LETTER TO MY COMPATRIOTS, CAMEROONIAN WOMEN AND MEN Fellow Cameroonians, Dear compatriots, On October 7th, you courageously expressed the choice of the future and modernity by mostly casting your votes in my favour. While waiting for the blessed days when my allies and I will come to meet you to show you our infinite gratitude, I would like now, given the circumstances, to express my deepest gratitude to you for the honour and privilege thus extended to me. I told you: Together it is possible. But as you know, your choice has not been respected by those in power and the institutions marching to their drum; so that this event, which is undoubtedly one of the most significant in our recent political history, has given rise to a post-election crisis. This led, in an unprecedented outburst of hatred, to the unlawful arrest and detention of nearly 200 militants and supporters of our party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), of Cameroonians without political commitment, leaders of allied organisations and myself. It has been more than three months since we were illegally imprisoned for demonstrating in an absolutely peaceful manner, to denounce the government’s refusal to restore peace to the English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West, the non-respect of the choice of the majority of Cameroonian voters in the presidential election of October 7th, 2018 and the inaction of the regime on the looting of public fund in the preparation for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019), the organisation of which was finally withdrawn from Cameroon, to the great national disgrace. Since our arrest and imprisonment, you have witnessed an exceptional and exemplary solidarity: many of you have come to visit us at our various places of preventive detention and imprisonment, when, by dint of perseverance, permission was granted to you; you went massively to the rare hearings before the courts of Yaoundé to encourage us with your gestures, your smiles, your courageous, audacious songs. Although each time, security fence with armed men and in combat posture kept you very far from our itinerary, I saw you at each of our passages, and believe me, I was moved. Faced with the explosive security and humanitarian, political, economic and social situation in which Mr BIYA has plunged our country, the international community has just sounded the alarm by inviting the authorities to respect the fundamental rights of Cameroonians, to release the hostages of some 200 people arrested and thrown in prison, and to organise an inclusive dialogue to address in particular the deadly crisis in English-speaking areas. Likewise, the international community has indicated the urgent need for consensual reform of the electoral system before any new election is held. I appreciate the position which joins in several points the claims made for some years already by the CRM. Indeed, no one is unaware of our repeated positions and proposals concerning the crisis in the English-speaking regions: we have always been opposed to any idea of secession; I gave the best of myself to recover parts of Cameroonian territory in Lake Chad and in the Bakassi peninsula to accommodate such a disastrous prospect. But once we agree that secession is not an option, we have recalled, since the launch of our party in 2012, that there is an Anglophone problem in Cameroon and that it must be resolved through dialogue. I reiterated this position on June 25th, 2016 during my meeting in Bamenda, then on December 10th, 2016 at my meeting in Ngaoundéré. More recently, in November 2018, in the face of escalation in this crisis that turned into a very deadly armed conflict and in which many atrocities are committed, I proposed a solution articulated as follows: negotiation of a ceasefire; disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of combatants; setting up of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; organisation of an inclusive national dialogue to discuss without taboos and to identify appropriate solutions to the crisis and the refoundation of our State. These proposals have always clashed with the silence of the ruling power which prefers to lock itself into the option of a military solution that, alas, only fuel escalation. By risky shortcuts, they compare the situation of Anglophones in Cameroon to that of Catalonia in Spain, or they remember the war against plans for secession in the United States or Northern Ireland. It suffices to recall that in Spain, Catalonia enjoys, like other Spanish regions, an autonomic status equivalent to federalism; However, the English-speaking regions, like the others, have no autonomy, and the Cameroonian government, proponent of a centralism of another age, went so far as to forbid the use of the word “federalism” in the media. As for wars against secession, neither the majority of Cameroonians nor the international community are in favour of partitioning our country. The representatives of the regime in place make this kind of amalgam and agitate these examples to create confusion and refuse dialogue. Another specious argument is that there is no one with whom to negotiate. There is no need to elaborate extensively on this point. A chance should be given to the All Anglophone Conference (AAC) that Cardinal Christian TUMI and others have been trying to organise for some time and unfortunately have been facing the opposition of the Cameroonian government. This initiative could be a useful stone for building the inclusive dialogue to which the country’s situation invites us. With regard to the presidential election of October 7th, 2018, supporters of the regime claim that after the proclamation of the results by the Constitutional Council, there is no need to challenge them. According to them, we must submit to this verdict. They forget too quickly – and I understand them – that this is an erroneous verdict rendered by an institution that is both illegal and illegitimate in that its composition clearly violates the texts that organise and govern it. We have demonstrated beyond doubt that 10 of the 11 members of the Constitutional Council are members of the CPDM, Mr BIYA’s party, of which