My wife and I traveled to Cameroon in April this year to visit friends that we had made on a trip in 2010. Being our second trip to Cameroon, we saw different aspects of the country than we had previously.
The following is a brief description of how we perceived the cultural and political environment in Cameroon and the effect it is having on the prospects of economic growth, democracy, and education.
In this post, I look at democracy in Cameroon.
Democracy is a wonderful concept. Many Cameroonians embrace the idea but laugh at the prospects of democracy surviving in Cameroon.
After many conversations with the youth, I’ve learned that they are scared to protest against the current regime for fear of losing their lives. I cannot blame them. In my mind, society is politically docile at this point. Paul Biya has been President for so long, that everyone seems to have accepted his position in one-way or another.
Most of the opposition understands that Paul Biya will not lose a ‘democractic’ election during his tenure. Paul Biya will die as the President of Cameroon. Only after his death, will Cameroon be given an opportunity to change the status quo overnight, yet this will be extremely difficult to orchestrate without international intervention or a rare exception in the human race, of the likes of Nelson Mandela.
I am not sure how democracy will be more realistically attained in Cameroon. I would like to suggest that democracy flow up from the local and regional levels. However, for this to work, the educated youth will need to be vocal.
Someday, Cameroonian youth will need to voice their opinions at a national level like the youth of Chile are doing today, but it will be safer to start the movement locally. The risk of government retaliation will be weaker in smaller villages. Only after the change is experienced at a local level, will people be able to organize and push for change nationally.
In short, I strongly believe that a more just system of government is coming to Cameroon, but it will be up to the youth to fight for their rights.