OPEN LETTER ON SENATORIAL ELECTIONS
FROM : CAMEROONIAN YOUTHS— “OPERATION 100 YOUNG LEADERS IN PARLIAMENT” PLARFORM
THROUGH: CAMEROONIAN PEOPLE.
TO : PAUL BIYA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON.
We, the African Youth Union (AYU) within this framework of the “Operation 100 young leaders in parliament” platform, are glad to write to you our president, grandfather and great grandfather, this historic letter— in relation to the senate question— that will go down the annals of time. Most of us were not yet born when you were already reigning as president for some years. After more than thirty (30) long years, you are still there telling us that we are the future of a Cameroon’s tomorrow that is never forthcoming. We ourselves are not getting any younger.
What is worst is your policy that has helped you survive at the helm throughout these years. For more than 30 years, you have kept a policy which constitutes senselessly eroding the power of the people as much as possible while insatiably heaping absolute powers on yourself alone so that the people shall never be powerful enough to hold you to an accountable and transparent leadership. This is your legacy as the Cameroonian people shall hold against you for all generations to come. This is our time of truth with you, Mr. President!
If you go ahead with that senate like you have always dictated your personal view through an entire nation; even with the total disapproval of the Cameroonian people especially the youths— including even the silent opposition on the question within your corrupt and unpatriotic CPDM party, we want to put it to you that we shall not allow our names to go down in history as passive accomplices to your act of un-patriotism, political corruption, political immorality and immaturity. We will fight you, your followers and that illegal and illegitimate senate relentlessly and untiringly with our natural majority as youths until we conquer. We, the young people declare to the international community that there will be a power vacuum after you, Mr. Biya, because what you are scheming to call a “Senate” is as good as no senate. That kind of a caricature cannot oversee the delicate transition that will produce the next president of Cameroon. We will support all forces that join the people to defy it.If you do not reconsider your decree for the senatorial elections, we the Cameroonian youth will confirm our current assessment of things and act upon it accordingly.
1. We have grown watching you defy the constitution of the land that you as president are called to uphold. You are only putting in place the senate on the pressure of the West especially the French. Nicholas Sarkozy, a foreign president found himself obliged to write a letter asking you to apply your own constitution as you yourself drafted it with the parliamentary majority you have always enjoyed. You have refused to put in place this senate and other institutions for seventeen (17) years even though the said senate and institutions as stipulated by the 1996 constitution had very limited powers and were pecked to your control and influence. Today, you even limited their powers even further through arbitrary and unilateral constitutional amendments. You are going further to use an illegitimate electorate of CPDM majority which you obtained from shameful elections to set up the first ever upper house of parliament in a country that was once venerated under Ahidjio. We do not know when the French government will also ask you again to put in place Article 66 which application you are resisting. When will you have the next visit to France and return with the heat to urgently apply Article 66 of the constitution which you have “forgotten” about just as you did for the senate! And you expect the Cameroonian youth and the people to be deceived that you are fighting corruption! It is time for the Cameroonian people to adopt a constitution which is truly their brainchild.
2. We consider your convening of the Electoral College to vote senators before parliamentary and municipal elections as another step towards preparing your son to succeed you like it happened in Togo and Gabon. And as was contemplated by Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal before the people stopped them with a revolt. Even within the CPDM, potential senators are crying out that your creation of committees for the reception and selection of senatorial candidatures/ lists is a farce. They say you have already handpicked your senators and will force them through. To them, while you had long issued your recently published criteria for selection of CPDM senatorial candidates to your handpicked bootlicking favorites, you found time to issue same to other candidates at a time when they have almost no time to go. The “Operation 100 young leaders in parliament” project will do everything to stop a Biya dynasty in Cameroon as it is envisaged through Franck Biya.
3. We, the Cameroonian youth are saying that “illegitimacy can only give birth to illegitimacy”. The senate situation is one of an illegitimate president signing an illegitimate decree to prolong the mandate of illegitimate councilors who will vote an illegitimate senate. After the 2011 presidential election, the US, UK, decried what observers referred to as an election of unprecedented magnitude in terms of rigging. These democracies refused to congratulate the winner till date. Very strangely, France managed to do so only about two weeks later after acknowledging the irregularities and calling for the institution of a senate and constitutional council as stipulated by the 1996 constitution. Transparency international for example questioned the outcome of the election. The SDF, ADD, CDU, PAP, CPP, PADDEC and La Dynamic rejected the results. Even the “winner” acknowledged the controversies and promised better elections in the future. On the strength of this reports and reactions, many have concluded that your election did not reflect the popular verdict required.