they are also part of the governing body, the 11th member being an SDF member. Several of them hold other positions incompatible with membership of the Constitutional Council. On this basis, we lodged an appeal in recusation and legitimate suspicion, but it was rejected by the Constitutional Council. As for the argument that we would not have won the election because we would not have enough reports of the local polling stations and that in any case we never presented them to the public, it is just specious. I reiterate that we are ready to present our reports at any time as part of a recount of votes. Moreover, the CPDM itself never presented the reports proving the victory of Mr BIYA, neither to the Constitutional Council, nor in any other place. We have amply demonstrated to the said Council, on the basis of the alleged Elecam reports, which alone are authentic, all the irregularities which tainted the consolidated results by the National Commission for the Final Counting of Votes. I remind you that the total results of the 8 candidates, in relative value, was greater than 100%! What are we criticised for? For challenging distorted results at all levels, which did not reflect the reports from polling stations and of showing that they were the product of Excel tables generated by computer scientists in the pay of the regime? No! I will not apologise for winning the presidential election of October 7th, 2018 and for denouncing the diversion of the democratic choice of the majority of Cameroonian voters in my favour. For the rest, I have constantly been calling for dialogue. It was rumoured that I would have been approached by the people in power. I would like to solemnly tell you here that this is false. Neither yesterday nor today have I been approached by anyone, despite my outstretched hand. By transforming the post-election crisis resulting from an unacceptable diversion of the democratic choice of Cameroonian voters during the last presidential election into a savage police hunt, a grotesque judicial repression and a brutal and cynical administrative settling of scores, the regime of Mr BIYA believes that it can thus get rid of a thorny problem that casts a harsh light on the impossibility of democracy in Cameroon under the current conditions. This regime believes that the prison can fix everything. But even death cannot fix everything. Thoughts cannot be locked up. Neither can a cause; it is nurtured by the awareness of people, it grows independently of the mind that has identified it and goes on its own way until it is completed. At the same time as I urge you to make the cause of our common struggle grow, I would like to reassure you of my determination to lead the fight for freedom and democracy, the restoration of the dignity of Cameroonians, the inclusive development and prestige of our country. Since our arrest and imprisonment, our party, the CRM, which has always been fought by the Territorial Administration since its creation, faces new challenges that threaten its very existence. Target of attacks and tribalistic hatred orchestrated by the BIYA regime, it is now subject to a de facto ban. Indeed, the Minister of Territorial Administration has formally and informally prohibited all its activities throughout the country, including meetings and public events duly declared in accordance with the law, community work for the benefit of the population such as cleaning gutters and the cleaning of the bush in neighbourhoods initiated by its militants, the massive enrolment of new members at the national headquarters and local headquarters of the party, the creation and installation of new party units in various localities. All the appeals filed before the competent courts for the annulment of the Minister’s improper prohibition were rejected on the ground that they are irrelevant, even though in form, the said Minister is not competent to take such an act, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Divisional Officers, and that in substance, the disputed act clearly violates Law No. 90/055 of 19 December 1990 laying down the rules for meetings and public events. But I can assure you that the CRM will not be held hostage by a rabid regime because of the exposure to the eyes of the world of its turpitudes it had so well camouflaged until then. Let it be understood once and for all that we will not let ourselves be crushed by the village dictatorship established in the country. Because of this de facto ban on our party, but also the blood that continues to flow unnecessarily in the English-speaking regions of the North-West and South-West despite the cries of distress of the civilian populations and unanimous calls for dialogue, I now announce that the CRM will not take part in the staging of May 20th. This date, which is supposed to commemorate the Unity Day in our country, tends to lose, in the current context, its symbolic strength. In 37 years of unchallenged reign, Mr BIYA has unfortunately succeeded in making it empty of political meaning, because of its permanent manipulation of cultural differences by an assumed state tribalism and the exclusion of populations from the management of their destiny. His regime has deconstructed a young nation in the making, the milestones of which were laid under difficult conditions by Ahmadou Ahidjo, and reduced it to a juxtaposition of ethnic groups which I conjured up its omen many years ago. As ever, our country is today divided by the walls of identity retreats, imprisoned by stubborn ethnic hatreds and threatened with implosion. The northern part contrasts with the rest of the country with a state of abject poverty maintained by the regime with the complicity of a feudal elite, and is bruised in the Far North region by the war of the Islamist sect Boko Haram. And I will not mention the endemic insecurity in the Adamaoua and East regions, and the boiling of the war in the North-West and South-West over into the French-speaking regions of the West and Littoral. What “Unity” will we celebrate on May 20th? Dear compatriots, I discovered through the media that Mr BIYA became a follower of social networks and would write tweets to the Cameroonian people to appeal to their