Each new day comes with its own hurdles. And in the life of a nation such challenges can be as big as that nation or its complexities. The 47th commemoration of Unitary State in Cameroon on 20 May 2019 is taking place against the backdrop of teething tasks that decision-makers must tackle to ensure the peace and unity that once stood as a symbol of the nation. Cameroon has for three years running lived under the spectre of separatist threats from the North West and South West Regions where complaints by teachers’ and lawyers’ trade unions in 2016 quickly transformed into demands for secession.
The ensuing violence is proving to be a test to the collective resolve by citizens of this nation to identify the values that make them stronger as a people. The atrocious war by Boko Haram extremists in the Far North Region has not been forgotten either. Both conflicts are creating an unprecedented wave of internally displaced persons and refugee movements previously unknown to Cameroonians. Pressure on scarce resources and the setback to development efforts have equally been evident with public investment projects blocked in some of the restive localities. Yet, in the midst of the problems, the “national cause” of emergence which the Head of State and Commanderin-Chief of the Defence Forces defined as the desire to improve the living conditions of Cameroonians, must be pursued.
In addition, the consolidation of democratic endeavours and the strengthening of State institutions capable of defending the inalienable rights of citizens equally have to be assured. After the 7 October 2018 Presidential elections, the Electoral College is obviously going to be summoned anytime soon for either some or all three elections, Regional,
Legislative or Local Council polls expected in the country. The planned elections may appear to be local, but they have the potential to project the democratisation in the country in a positive or negative light, depending on how the people of Cameroon will want to make the process work. Patriotic spirits void of ethnicity, nepotism, corruption, and other ills that are eating deep into the national psyche seem to be indispensible at such critical moments in the life of a nation.
Those who misconstrue the ardent desire by Cameroonians to take greater control of the management of their affairs may gradually be gliding to the wrong side of history in a world where information technology has given other dynamics to free speech and even the perception of power and leadership.
Elements of the national defence forces who have been at the forefront with the aim of protecting life and property are increasingly being challenged under such a modern context to update their skills, equipment and human resources to continue to play the avant-garde functions they are assigned.
That is probably why the National Day of the country is first and foremost the affair of the Defence Forces as they will be called upon on Monday May 20, 2019 to once more demonstrate their creeds of honour and fidelity to the State. This presupposes accepting all Cameroonians in their different facets and being capable of pulling the positive marks in each component of society to bind and heal the wounds of division and hatred.
Any trials in the life of individuals or a nation can only be overcome through a sense of resilience that requires all the competencies that exist at the given period. No doubt the theme of this year’s Unitary State festivities is; “Unity in diversity, a major asset of the Cameroonian people in their determined move towards emergence.” This can only be seen as a desire to underline the collective determination by the population to build a stronger Cameroon.