity of the National Resistance Plan, with the marches of 26th January being a crucial step. The plan is based on three main axes, namely:
a) Expressing our indignation at the refusal to adopt inclusive dialogue as a prior option for crisis resolution in the North-West and South-West regions;
b) Outrage at the irresponsible management of the failed AFCON scandal of 2019;
c) Indignation following the electoral hold-up of the last presidential election.
The brutal, unexplainable and unjustified reaction of the power to peaceful demonstrations conducted in strict compliance with the constitution and international conventions of which our country is a party, informs on the dangerous turn taken by those who conceal their hatred of democracy and civil liberties under the mask of the maintenance of public order.
It is important for you, my young compatriots, to remain vigilant in the face of this desire to prevent the full expression of contradictory thinking in the Cameroonian public space. The illegitimate power uses various tools, one of the most fearsome of which is the agitation of passions based on identity stigmatisation.
Remember, tribalism is the weapon used by those who have no arguments to defend the record of 36 years of corruption and widespread embezzlement. It is the weapon of those who want you to turn away from the numerous financial scandals related to the AFCON organisation, to the failure of the much-vaunted structuring projects, to the widespread misery among our population, at a time when they enjoy many privileges including quality care abroad at the expense of the taxpayer.
In this regard, the CRM deplores and condemns with the utmost energy the irresponsible speech of a member of the government who took on him to stigmatise with an incredible violence an ethnic group, drawing a parallel with a sad page of humanity that was the genocide of the Jewish people.
Very curiously, by a kind of selective indignation, another member of the government felt it necessary to dissociate himself from the remarks against the Jewish people, refraining from blaming those against a national community.
Dear young people, never forget that competition for development cannot be between Cameroonians, but against other nations determined to preserve their interests to the detriment of ours. This is why the CRM has been firmly committed since its creation to the fight against tribalism and all other forms of discrimination.
As much as I am for the free expression of political ideas, if necessary through public demonstrations, as much I object to any act of vandalism of buildings, goods and national emblems wherever they are. This is an opportunity for me to condemn, again, the violation of our diplomatic representations abroad.
I appeal to all young Cameroonians to remain mobilised for the defence of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and urge them to take advantage of this day of 11th February 2019 not for festivities whose purpose is to distract them, but to devote an in-depth meditative reflection to the future of our dear and beautiful country”.