patriotism. I know that many of you are wondering about this sudden impulse of a man who has based his power on the contempt of Cameroonians, indifference to their problems, and a shocking disinterest for the wonders of his country where he has never spent his holidays, preferring the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva and the sweets on the shores of Lake Leman Geneva. I would like so much to take him to discover the incomparable beauty of Rhumsiki and its famous Pic, of Poli and its peaceful plains curled up by a collar of mountains, Adamaoua plateaus where plump herds graze peacefully in the moor, of the sweetness of the North-West highlands, reminiscent of the Switzerland he loves so much, the majesty of the Korup main forest and its 13 endemic bird species, the magic of Rio del Rey at a time when the cormorants fly along this sea boulevard whose waters take away the miasma of the country towards the infinity of the sea. Does he know Bimbia, place of memory of the primordial tragedy? I would have liked to bring him to so many other places in this country, which he obviously knows badly, having visited in only 37 years less than ten out of the country’s 58 divisions. There can be no patriotism without attachment both to the territorial base of the homeland and to the people that populate the country. In this respect, it is particularly painful for me to note that Mr BIYA has never set foot in the two emblematic parcels of the national territory which we fought tooth and nail to get after 8 years and a half of proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of The Hague and about 9 years of laborious implementation of the decision on the merits of this high world jurisdiction: I want to speak about the area of Lake Chad of about 1,000 km2 where the big island of Darak is found, and of the most famous Bakassi Peninsula, which covers about 1,000 km2 as well. As for the Cameroonian people, Mr BIYA put such a distance between him and the Cameroonians of all the regions that one wonders which people he claims to govern. It has become clear today that the idea of national integration that he stealthily launched at the beginning of his long reign before abandoning it just as quickly was just one of his many lures. In fact, he based his power on the division of Cameroonians and orchestrated and maintained tribalism. He has never formally and unequivocally denounced this scourge that dangerously threatens the future of our country, nor has he ever disavowed members of his successive governments who have made hateful tribalism speeches on various occasions, nor passed legislation to suppress such a scourge, while his party has an overwhelming majority in parliament for almost forty years. Mr BIYA’s sudden recourse to the patriotism of Cameroonians is a desperate attempt by a regime in distress, which tries to reject its failures on the external partners of our country: narrow nationalism, racism and xenophobia, that is where they want to bring us, we open and welcoming people. It is an old string of routed dictatorships to heat up a nationalist sentiment. But patriotism is and cannot be racism or xenophobia. It is the indecipherable feeling and the invisible link that unite the members of a national community when striving for the same ideal, not by exclusion of foreigners, but where appropriate, in partnership. It is based on a lived and assumed attachment to one’s country and the love of the women and men who live there, in a living-together based on tolerance and nourished by references of common values. I have always thought that we should not engage in politics if we do not like people. My entry into politics was and remains inspired by three primordial ambitions: gather the Cameroonians in the republican fraternity; put a smile on the faces of the poorest people through shared development and prosperity; make Cameroon a great nation, an African power, a country that counts in the concert of nations. Nothing and no one can take away from me the deep love I feel for you. No one will be able to prevent me from loving you with that fraternal love which has always burned in me; a love kneaded in the republican fraternity that is beyond blood ties and ethnic connivance. Those whose paths have crossed mine can testify to that. May this sweet flame ignite each of you and consume maintained absurd hatreds, so that together we turn to our national project, that of meeting the multiple challenges of modernity and the new world that challenges our youth. I remain convinced that we will arrive one day - not very far away - to live in concord in our common homeland, Cameroon, organised in the form that we will have chosen together by a common will. The international community is easy to blame. With the CRM, its allies and myself, it has become the convenient scapegoat of this regime’s repeated failures. But, the risk of dislocation of the state, the living-together crisis, the worsening of inequalities and injustices resulting in the amplification of the social fracture, the zombification of populations, especially young people with the loss of their self-esteem, the feeling of exclusion and lack of perspective that leads them to dream of nothing more than emigration at all costs, the exclusion of the diaspora hunted as an enemy, the stagnation of per capita income stuck at US $1,300 for more than a quarter of a century, the chronic trade deficit of more than CFAF 1,200 billion, the galloping indebtedness, the life expectancy at 55, the maternal and infant mortality rate among the highest in Africa, inefficient budget management characterised by unproductive expenditures, children dying in search of drinking water, the unavailability of electricity for the greatest number, the increase in the number of poor, the rate of sexual assault among the highest in the world, the exceptional performance of the country in terms of corruption that place Cameroon in the leading pack of the most corrupt countries on the planet, all this is not done by the international community. This is the dramatic consequence of the obscurantist, venal and irresolute governance of a man who has experience only in politicking, low and