Many argue that even if they choose to blind themselves to the rigging, the argument of illegitimacy still stands because only a minority 3.772.527 Cameroonians voted you out of a potential electorate of 9.000.000 Cameroonians as it was targeted by stakeholders. And the figure swelled to 3.772.527 due to multi voting. Nine million— 9.000.000, is a despicable deflation of our true population because it derives from the government fine tuned population census that you were forced to carry out as one of the conditions for attaining the Achievement point. After spending 9 billion of the people’s taxes for the operation, you only released results five years after following pressure from the opposition and civil society. Even the blind cannot accept that Douala counts only 2 million people as the census suggests. In fact, this is where the rigging of the popular will started.
Those potential voters who did not wish to have you as president either did not register, voted an empty ballot or refused to vote altogether. Many people argued that you know too well that those Cameroonians who do not deem you fit for their president far outnumber those who do. This is why you deprived them of their voting rights. This includes youths of 18 and 19 in Cameroon who are still being denied the right to vote by the CPDM majority though the same majority holds that they are mature enough and qualified to go to war to die fighting for the nation in the army; that they must carry an ID card around and are answerable before a court for crimes they commit; that they must pay their taxes. Also, it is believed that you only allowed the Diaspora to vote in the 2011 presidential election at a time and under conditions that will not allow the anti Biya majority to express this truth. The prove of this illegitimacy is that you cannot stand a two rounds presidential election as Robert Mugabe and Mwai Kibaki did subject themselves to though considered as dictators. Can you, Mr Biya, help us reconcile these two facts— that you ask the UN to provide a representation for Africa in the Security Council and yet you appoint twelve hardcore CPDM diehards into all the twelve seats that make up the ELECAM council?
And even if you were legitimate, the decree of a legitimate president cannot give legitimacy to municipal councilors whose mandates have expired. Now these illegitimate councilors are electing what will be an illegitimate senate. “The Operation 100 young leaders in parliament” platform of the African Youth Union (AYU) will never accept this chain of coup d’états. We write to advice you, Mr Biya, that authors of coup d’états always end up having other power mongers wage a civil war against them. The only way for the people to avoid an imminent civil war in Cameroon is to get politically involved. But Mr Biya, you are deterring them from joining the political process when you hold it hostage as could be verified in this senate issue. We call on you Mr President to come to terms with the gravity of what you are doing vis-à-vis the senate and the risk it represents to the peace and stability of this country. Your stage show with Fru Ndi will not help you because he is not representing the people in his position to get the SDF to contest in the so called senate elections.
4. Fru Ndi’s u turn in this senate struggle is a drama the Cameroonian people are very used to having you, Mr Biya, act with him in your well calculated and concerted attempts to frustrate change. Not even you and Fru Ndi put together can legitimately represent the Cameroonian people as revealed by the number of votes you both count in past presidential elections. In the 2011 presidential election, only 4.961.434 Cameroonians voted both you and Fru Ndi. That is why the Cameroonian people reject it when it is you both who call them to register on electoral lists. Now, Fru Ndi has been losing his last speck of moral authority following his senate stance. It all started as far back as in 1990. In 1992, after clearly winning the presidential election with the support of even the army, he took a peace pretext to compromise the victory. Then, in the same 1992, he boycotted parliamentary elections that held under the same conditions that gave him victory. In 1997, he boycotted presidential elections this time and went in for parliamentary elections still in the same year. In 2002, Fru Ndi single handedly revoked a NEC resolution calling on SDF newly elected mayors and parliamentarians to boycott their offices following the election rigging that took place that year. The pact was signed in Bamenda between the SDF and the CPDM to the disappointment of some party bigwigs. In 2007, Fru Ndi vowed to boycott the elections if it was not going to be organized by an independent