Part I. CAMEROON’S 2011 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: Democratic Ideals or Complacent Politics of Disappointment By Frank Oben Zurich, Switzerland

Greetings, Fellow Cameroonians,

Dear parents, elders, brothers and sisters, fellow readers, recently most of us are aware of the 2011 presidential elections coming up in October. Everyone is captivated by the riots in North Africa and the Middle East, from Tunisia to Jordan and beyond. There is a speculation that there would be an uprising in countries governed by dictators – eyeing countries like Libya and Cameroon, just to name a few. Tunisia’s few days of demonstrations led to the immediate fled of their president and his family.

Egypt’s 18 days strife witnessed the resignation of a dictator. Here is the question in the minds of many people: Is Africa finally waking up from its slumber?  In Cameroon, elections are just around the corner. For now we have a dictator in power. Media reports and exposure to the scenes of struggle in some Arab countries mentioned before influences the picture in our heads. There are a lot of issues at hand.  A lot of concerns, questions, anxiety and ambitions are swirling in our minds.  At least that is true for those who are exposed to the unfolding of this event and to those who have considerable interest in its outcome.

Some Cameroonians are already advocating for taking into the streets, hoping to re-make Egyptian victory into Cameroon’s victory.  Others are worried that those Cameroonians might to remix Arab style protests thinking they would obtain the same desirable outcome in Cameroon as in Egypt. We should not forget that practically all ridiculous conduct comes from the imitation of those who we cannot be like.  Imitation can be viewed as a serious form of flattery. There are no two snowmen that are identical. But every snowman is a unique design on its own from its creator.

The state, political parties, press and media, voters and the on-looking international community each have an agenda. It is scary. But no matter what, October 2011 is definitely the D-Month.

The intention of this article is not to put the cat among the pigeons, but to call on all Cameroonians to think again; why is it necessary to put the horse before the cart, to question ourselves about which horse is to be put in front of the cart, when should the horse be put in front of the cart, what are the conditions of the horse and the cart, and finally who is the coachman? To those seeking for an early revolt, weigh the consequences. You might think this is unnecessary, time-consuming, or boring. You might be right. You can never know the taste of ice-cream unless you take a lick. I plead with you to kindly read what I have written. Do not judge but let perception override memory. I know you are reading my own mind: I hope yours becomes expanded, not by what I have written, but by the uprising of your own deep-seated thoughts, an individual insight different from the collective opinions you are subjected to.

Democracy or ‘Demo-crazy’?

We all have our definitions about democracy: political equality, protecting minorities or the absence of power to control and influence. An attempt to balance these tensions posed by the various representative democratic schools of thoughts have often led to some societies becoming restrained in this process and its outcomes.

Democracy is not the fight of good vs. evil, or angels vs. demons. It is a persistent struggle for people’s individual right while trying to maintain societal harmony. It is an optimistic understanding of societal relationships and charitable gestures between citizens of a country. These benevolent sense and sensibilities are extended to other people from different origins. Democracy is a continuous process whereby the rich, poor, people with different socio-economic status and societal stratifications, openly debate to look for plausible solutions to common societal problems and work hand-in-hand to eradicate issues which keep them apart. It is a collective effort for individual and societal progression, not a collective hatred or mob psychology to divide, control and manipulate citizens of a country. Cameroonians have often been used to ‘demo-crazy’ leading to ‘dem-go-crazy.’ It is a society whereby the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has been consciously or unconsciously influenced. Equality and liberty which are the stepping stones to freedom and liberty have become mirages on this journey.

End of Part One