destructive politics, but who is dramatically indigent with regard to the construction of a modern state and the economic and social development of the country. He must have the courage to assume his failures. The autistic regime is locked in the delirium of an imaginary planetary plot against our country. Believe me, the fundamental mission of the international community is to ensure the maintenance of peace and security in the world. In this respect, it has far too much to do than to seek to destabilise Cameroon, while struggling to overcome the Congolese and Central African crises, just to take the example of Central Africa. History opens new perspectives and the international community is extending a helping hand. Stay more than ever mobilised, because nothing is finished until it is over. We must continue to assert peacefully our presence on the political scene, so much so that we are today the alternative force in which a large majority of Cameroonians place their hopes for a better future. Let us remain united and resist the political corruption and the multifaceted blackmail of the regime. Let us work to rebuild our state, to preserve its unity in its rich diversity by fighting tribalism and all the factors of division. Let us continue to fight for a consensual reform of the electoral system, a guarantee of a peaceful democratic game ensuring popular support for power. The current hardships that many imprisoned militants, supporters, our allies and I face, postpone the moment of the splendid marriage of our beloved country with Freedom, Justice and Shared Progress. But they only postpone this moment that I announced to you during the campaign of the 2018 presidential and which keeps on imposing itself on me as a certainty. However, we will only succeed together and by our determination. It is not the fight of an individual, nor of a political party, nor of an ethnic group, nor of a region, nor of Anglophones, nor of Francophones. It is the common struggle of a people against the turmoil of their country. The next steps will be decisive. Through your many messages that reach me, I know that you care for me, for us; I appreciate it. But worry even more for Cameroon whose multiple wounds cause fear of the worst. We will spare no sacrifice for the salvation of this country which is so dear to us. You have already taken important steps on the steep path that opens before us. But you must not relax your efforts that will be solicited again and again; for, as I have already told you, our liberation will come from ourselves and from no one else. The others can accompany you, but nobody will replace you, the Cameroonian people. I count on you so that together, without evasion, we give a chance to the Cameroonian youth, and later to our country. With my republican fraternity. Yaoundé Main Prison, April 28th, 2019. Maurice KAMTO.
Warning to national and international opinion on the worrying situation of Cameroon At a time when the entire world is urging Cameroonian leadership to have an inclusive dialogue without preconditions, in order to give peace and national reconciliation a chance in our country, facing civil war and serious threats of implosion, the regime of BIYA is still obstinate with its approach of monopolizing the political field with totalitarian aims, giving a deaf ear to the plural expression of the different sociodemographic sensitivities of the country. The only effect to this approach will be the exacerbation of socio-political tensions and radicalizing the positions at the antipodes of the appeasement being sought. This approach was recently illustrated by our arbitrary arrest and detention, together with our supporters, on January 28, 2019, at the end of the peaceful marches organized by the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) on 26 January 2019 in some cities of Cameroon, and we were accused on false grounds including insurrection, rebellion, hostility to the homeland, the destruction of public property at the national level and in some Cameroonian embassies abroad, among others, for which authorities are unable to provide any evidence so far. In reality, these abuses are part of a plan to make us scapegoats for the failure of Mr. BIYA's regime. He must take full responsibility for this failure and the chaos in which Cameroon is currently plunged. In this regard, it must be emphasized that throughout his reign as head of state, Mr. BIYA's strategy has been to hide from the world the repulsive face of his tyrannical regime, presenting Cameroon as a haven of peace and stability. For the purpose of whitewashing the true reality of Cameroon, he recruited the services of lobbying firms and international media that he generously paid with our meagre budget resources, to the detriment of the construction of economic and social infrastructure. Given the geostrategic position of Cameroon, in the heart of the Gulf of Guinea, at the junction of Central Africa and West Africa, the destabilization of this country will have myriad negative repercussions in the two subregions, and even beyond. It will affect local and international economic interests. For this reason, by summarizing the real situation of Cameroon through various indicators analysed below, this message should serve as a warning to raise awareness of the magnitude and imminence of the danger and especially of the urgency of preventing it. I. The Critical State of Cameroon Cameroon today has a population of approximately 30 million inhabitants over an area surface of 475,000 km². This population is equally distributed between urban/peri-urban and rural areas. Since the advent of the present regime, 37 years ago, Cameroon has experienced a noticeable decline in all sectors. In this way and in a consistent manner, in all international rankings relating to the performance of countries in different sectors - for example: Doing Business for the ease of business, Business Monitor International (BMI) for the investment climate, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) for the capacity of governance to provide solutions to the problems of the populations, Shanghai for the quality of higher education, etc. Cameroon is surprisingly at the