O Cameroon thou cradle of our Fathers, Holy shrine where in thy midst they now repose
Their tears and blood and sweat thy soil did water, on thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose!
Dear Fatherland thy worth no tongue can tell. How can we ever pay thy due?
Thy welfare we will win in love, and toil, and peace; We’ll be to thy name ever true!
Land of promise, land of glory; Thou of life and joy our only store,
Thine be honour, thine devotion – and deep endearment for ever more!
In case you didn’t realise it, that was the first verse of ‘The Rallying Song’, the Cameroonian National Anthem. There are days when I wake up and I think I must have been born within the wrong borders, then something happens and I cant’ help but think regardless of all our flaws, Cameroonians are luckier than most.
Like every other African country, Cameroonians tend to pass the buck and shift the blame for the deplorable state in which our countries are. I cannot count how many times I have heard our colonial masters (Yes, we have 3, can you imagine? France, Britain and Germany) lambasted for the slow development, bad governance, and most of all corruption which plagues the nation.
However, in light of recent events, I begin to wonder if it isn’t time to recognise that the problem is not with our colonial heritage, but with our mindset. Case in point, the recent arrest of our former Prime Minister and other members of his government for embezzlement amongst other crimes. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the story here.
When the news broke, I posted a one-liner on a couple of social media forums, and the reaction was I daresay, shocking. Not from people bemoaning the depraved nature of our country’s political environment, but from people asking me to ‘take the comment down’! The reason? The person in question was someone we knew – He was a neighbour, a friend, a father to our friends etc. WTF!!!
It is double standards like these which wreck our national fabric on a daily basis. I feel bad for his family, especially his kids who most likely had nothing to do with his political career, but that has nothing to do with the situation at hand! IMO, justice can only be effective when it is blind. The misdeeds of a person may be downplayed by their status when it comes to our personal lives and relationships. However when one person is elected to represent another, and owes a duty of care to the latter by virtue of which they receive perks, a failure to fulfil this duty of care should incur accountability for their actions.
I have faith that my country will get better, and soon the threads of nepotism and discrimination which run through our society will be ills of the past. However in order to do that, we need to realise that everybody is held to the same standard of honesty and integrity. Be it one’s parent, sibling, neighbour or a total stranger, it is our civic duty and a show of patriotism to denounce persons who do not have our collective wellbeing at heart, and not just turn the other way because we are beneficiaries or feel sorry for those who are. We need to hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect other people to observe, and be the change we want to see. Without that, the vicious cycle shall just keep repeating itself, and our society become a parody of what we hold dear.