"On the arrest of youths in Buea yesterday…
Apparently, some orders had gone out for clubs and snacks to close by midnight, which was not respected. Case of civil disobedience.
But did it merit arresting, locking up and traumatizing close to 200 young people? Definitely not.
One would expect forces of law to forcefully close the venues, and fine the businesses. The current action is uncalled for, and only opens grounds for further abuse and corruption.
Young people in Cameroon are frustrated and lacking in options. That is clear. There is a long history of difficulty that we have all experienced. In the song ‘Chop No Dey’, when I said ‘ 3 annees, old man no di touche, Grand Popol, hear your people tok” – it was an honest account of having to live in a family of a civil servant who did not receive his salary for three years. Thanks to the resilience, dynamism and determination of our parents, we were still able to get the best education available.
But the story is not the same for millions of poor, jobless youths in Cameroon. Many families could simply not find a way out. And to date, look around – young people everywhere, with little or no options. That is the reality we are facing. That is why the crisis in Cameroon is so confusing.
Any solution that does not improve the situation of young people is not going to be a lasting one. That to me, is the greatest failure of our leaders, but it also the greatest failure of the struggle leaders.
This is not a political post, and I am not going to dive into politics. But we have a responsibility to protect and promote the rights of our young people.
The abuse and kilings of students was one of the saddest things to befall our beautiful country. And there cannot be peace or progress until such acts are met with justice, the perpetrators are tried and punished. But we also have to be responsible – if you go burning someone else’s property in the name of a struggle, then we must also call out for you to be tried and punished accordingly.
Confusing, isn’t it? I know, but in order find a solution, we need to be honest to ourselves about our failures, successes and opportunities.
Young people have for too long been the scapegoat of our problems, our corruption and our battles for power. They are currently denied the right to education by the same people that claim to fight for them, and at the same time, they have been failed by leaders that are supposed to assure their better future.
If our govenrment is really serious about a change in Cameron, start by creating opportunities for young people. That means showing us who, where and how many young people you have placed in positions of development, power, leadership…and doing so with urgency. We need results, not promises. Young people deserve a chance in this life. That means believing in young people enough to give them a voice. But young people also have a responsibility to use that voice with maturity.
And for the ‘struggle leaders, remember where we came from, the challenges we met growing up – but remember how hard our parents fought for our education. Do you know why they did that? Because when everything fails, education is the only tool that we have for survival and progress! That is why education is a fundamental human right – under NO circumstances should it be compromised. Remember that all the people arrested were arrested in bars – have bars become a replacement for school?
Things will NOT get better for Cameroon if young people are not treated better, respected better, and given better opportunities.
As long as both or all sides in this struggle do not show a commitment to young people, we shall go round in circles. Hate me, insult me, brand me whatever you like - but the reality is that we shall all be stuck in the circle.
I pray for a better Cameroon".