tail end in Africa, unlike corruption rankings where it shines at the top. In this respect, for example, in the last Shanghai ranking, the Cameroonian University ranks last in Africa. For more than two decades indeed, Cameroon is bogged down in the lower middle-income countries according to the World Bank ranking, with a GDP per capita of about 1300 US dollars, lower than that of Côte d’Ivoire, whereas our country has not experienced war. According to the opinion of all shrewd observers, Cameroon could easily triple or quadruple its GDP per capita in terms of its natural and human potential through an appropriate leadership. Cameroon would then be classified in the category of countries such as Malaysia for example. On the other hand, achieving such a performance would require an annual growth rate of 8 to 10% over the long term. However, Cameroon is struggling today to achieve a growth rate of 4 to 5% per year. Under these conditions, our country will not be able to reach the emergence status by 2035 as vociferously proclaimed by Mr. BIYA Paul. Obviously, this goal has become out of reach of the present regime and is moving further away day by day from the hope of the Cameroonian populations. Overall, the stagnation of per capita income reported above is a major indicator of our country's difficulties. It is explained by a production structure of goods and services (GDP) characterized for decades by activities of very low productivity as well as products or services with low added value. Therefore, Cameroon has not undergone a major structural transformation for three decades. As illustration: 1) The primary sector (about 22% of GDP) contains, in addition to the capital-intensive logging that is generally invested by foreign companies, the agricultural, pastoral and fisheries production activities occupy the rural populations who use the artisanal methods; hence the deterioration in per capita primary production observed over the years in the face of a growing population (cattle, poultry, fishing, etc.); Cameroon's annual cocoa production has stagnated at about 200,000 tons since 1981 per year compared to that of Côte d'Ivoire, which has grown over the same period from 600,000 to 1,800,000 tons. In general, the primary sector has not benefited from public policy reforms, particularly in terms of agrarian reforms and infrastructures for access to production sources or targeted support - land, financial or training - likely to encourage the investment of entrepreneurial youth or massive foreign investments, capable of modernizing it and allowing the return of value chains, bringing with it technical and managerial innovations, both in the production and the processing as in the disposal of products within local, regional or global markets. 2) The secondary sector (21% of GDP) is weakly densified and not integrated upstream; it is also characterized by weak interindustry linkages, the import of virtually all industrial inputs, equipment, and machine tools; a decline in manufacturing value added per capita resulting from the closure or collapse of manufacturing firms in different branches of industry (eg the manufacturing of iron, concrete and shoes, the assembling of motorcycles and electronic equipment, the industrial, the aluminium smelter, the shipyard and industrial, the manufacturing of furniture and pieces of furniture, etc.). 3) The tertiary sector (57% of GDP) is mainly characterized by wholesale or retail activities, hotels, catering and transport of low value-added, following the disappearance of transport-related activities and to maritime logistics (notably Cameroon Shipping Lines , Camtainer, as well as stevedoring and transit companies), and the collapse of those relating to air transport (like Cameroon Airlines and Air AffairesAfrique), low value-added ICT services (telephony especially mobile), whose embryonic nature is to be noted, as the country has not yet taken advantage of the powerful leverage of the digital economy to boost growth and increase business and value-added job creation opportunities, especially in services, due to lack of vision and political commitment at the highest level. This is clearly evidenced by the underdevelopment of the digitization of activities in different sectors such as administration, education, health, security, transport, customs, trade, banking, judicial administration, agriculture, industry, etc .; the description of the growth reserves of this sector cannot be completed without mentioning the ruin of the tourism industry, which was once an important part of the northern economy, as well as the under-exploitation of the potential of transportation opportunities, waterways, because of the diversity of our rivers; This sluggishness in economic activity is also sustained by an unattractive investment climate, reflected for example in Cameroon's poor ranking in the Doing Business reports. In 2018, Cameroon is ranked 166th out of 193 countries, a decline of three ranks compared to the previous year. Reading the following indicators, the reader will better understand the seriousness of the continuous deterioration of the living conditions of the Cameroonian population for nearly forty years. II. Sluggish indicators At the economic and financial level (2018), we observe persistent fiscal deficits (3 to 4% of GDP), the trade balance (over 1,200 billion FCFA) and the current balance of payments; the resurgence of food imports, for example the import in 2017 of more than CFAF 600 billion of staple foods mainly for five (05) products - rice, fish, flour, oil and sugar, despite the immense agricultural, fishery and pastoral potential of the country; an acceleration of its external debt (38% of GDP, or about 7800 billion FCFA), which worries all wise observers, while Cameroon had benefited in 2006 from the cancellation of almost all of its external debt in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) framework; the Standard and Poor's country risk rating agency has just downgraded Cameroon's rating from stable to negative, due to the prospects for a rise in this debt, particularly in relation to the completion of the infrastructure of the African Nations’ Cup to be held in