Cameroon’s 2011 Presidential Elections: Democratic Ideals or Complacent Politics of Disappointment By Frank Oben: Politics and Presidential Campaigns: Rough and Ready

Politics and Presidential Campaigns: Rough and Ready

Politicians have the tendency of using politics during presidential campaigns to demonstrate to their voters that they are more politically decent than their rivals. Today, it has become more of a competition between the good men trying to kick out the bad men off the system – sort of Pharisees vs. Sadducees. The constant portrayal of war between good vs. evil discourages the citizens. Everyone spends time grouping everyone into the good and evil camps. If politics is not about honesty and dishonesty, then what is it all about?

If we have been paying attention, we would realize that electoral campaigns in any country are theatrical acts, including Cameroon. The difference to the stage performance is that during electoral campaigns, some citizens actually lose their lives while in the latter, the audience gives a keen eye and ear to the actors performing on stage.  In electoral campaigns, though everyone has an agenda, the press and media’s agenda is very dominating. They tell us what and how to think about these campaigns. Remember the wise saying, if you give them food, they would eat.

A lot of information is injected into our minds. Campaign ads are attractive, appealing or misleading. Headlines in the press are very scary. It is a period filled with continuous ‘bad’ news and rumors. When we read the press, watch the media and listen to some opinion leaders’ talk, we realized that they are filled with soft, frightening or uncompromising words, contented to their own course of actions and party affiliations. Most appeal to the one aspect in the versatility of most Cameroonians, which is that irrational and spontaneous attitude to instill fear, hope and revolt for change. Yet we forget that this usefulness in each Cameroonian and the attractiveness of his combination of a wide variety of characteristics match the very beliefs of a democratic society.


As a result, some Cameroonians become more talkative than good listeners, more excited than thoughtful and swiftly assume radical behaviors over petty sensational information. A degree of observation, reflective thinking and logic should be applied when stripping off information to get a glimpse of what is under its skirts. Political communication and information knitted about concerns on national issues such as elections should be viewed as a hydra. The more you try to cut of the head of the hydra, the more it buds. For those who did not know, a cruel story even from a genius’ mind runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run. Meaning, the more you attempt to eradicate a rumor, the more it gets amplified because somebody, anybody and everybody have their own understanding and interpretation of a rumor.

It was also thought that nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules. There is an unwise saying that since news is news, therefore bad news is also good news and vice versa.  But it should be noted that bad news is good news only when the villain or evil intention gets killed.   Till now, we know that the only way to kill a hydra is by using Medusa’s head to freeze it to a stone, simple. That ‘Medusa’s head’ cannot yet, as for now, be located at any loci or person in Cameroon, be it the ruling party or opposition as yet, who are acting like nervous girls in a rock band trying to win an award.

I think there are more local and national issues to think about than trying to draw a line between Mr.Biya and his opponents or always putting the finger of suspicion at the web of ideas of the ‘lion man’ and his ‘lion team.’ There are more pertinent issues at stake than the president’s not running for elections, or the faking of his death or whatever mumbo jumbo the ruling party, the opposition or press would put forward to make some Cameroonians go wet in thoughts.