If there is one thing many Cameroonians can be unanimous about, it is the existence of chaos and mismanagement of resources by some in positions of power. While the depth of this wahala remains up for debate, the consensus remains that public resources continue to be fingered by those meant to protect and manage them for the general good. President Paul Biya who very much embodies the legislative arm has himself admitted this many times, promising a crackdown on perpetrators.
Recently, the legislative body took the relay. Hon Koa Fegue Laurentine, oldest member of the National Assembly raised the worry at the launch of the 2023 March session. Going by The Guardian Post, she cited the poor management of COVID-19 funds, the Olembe Sports Complex construction project, the Yaounde-Douala Motorway Construction projects and a host of others that give sleepless nights to the average Cameroonian daily.
The Republic, she asserted, is being transformed into one of scandals, with a dwindling image home and abroad. As true as it may be, the declaration hardly strikes a note. It is the same song the opposition as well as civil society organisations have been singing for ages today. Beating the drums late into the dance, hardly adds any spice to the rhythm. But upping the tempo or changing the dance move, can.
With the legislative and executive now unanimous over the existence of mismanagement scandals, reining in the actors would be just the right thing to do. Ordinarily, all eyes should be turned to the judiciary to bell the cat. But it can’t do it alone. Hon Koa Fegue Laurentine in her explosive speech, acknowledged the role to be played by other actors. She urged pressmen to exercise caution and the citizenry, restrain over court matters. Surprisingly however, her presentation was void of any call to action for the judiciary which is expected to put a finger to matters.
The judiciary ought to be an institution of hope for a population that has more than once, been led to the river by the pied pipers of both the system and the opposition. Restoring sanity would take more than commissions and decrees from the executive. It will take among others, a judiciary bold enough to walk up the food chain and chew, instead of just swallowing seemingly handpicked juicy cases.
In all modesty, the band of ex top guns behind the high fences did not make it there on their own. Many did so by way of judicial procedures and court verdict. The process that took them there as well as the duration for which they were permitted to rob the citizenry of billions, is where the headache lies: How long a rope do they have to draw before they are called to order?
Ideally, scandals as those cited by the oldest law maker to her colleagues, should not succeed another. You should not grumble about the Yaounde-Douala Motorway project while watching a game at the uncompleted Olembe Sports Complex. But until those who ought to proffer and execute workable solutions start walking the talk, most speeches would largely remain theatrics.
Yes, Shakespeare, all the world is but a stage. Still, we can’t help but wonder why we have to play the jester. Why us?