Cameroon in 2021, but also the worsening security risks related to the crises in the North West and South West regions, as well as the threats of the Islamist sect Boko Haram in the northern regions; inefficient budget management characterized by large unproductive expenditures (missions, representation) that represent more than 30% of the budget; an exorbitant rise in the cost of infrastructure (World Bank report on budget spending in Cameroon, 2018); subsidies of public enterprises which are close to 5% of the GDP and the service of their unpaid debts, estimated at several hundreds of billions FCFA, which drains the budget of the State, like the CAMTEL, the Shipyard and industrial of the Cameroon (CNIC), SONARA, CAMAIR-Co, a banking rate below 15%, reflecting the fact that less than 15% of the population has access to banking services, which considerably reduces the impact of any monetary or credit policy on the revival of the economy; loans to the economy and the money supply, which account for about 18% and 20% of GDP respectively, reflecting weak policies to support the financing of the economy. In general, the significant increase in the weight of informal activities (90% of GDP) in the economic and social sectors testifies to the absence of proactive public policies aimed at integrating these activities into the formal economy through appropriate measures. This abandonment by the state of important parts of the production of goods and services encourages hazardous behaviours of resourcefulness, out of all control and all norms. It promotes the precariousness of the business environment. One of the consequences of this phenomenon is the reduction of tax revenues. It is also a risk-aggravating parameter in sensitive informal activities such as the provision of health care. This continued migration of economic activities to the informal sector is a major indicator of the government's loss of control of the socio-economic environment, resulting in the continued loss of factor productivity and the continuing impoverishment of the country. For example, tax revenues represent about 17% of GDP. This is a relatively low rate compared to modern economies. It actually reflects the preponderance of the informal sector in economic activity, to the point where only a small segment of the productive economy contributes to the country's tax revenues. Hence this impression of fiscal overpressure felt by companies in this segment. The precariousness of the general environment, and particularly that of the business environment, has encouraged the migration of many enterprises, particularly SMEs and very small businesses, to the informal sector. This phenomenon is the result of the decay of the state over time, due to careless leadership and governance of public affairs. At the social level: according to various studies on household expenditure and poverty, there is an increase in the number of poor people in Cameroon, with a very strong impact in the northern regions and in rural areas; a phenomenon favoured by a marginal reduction in the poverty rate (38%) and population growth; prominence of the difference of the living conditions between the main cities and the secondary cities which favours the siphoning of the populations of one to the other; worsening of inequalities and injustices that result in strengthening social divide (Gini coefficient); deterioration in public health indicators (infant and maternal mortality rate, number of general practitioners or specialists per capita, life expectancy (55 years), etc.); a deterioration in access to basic infrastructure services (transport, energy, drinking water, sanitation); for example, the duration of road transport between Yaoundé and the main cities (Douala, Bafoussam, Buea) doubled, or 5 hours to cover the 250km between Yaoundé and Douala, 6 hours between Yaoundé and Bafoussam; this duration has more than doubled between Yaoundé and Bamenda (between 8 and 10h). To reach the capitals of the northern regions coming from Yaoundé, we put 10 hours for NGaoundéré, 18 hours for Garoua, 24 hours for Maroua instead of 8h, 10h, 15h respectively there are forty years, combining road and rail transport; the railway network has not undergone any extension under the current regime, on the contrary, it has shrunk; the frequency and duration of power outages have increased, reflecting the aging of the transmission system, which has a loss rate of around 35%, which is excessive by industry standards (5 to 10%); whole districts of the main cities (Douala and Yaoundé) remain without electricity for several days while this period rises to several weeks in the secondary cities, with a clear impact on the productivity of the economy and the functioning of the social sectors (schools, hospitals, etc.); the number of classrooms in primary and secondary schools is typically around 100 in urban and peri-urban areas; people travel an average of 5 km to reach a drinking water point (fountain or well); 30% of the Cameroonian population continue to suffer from waterborne diseases, with negative consequences for literacy and productivity; sanitation networks (drainage of wastewater, latrines, etc.) are failing in the cities, and completely non-existent in certain urban districts, in rural and peri-urban areas; in these conditions, cities and countryside are becoming unsanitary and dangerous environments for health (breeding grounds for the proliferation of mosquitoes and other vectors of disease transmission), hence the high rate of morbidity and the short life expectancy; a glaring absence of housing needs estimated at about two million; a process of de-urbanization characterized by the transformation of several cities into slums and urban ghettos; a school system, especially at the upper level, which is a machine for making the unemployed, because of its inadequacy to professional requirements, or even life itself. At the political and security level: there is a weakening of national unity, a collapse of social cohesion, a weakening of the sense of belonging to a community with a common destiny; a loss of public trust in the state and its leaders, increased mistrust between the populations of the English-speaking