electoral commission. The rest of the nation looked up to him in expectation. Fru Ndi turned around very sharply to compete. When Nintcheu took the lead with SDF Littoral to carry out public demonstrations against the law creating ELECAM, the SDF hierarchy indicated that he must stop. Fru Ndi told Nintcheu that SDF Littoral needed to wait for the rest of the party to get set to get along together. But the rest of the SDF will never ever get set. There would finally be no protest. In 2008, Fru Ndi boycotted the famous rally organized by Jean Michel Nintcheu in Douala to counter your intention to amend Article 6.2 which did not allow you the possibility to contest for president in 2011. He had a press conference at the Lewat hotel in the morning of that day but hurried out of Douala before the evening rally. He gave the excuse that he needed to attend a youth workshop in Bamenda. It was later discovered that the said workshop actually held rather two days after. In commemoration of the heroes, Jean Michel Nintcheu has been organizing what is now referred to as “The week of the Martyrs” without Fru Ndi’s support. When Nintcheu decided to boycott march past to decry that all twelve members of ELECAM are CPDM, Fru Ndi stood on his way. Fru Ndi threatened hell if Biya insisted on holding the 50th anniversary of the military in Bamenda . Everyone knew that that was your cheap strategy to frighten the Bamenda man into succumbing to the legendary rigging of the upcoming presidential election months later in 2011. Fru Ndi surprised the nation with a sharp twist. He did not only depart from his threat but cried out that he needed to meet Biya one-on-one as if that were a trophy. He called on all SDF militants to pour out massively to welcome you. We remember Fru Ndi saying that the 2011 presidential election will not hold in the election environment of the time as it stood. Less than a month to the 2011 presidential election, Fru Ndi asked the now confused SDF militants to go register for an election he had been swearing for more than two years that it would not hold. Just when the G7 was in the heart of action to contest and counter this miscarriage, they were surprised at hearing an SDF communiqué being drummed up from RFI that Fru Ndi had acknowledged the results of the 2011 presidential election. That is why Fru Ndi would have surprised us young leaders if he did not put up another performance in this senatorial saga to frustrate change. And he sacrificed the necessity to have a respected senate on the altar of his desperate ambition to become senator. When we march all of this to what Amadou Ali told the US embassy—that Fru Ndi is very corrupt and cannot succeed you, we young leaders say that it takes two to tangle. Who has been corrupting who? That is why we shall declare him persona non grata with all due respect to the struggling and suffering militants of the SDF if Fru Ndi continues to allow himself to be led by his corrupt encourage. It is not because both of you, Mr Biya and Mr Fru Ndi, agree on a question that it could be said that the nation has spoken because you both are the minority. We the youths are the majority.
5. But unfortunately, when the Cameroonian youth trespass such impostor politicians like Fru Ndi to protest peacefully, you ordered out wartime specialized military paratroopers to kill their own citizens. The only reason you take the courage to do this is because you think that you have the unconditional support of the military which exists because it is financed by the people’s taxes. For more than thirty years, corruption especially of very senior military officers; wasteful management of military budget which has always been the lion’s share even though Cameroon is not fighting any war; tribalism, nepotism and favoritism in the army; discriminatory promotions; CPDM colonization of the military; slashed salaries since the early 90s; lack of befitting social amenities for soldiers; poor working conditions; obsolete equipment; poor and fraudulent recruitment policy of soldiers; policy brainwash in the training of soldiers etc has reduced our military to a puppet that is toasted left and right by politicians and/or administrators. We want to invite you to see how helpless the firefighting army in your country has been before the ravaging flames that are consuming the nation, town by town. We do not intend to delve into your employment policy here— which is a real disincentive. In fact, the people especially the youths rightly believe there is no employment policy in the strict sense of the word—that there is rather cacophony. We want to hear from you whether you imagine that this picture of a country in flames that you entertain is good publicity to foreign investors?
