Some weeks ago, a flyer announcing Cameroon’s favorite X auntie Rebecca as a presidential candidate surfaced and started making its way around social media and messaging apps. The idea of Rebecca as president is not without precedent. She has been an ardent critic of the government and has been a victim of the abuse of power that is a turn on for most of our government officials.

Her success as a tech entrepreneur, her outspoken views and her relatability put her in the category of people qualified to run for president. In her own words, she is more than qualified.

On a serious note, which even cost her a rare trip to Facebook, she refuted any intention on her part to seek the office of president. Despite acknowledging that she is more than qualified she said she preferred the freedom that came with being a regular citizen. In other words, she wouldn’t give up the freedom to call Ndokoti a zoo for a chance to be the change we want to see.

Her stance is not unfamiliar. If you have ever nursed political ambitions, you must have had many people question why you want to risk your life. That’s if those people consider you to be a good person.

I remember getting into an argument with employees of a Tradex filling station. I had bought some expired yoghurt from their store and when I discovered it, I returned to the store to exchange it. While at the store, I discovered that all the yoghurt in the fridge was expired. I asked them to remove the expired products from the fridge; a request they denied, telling me the supplier was the only one who could do that. From the information they gave me, the supplier was there two days earlier but those products were already expired by then. They also wouldn’t refund me which prompted me to go LIVE on Facebook to expose them.

A few years later, someone doing a critique of my person used that incident to say I had no empathy for the employees at Tradex who were only trying to save their jobs and thus had to fight and insult me rather than join in my protest. Ironically that same person reached out to me to ask if I could write an article on the medical workers who were protesting years of working without pay and without contracts. It got me thinking if those workers deserved empathy from the public. They are probably amongst those who use their poor working conditions as an excuse to treat patients poorly and extort money from them.

Many of us have become the biggest defenders of the institutions that are responsible for our collective suffering; directly or indirectly.

It is said that evil reigns because of the silence of good people. If we agree that being in politics is dangerous and we would not want to risk our lives by being part of it, shouldn’t we also agree that those who risk their lives should get the spoils? And are we to determine how much of the spoils they should get? What’s more precious than a life? Do we by refusing to pay any price give power to the dictators?

Why should we expect others to make the sacrifices we won’t make? The world and the powers of oppression have certainly made martyrdom uncool. Today, we are more comfortable talking about what could be done to bring change but most of us are not ready to make the sacrifices needed for that change.

And I get Rebecca. To want to be president in a country like Cameroon is seen as arrogance – like who does she think she is. Even if deep down she knows she can and will make a good president, she has to fear Cameroonians because your sacrifices will be used to insult you. Genre, elle pensait que elle est plus fort que qui? (Excuse my French).

All this to say, change in Cameroon will not happen if we are not willing to collectively make sacrifices.Also, we must uphold institutions over individuals and stay clear of the personality cults that are now a staple in our society. There is no savior coming.



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