and French-speaking regions; a feeling of helplessness and despair in youth; an increase, not to say an encouragement, of inter-ethnic hate speech, with the result that the ethnic retreat is rising, the repression of political liberties has increased, a drift towards totalitarianism, with the effect, among other things, of the disappearance of the state of law ; a worsening of insecurity that results in increased crime. In short, the state of Cameroon and the Cameroonian nation are in danger. III. Neither democracy nor prosperity In 1990, 29 years ago, answering the question of the French journalist Yves MOUROUSI on the heritage he would like to leave to his country, BIYA Paul responds was "I would like to be remembered as the president who brought democracy and prosperity to his people.” On reading the situation of Cameroon described above, it is easy for the reader to see that we are far from the mark. These words, like so many others uttered by BIYA during his long reign, appear today as they are: incantations. Unfortunately, manna will not fall from the sky. But things were not meant to be this way: leadership is the cause and everything else is only the effect. Different research has clearly shown the strong correlation between the nature of political institutions and the dynamics of prosperity (or poverty) in a country. The results of these studies make it possible to establish that the mediocre performances of Cameroon presented above are not the result of a fatality. This research shows that monolithic, so-called extractive political institutions encourage the election of incompetent and illegitimate political leaders, whose performances are not periodically subject to the sanction of voters, because of rigged electoral systems, which are neither transparent nor credible. The extractive nature of such political institutions favours the promotion of predators and prebenders in the main machinery of the countries concerned. They produce incentives for nepotism, corruption, and impunity in the political sphere and particularly in the executive, legislative and judicial sectors. The most pernicious is that these ills, born in the political sphere, contaminate all other spheres of activity including economy, education, health, etc., which in turn weaken, sclerosed and collapse. Cameroon is a perfect illustration. As soon as he came to power, the plan of BIYA Paul was clearly to establish an absolutist political regime. This trait of his personality is indicated very early, in the mid-80s, in a response remained famous to a journalist to whom he wants to indicate the extent of his power: "If I nod my head, you won’t exist anymore". This ambition of absolute power will lead over time to the takeover by the President of the Republic of all the republican political institutions - parliamentary and judicial in particular – that could serve as checks and balances. The result will be a personalization and a personification of power, in the form of a despot, with the cohort of related abuses: nepotism, courting, worship of the personality that borders on deification, corruption, impunity, etc. Police and security management is another missing feature of Mr. BIYA's regime. While the classic police missions in a democracy aim to maintain public order and reassure citizens, under Mr. BIYA's regime, its essential mission is to maintain the political status quo, i.e. say the state of lawlessness, terror and the repression of basic human rights. To this end, the whole spectrum of means of repression and torture are mobilized: human, material, organizational, etc. resources. The appointment of Mr. MBARGA NGUELE, 88, as head of the General Delegation for National Security (DGSN), is a perfect example. He has been a police officer since 1951 and is particularly noted for obsolete colonial repressive practices, methods diametrically opposed to modern intelligence systems, characterized by anticipation and pro-activity, anxious to collect information to better understand the expectations of populations, including in cases of turbulence, in order to provide appropriate responses. The same goes for the army and the gendarmerie, whose traditional role of protecting the integrity of the territory and the civilian population is misguided against them. In the same vein, Mr. BIYA Paul has been using for 35 years a private Israeli company, transformed into a kind of private militia with the misleading name of Presidential Guard (GP) dedicated to his personal protection and that of his family; tens of billions of FCFA, products of the sentence and the work of the Cameroonians, have thus been paid to this militia since its creation; it is also the same Israeli mercenaries who supervise the famous Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR). It is at this price that Mr. BIYA Paul is kept in power against all odds, and especially against the will of his compatriots. The destruction of the independence of the media, notably by: the multiplication of titles and press groups created by members of the government and personalities of the regime, and which are illustrated as pledged media, not hesitating to propagate hatred and division; the power control of most newspapers through multiple pressures and corruption; maintaining the legal precariousness of the audiovisual media through the issuance of provisional approvals giving rise to a regime known as "administrative tolerance" which hangs like a sword of Damocles threats of closure on media companies that do not align on the position of the diet. In this context, media professionals who work professionally show heroism. Last but not least, ethnic mobilization is a major marker of BIYA governance. The exacerbation of this parameter in all government acts has contributed to strengthening ethnic divisions and demolishing all attempts to build national unity. The leadership of BIYA will constantly use it in a logic of conservation of power, faithful to the old principle of "divide and rule". It is not surprising that his "long reign" is marked by an unprecedented intensification of interethnic feelings or attitudes of division, to the detriment of the ideal of republican fraternity. Proponents