The Cameroonian military has got a calling— an obligation, to serve only the people. If an individual regardless of his office denies to incarnate the people’s will, no military officer owes that individual any allegiance because there will be no military if the people refuse to pay taxes. That is why we invite you to join the Cameroonian youth to call on Cameroonian judges to terminate their complicity with the killers by opening up investigations to probe the mass killings of the 2008 February uprising especially the massacre at the Wouri bridge— if you are not the one denying them. Cameroonian youths were marching massively to protest your attempt to amend the 1996 constitution of the country to allow yourself a possibility to contest to be elected president so that you will take your retirement as was envisaged by the popular will in the 1990s. We the Cameroonian youth have not forgotten the debt that you owe us— that is, answers to the following questions; which soldiers shot live bullets at the very citizens whose taxes pay his salary and cloth him? Who are the senior military officers up the chain who ordered officers on the ground to shoot armless citizens? Who are the politicians up the chain who ordered the killings? Who is blocking investigations of those responsible for the killings? We the Cameroonian youth call on all judges in the country to report to the people any individual(s) who has been preventing them from doing their work on this investigation. We, young Cameroonians, promise to protect their careers and to reward even their descendants.
6. We also condemn your policy that constitutes the destruction and disintegration of all strong syndicates and trade unions in Cameroon. You are expected to rather strengthen syndicates so that they can mobilize Cameroonians to follow your lead when your direction is right. This is because the real executive branch of every government is the people. Rather, you neutralize them to neutralize the power of the people. While you keep heaping powers on to yourself with the use of bad laws voted by your bad majority that ensued following heavily rigged elections that you purposefully entertained. The case of UBSU, SYNESS, and motor bike riders’ syndicates are the most recent. Your vice chancellor Dr Nalova Lyonga is victimizing, torturing, imprisoning and killing leaders of the University of Buea Student Union (UBSU) who are resisting her attempt to dissolve the institutions of UBSU. When you can, you even ensure that these syndicates and trade unions do not exist at all. You watch your collaborators weaken them through denial of existence through administrative ban, prohibition of public activities, military crackdown, financial deprivation, bribery and corruption, introduction of rival pro government institutions or leaders, sabotage and blackmail, witchcraft etc. Mr President that is why your orders remain with you and your family— usually never ever going beyond to be adopted and implemented by even your closest collaborators. Talk less of the people.
7. In the same light, your version of a national youth council is a still birth. We call on you to carry out institutional reforms in the national youth council as inspired by consultations of youth leaders in the various domains in national life such as university student unions, political parties, syndicates, civil societies, Diaspora etc. Mr Biya, just like you consult political parties, the clergy, the civil society etc on issues of national interest (even though a facade) , we the Cameroonian youth expect you to consult us on all key questions in this country through the national youth council as a matter of principle. But a death man cannot be consulted. Regrettably, your national youth council has demonstrated by virtue of just how it conducts itself that it got no vision, no mission, no objectives, no values, no real institutions, no administrative independence, no budget, no finance, no structures, no general assemblies, no financial accountability, no public debates, no open competitions, no elections to replace or renew staff and no true existence except during the youth week when it manages a timid outing. Above all, we expect all leaders of all administrative levels of the national youth council to be elected by universal suffrage. Mr President, consider this request very dear to the Cameroonian youth.
8. We join the rest of the Cameroonian people to say that you used “Operation Epervier” as a smokescreen of the political cleansing that you are carrying out. All those political gurus who shall be real opponents to your son in a presidential election are being purged. They include monsters you raised namely the Marafas, the Atangana Mebaras, the Titus Edzoas, the Abah Abahs etc. We are not exonerating them for their financial malpractices if the courts can establish that. But we are asking why they are the only ones who are in prison? Why are you, head of the executive the one influencing the judiciary branch? Why are you denying the applicability of Article 66 of the Cameroon constitution if your fight is genuine? Political corruption is the mother of financial corruption, embezzlement, capital flight etc. Selective applicability of the constitution is political corruption. Who is refusing the full applicability of the Cameroon constitution? Does the constitution not say that you, Mr Biya are the guarantor of the proper applicability of the Cameroon constitution? That is not all.
