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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Journaliste: Bouddih Adams

Roughshod Youths, Don’t grow, Wait till 2035!

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(After the two main political actors in the Cameroons, President Biya and Chairman Fru Ndi, made their addresses to the youth, on the occasion of the celebration of the historic date of February 11, any other person can now make his or hers; hence, my own address).

My dear young Compatriots, You all heard the message President Biya sent to you. In his message, in my own view, three things stood out: primo; your impatience, secundo; promises of a better tomorrow, and tertio; his vision 2035.

Talking about your impatience, Mr. President was, in other words, telling you, youths, to wait until 2035, when the country has emerged, then, you can emerge.

He was, better still, wondering why you would want to emerge before 2035, before the country, before his Government. Therefore, you must wait until 2035, to grow up.

That is how resources and other Cameroonian’s visions have been distorted, diverted or destroyed; in order to have the so called vision 2035 prevail.

Even the very historiography of February 11, has been distorted, diverted and destroyed. But that is another story, all together. Meantime, youths in other countries are having visions and realising their dreams. Ghana, Ivory Coast and even small countries like Equatorial Guinea have set their emergence by 2020.

And they are emerging together with their youths. The Zambian Minister of Youth and Sports is 39. His Cameroonian counterpart, Bidoung Mpkatt is almost double that age. Yet he is Minister of Youth Affairs. It requires some youthfulness and even youthful exuberance to be able to effectively articulate the issues of the youth.

A tale is told of the President of an African country who was visiting another country and members of the host country’s Government were introduced to his Government delegation (made of very old people). The visiting President realised that many members of the host country’s Government were very young, so, while shaking hands with one of them, a young woman, he asked; “How old are you, Madam?”

“I am pushing 30,” the lady answered. Taken aback, because he had taught the woman was merely looking young, the President tried to be witty by half. “You are approaching 30 from which direction?” and everyone laughed.

Of course, there is only one direction in which age goes – up! Though everything that goes up must come down; age is the only thing that goes up and never comes down. Even if you cut it, like most footballers and Cameroonian civil servants do, your body grows old, accordingly, and enters the grave at the true, real age.

The appellation ‘old youths’ which is bandied in Cameroon is a fallacy. Old is old and youth is youth. Conventionally, one stops being a youth at 35.

In the Cameroons, the Government puts other things in place in order to check the youth from being part of decision-making. The youth are being cheated by three years, from deciding who represents them at the City Hall, in Parliament and in Government. The voting age is from 18 in many other countries. But here, youths are not allowed to vote until they are 21.

But the law provides that you can get married at 18. Also, you can join the armed forces at 18 and be given a gun and can go to war, where you can kill or be killed. The law equally provides that at 18, you can get married make babies. This means that, at 18, you have the right to the decision to give birth to life, or to give your life, or take away life (if you join the forces). But you haven’t the right to decide, to vote the person who should be your Mayor or Parliamentarian or President.

Dear young Compatriots, Do not be fooled. Naturally, you have the right to aspire to be President of the Republic. Your President, His Excellency Paul Biya, was given a ministerial portfolio when he was barely 30-something years old. Your Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, was given a ministerial jacket when he was merely thirty-something years old; same for our very own Dr. Dorothy Njeuma.

But today, you are promised that you are the leaders of tomorrow. Tomorrow that never comes. I heard him giving that promise when I was 21, when President Biya was handed power in 1982 – some 32 years ago. And, today, I will soon be 50, just like my age mates then. We have been listening to the promise of tomorrow year in and year out, from the same people. The same people are asking you to listen to them until 2035.

Let us assume that you are about 21, now. In 2035, you will be 41, merely a few years to retirement age. That is when they want you to come out of your cocoon. Is that when they will start teaching you leadership? How many of them will still be there? You have Presidents of the Youth Wing of the ruling CPDM who are 50 years old and are ready to go in for re-election. We have a Minister of Youth Affairs who is almost 70.

Our Ghanaian age mates, since we were 21, have known more than five regimes. Our Nigerian mates have known seven. Our Ivorian mates have known four. But I, in the Cameroons, have known only one with his chums.

The President of the National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, became MP when I was seven. Remember I am pushing 50, which means for 42 years, there has been no young man in his area that is as intelligent as he to represent the people. That is clear that, for anyone that you vote in this regime, that has never changed, you will have to wait for 42 years, to replace him.

So, 42 plus the 21 that you are now, gives you 63 years of age. And what is the life expectancy in the Cameroons?

However, I agree with him on one thing; shun Boko Haram. They want to destabilise your country and jeopardise your future. But do anything that can change your future. Do not be fooled again!

Long Live The Cameroons! Are We Together?

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