of hate speeches have gone unpunished when they were missed to be celebrated. Therefore, we are surprised by the recent "tweets" of Mr. BIYA calling for national unity and the defense of the homeland, after sowing the seeds of discord throughout his reign. As predicted by lessons from research, the drifts born of the political sphere has infected all the other corps of the society: army, denominational and business circles, trade unions, educational institutions, etc. Such a mode of exercising power is not driven by developmental performance goals, but rather by the goal of conservation of power. It is this characteristic that explains the lack of vision, prescription of objectives, the anticipation of the evaluation system and performance control in BIYA governance throughout his helm at the state. It explains, in particular, the deterioration of all the indicators presented above until the current decrepitude of Cameroon. In summary, a passive and lazy leadership that continues to endure events instead of anticipating them to influence their course. IV. Some highlights of BIYA governance Some facts presented above illustrate this governance devoid of planning, anticipation; foresight, and visibility, where we constantly endure the course of things. - The sporadic holding of the councils of ministers which does not set objectives, nor a regular and diligent follow-up of the affairs of the country; - A negligent control of the management of public or para-public companies, characterized by a lack of performance targets or roadmaps assigned to their leaders, it is not surprising that the leaders of these structures spend 15, 20 or even 25 years without monitoring and evaluation of performances and that they are discharged as they were appointed that is to say without them knowing why; in these circumstances, it is not surprising that the performance of all public or para-public companies leave much to be desired, that they have become a financial pitfall through chronic subsidies more than a source of enrichment for the country; - The wasteful management of major infrastructural projects, characterized by higher costs and long extension of deadlines, without comparison with countries with a similar economic structure in Cameroon; - The fiasco of the preparation of projects related to the organization of the AFCON 2019; - The incapacity the inability to resolve the crisis that has been going on for three years in the North West and South West regions; - The concessions of the public service infrastructure companies (electricity, water, rail) whose results are well below the announced objectives or the expectations of the populations; - The Cameroon Business Forum (CBF), a platform for public-private dialogue, launched ten years ago to improve the business environment, and whose performance speaks for itself: the investment and business climate has deteriorated as this is confirmed by Cameroon's ranking in the Doing Business 2018; - the realization of projects without prior studies of opportunities in viability, which become white elephants whose funding of equity and debt service associated with the budget of the State, all resources likely to finance economic and social infrastructure sorely missing; projects such as "ebolowa tractors", the cassmelima cassava plant (without cassava), the Bafang slaughterhouse (no poultry), the Mekin dam of 10 MW, under construction for 8 years and whose cost is now around 100 billion CFA francs (about 200 million US dollars), or 20 million US dollars per MW, 7 to 10 cents the cost of MW according to industry standards, the Memvele dam whose construction ends at the same time as one realizes that the line of energy evacuation had been forgotten. V. For a real dynamic of democracy and prosperity This is the chaotic state of health in which Cameroon is today. A country committed for forty years in a process of continuous degradation under the wheel of a lazy and anarchic leadership, which endures the course of history without any desire to change it, as if it were ordered in advance and therefore immutable. Alas, the order of things is neither written in advance nor falling from the sky. If nothing changes in our country in the light of the above developments, the outcome of this story is known: accelerated pauperization and precariousness, increased insecurity, destabilization of the region; a disengaged youth who becomes fertile ground for the mirages of terrorism and emigration overseas, with the cohort of associated ravages. We do not accept this fatalistic scenario. We can and we must conjure him. Hence the urgency and the imperative of the change of leadership, of a new and credible dynamic of democracy and prosperity. This is based on a series of fundamental reforms contained in our campaign program for the presidential election of October 7, 2018 (see website:www.mrcparty.org) that we will engage as soon as we are able to govern. In conclusion, it emerges from the above developments that the failure of Mr BIYA's leadership, which led to the chaotic situation of the country, lies in the establishment of a political system focused on eliminating rule of law, hypercentralization, personalization and personification of power. For us, this is not an issue of an individual. To this end, any attempt at recovery in Cameroon must focus on the complete reform of the State, through the establishment of open, democratic and inclusive political institutions. Any political initiative to address the current challenges facing our country, in particular, inclusive dialogue, will need to incorporate the issue of the form of the state. This is the bedrock of our recommendations for reforms which are the bases of our adherence to the recent proposals of the various international institutions and friendly countries, including the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the USA, France, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. THE COALITION OF KODENGUI FOR THE IMMEDIATE CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP IN CAMEROON. Maurice KAMTO (CRM) Christian PENDA EKOKA (ACT) Albert DZONGANG (DYNAMIC) Paul Éric KINCUE (MPCN) PRINCIPAL PRISON OF KODENGUI (YAOUNDE) MAY 10, 2019.