9. You have disenfranchised the Cameroonians by your decree convening the electorate for senatorial elections. You intend by your action to deliberately exclude those Cameroonians who belong to political parties like PAP, CPP, PADDEC, MSC, USDP etc from exercising their civic right of voting. If we consider that PAP came first in the South West in the last 2011 presidential elections according to the people’s return sheets; if we consider that she registered spectacular victories in the Manyu, Lebialem and Kupe Manenguba divisions, it follows that thousands of South Westerners and residents of the South West from other regions who militate in the PAP will not be able to make their voices heard in the senatorial election you, Mr. Biya are calling. The young people who were 13, 14 and 15 years old and could not vote then and who are 20 years today and eager to vote their first ever senators through the councilors they will vote have been disenfranchised. Why are young people constantly being denied their inalienable right to vote in your country, Mr. President? We call on all political parties to unite in support of the “Operation 100 young leaders in parliament” project. This is because no political party in Cameroon can win alone. Not even the SDF of the 1990s did it alone in the 1992 presidential elections. A tough platform that united forces of the civil society and great technocrats was involved. We therefore expected the SDF to unite the true opposition on this struggle and also on other questions of common interest such as electoral reform. We expected Fru Ndi to acquire the moral authority to want to have a tete a tete with you, Mr Biya, only after he has carried out wide consultations with young leaders of every sector of national life. This country is by far larger than Biya and Fru Ndi. That is why this AYU platform will consult political parties on what action the people must take vis -a- vis the senate quagmire in the days ahead.
10. The Cameroonians that you have impoverished spiritually, morally, politically, financially, materially and intellectually are now so vulnerable that the once respected and respectable fons of the North West are not ashamed to crawl as “royal beggars”.
i. Mr. President, look for more respected partners to speak for your unpopular schemes next time. Those so called fons who take sides openly in partisan politics or stoop low to occupy any office in any government branch or contest for any elective office especially on the platform of any political party lack the moral authority and legitimacy to talk for the North Westerners. We seize this opportunity to evoke the question of reforms of traditional institutions in Cameroon. In a country where chieftaincy title is sold and bought, almost all ministers of the Biya government are chiefs. We young Cameroonians are told that in the days of old, though illiterate— a fon of the North West even in public refused to take the hand of the Queen of England. He explained that his people’s culture did not allow him to shake hands with a mortal especially women. That is still supposed to obtain today. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the armed forces in Bamenda, we watched with dismay some paramount fons unashamedly seizing the hand of first lady, Chantal Biya, as they offered her gifts on the grand stand. Mr Biya, we are sure you know that the fon of Babanki was roasted to death by his own people because of his excesses. In 1992, Fon Angwafor—a first class fon for that matter— was seen in public holding an umbrella over the head of governor Bell Luc Rene, in an effort to position himself for office in the CPDM . Dishonorable situations like the above led to the respectable and proud population of the North West rising up in righteous anger to throw rotten tomatoes on Fon Angwafor and burnt down his palace. Fon Doh was beaten in CPDM primaries by his own Bali subject—it follows that the people rejected him as their leader. Royal beggars who travelled to see Philemon Yang got stranded in Yaounde when the prime minister behaved like the prime minister of the nation not of the North West. The moral decadence of these beggar fons killed NOWEFU and dragged the image of an illustrious Cameroonian, Ntumfor Barrister Nico Halle, to the mud. The said fons sold the people’s culture for 30 pieces of silver by offering the Ntumfor title to the highest bidder as corrupt CPDM officials lined up to buy.
ii. The hired Cameroonians who posed as “benskinneurs” marched to the Unity Palace in your support. Yet you fear them and are crushing them to extinction just like the Egyptian pharoah did to the blossoming Israelites when he felt threatened by their expansion and growing influence. Your administration falsely blamed the killing of the Deido youth to a benskinneur and used the pretext to ban them from circulating in Deido. The investigation report proved that they had nothing to do with the killing. Mr Biya, we expected your government apologize to them and restore their right to freely circulate. You segregated them to work in the quarters without street lights where bandits will steal their bikes. You increased their taxes from 10.000 FRS to 40.000 FRS without even their consultation. You imposed on them a series of documents that are very expensive for them to procure. You stigmatized these courageous youths as bandits and vagabonds without respect for the millions of Cameroonian families that can go to school, hospital, eat in a day because of their hard work. Yet it is the financial crimes of your CPDM clique that plunged the nation where she is and claimed all jobs at a time when you were asking to have prove. Let the secretary general of the presidency, Ngoh Ngoh, who represented you, Mr Biya before the benskinneurs ask the Mendo Zes, the Ayissi Bi Essams, the Bernard Messengue Avoms, the Alain Mebe Ngos, the Issa Tchiromas, the Franck Biyas whose names are currently being cited by every lip and in every newspaper as having swindled billions of francs cfa of the people’s money to clean the image of the Cameroonian minister by explaining themselves before the people— before telling the benskinneurs “ Ne salissait pas votre travaille, votre image”. Marafa has continued to rightly say that he is not the only one.
We want to “praise” you for permitting freedom of expression through your staging of a march of some paid “benskinneurs” who sang your praise to that Unity Palace that belongs to the people. We however have questions that need answers from you notably; Does that syndicate have a constitution? What institutions are carved out by that constitution? Where does power belong as shared by that constitution—the syndicate members or one man or a few? What are the check and control mechanisms guaranteed by that constitution? Is the constitution an emanation of the popular will of all “benskinneurs” in the country? If so, where, when and how was that consultation that gave birth to it done? Which election put in place those so called bureau members of the syndicates who showed their faces on tv trumpeting your glory for just mentioning the word “benskinneur” in your last message to the youths? Are the so called syndicate leaders acting “benskinneurs” or motorbike owners? Do they even have anything to do with it at all? Were the elections that put them in place legal and legitimate?—that is, how many “benskinneurs” freely voted and how many did not? What is the ratio of those who voted to those who did not vote? But how many members adhere and belong to the said syndicates as can only be indicated by how many are registered and are paying their dues? Does this membership march the several thousand “benskinneurs” densely scattered over all regions of Cameroon? What is the population of “benskinneurs” in Cameroon? What is their source of income as a syndicate? Which general assembly voted the decision of the syndicates to troop up to the Unity Palace to support Paul Biya? Why did the syndicate decide to do this just soon after the unpopular decision to convene the Electoral College for senatorial elections? Does that syndicate know the grievances of “benskinneurs” in Cameroon? What has the syndicate done about each of the grievances of the “benskinneurs” in Cameroon? We can see that you are giving the Cameroonian youth good lessons of morality by taking advantage of their misery to get them to march in support of political corruption just like your CPDM party always does when she gets them to rig elections. We are waiting for the students, university lecturers etc to take their turns in the drama as usual. After all, the fons of the North West openly asked their own bribe when they asked you to reserve a place for them in the senate. We, the Cameroonian youth also expect that other misguided youths will be paid with tax payers’ money to march in your favor to counter this letter. We hope you, Mr Biya, will also allow those Cameroonians who will also be marching to the Unity Palace soon to denounce your dictatorship.
We, the Cameroonian youth pledge our loyalty to the great fons of the North West and the traditional rulers elsewhere in Cameroon who have stood the test of time in the face of the intrigues of the Biya regime intended to sacrifice their integrity and authority on the altar of a life presidency. Examples are; the fons of Banso, Chomba, Nkwen of the North West.
The Cameroonian people have been enduring about maintaining this uneasy peace in their country while you have been begging for a civil war by virtue of your accumulating actions that arrogantly undermine the power of the people over you. You have insulted us the people to the world without fear; “apprentice sorcerers”, “political myopia” … In countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa after using such immoral language on the people, you will be forced to drop as president in the next seconds following. Talk less of democracies like US, France, UK, Canada etc. After you, a seven year old Cameroonian pupil in Bepanda called his father “apprentice sorcerer”. When he was reprimanded, he said “c’est ca qui est a la mode”. These are also your lessons of morality to young people! We call on you to reconcile yourself with the Cameroonian people especially the youths for history’s sake. This is only possible, if Cameroonian youths have answers to questions as to the actors who orchestrated their mass killings in the 2008 February national uprisings; if you right all the injustices of your reign; if you lose your hold on the true freedom of the country which also includes the fact that you allow only the people to decide who succeeds you; and if you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior. At least, when you do that: — you will be able even for once to call out the name of God in a speech; you will be able to tell Jacque Fame Ndongo just who is his only Creator and that you, Mr Biya, are just another one of His creatures; you will be able to sack the silly CPDM official who referred to you as “THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT”—that is, the Christ, so to say. We wish you back good health and wisdom as you count your last days at the helm!
God bless the OPERATION 100 YOUNG LEADERS IN PARLIAMENT PLATFORM,
God bless the African youth, especially those of Cameroon,
God bless the African Youth Union (AYU).
E-mail : African.firstname.lastname@example.org
Member of AYU
President, Cameroon Youths for Change, SWR