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Achille Mbembe re-explains Macron’s speech to Cameroonians

Achille Mbembe re-explains Macron’s speech to Cameroonians

N Melo
by N Melo
July 28, 2022 0

Achille Mbembe re-explains Macron’s speech to Cameroonians

In President Macron’s official suite in Yaoundé, the historian evokes the political transition in Cameroon, as well as the painful colonial past with France, which in his eyes has become a debt of truth that must be settled not only under the theoretical prism or academic, but also as a political debt.
You return to Cameroon in President Macron’s delegation when you were thought to be somewhat at odds with your country, at least if we stick to your critical positions against the power of Yaoundé. Now that you are here, what is your state of mind?

No, I’ve never been… How can you be out of touch with the country where you were born? The critical position is there and it will always be there. It has to be there in fact, it is a condition, our common health. And so, there is no reason to be offended if we actually adopt it.

We must integrate this dimension into our common life, our collective life. But the love of the country, the moral, intellectual and spiritual commitment to the country, the kind of filial piety that I have towards my country and Africa is ineradicable. I may not be there physically, but I carry Cameroon within me wherever I am.

President Macron spoke with civil society, we also remember that in the recommendations of the last Africa – France summit in Montpellier, there is a section linked to the constitution of a fund for innovation and democracy. Where are we with this project?

I have personally worked on this subject with several other teams since the end of the Montpellier summit. I must tell you that the foundation for innovation and democracy will be officially launched on October 6, 2022 in Johannesburg.

The foundation will have three sub-regional centres: one center possibly somewhere in West Africa, another in Central Africa and another in East Africa. The headquarters located in South Africa in Johannesburg. And so, the foundation already exists in terms of registration by South African law, we are going to launch it and from 2023, it will be operational.

During the press conference given by the two Heads of State, the colonial past that links France and Cameroon was discussed. Emmanuel Macron has clearly said that it is up to historians to work on it. What do you think ?

I believe that it is indeed up to historians to tell the truth about this past. And the debt of truth as for it is not only a theoretical or academic debt, it is also a political debt.

What President Macron is suggesting is that we find ways to identify this debt, not pay it, but finally honor it. To honor it by a judicious work carried out by historians but also by artists, a work of memory, a work of refiguration of a common past which should project us towards a future to be built together.

So passing by a certain number of figures from our past, from our struggle for freedom, Ruben Um Nyobe, Felix Moumié, Ernest Ouandié, Osendé Afana, the whole long list of our martyrs. There will be this possibility of honoring these figures.

Is it not pumice-pilatism on the part of the French president to throw the ball back to historians when he could still have also recognized the damage caused to the Cameroonian nation?

President Macron adopted a kind of approach which he applied to Algeria, which he also applied to Rwanda. The approach is first of all the concern for the truth. What happened ? How was it experienced? Where are the responsibilities?

Secondly, once this assessment has been completed, what can be done to repair the damage caused and above all to build a common future. That’s the approach. Here we are at point 1 of the process. And so, we have to wait for it to run to its end to pass judgment.

Another question that interested Cameroonians is that of transition. President Biya maintains a mystery and leaves Cameroonians hungry. How do you foresee alternation in Cameroon?

As a Cameroonian citizen, all I want is for things to go well here, which is everyone’s wish. But for things to go well, you have to prepare them well. We must not leave things to chance and therefore, we must hope that this preparatory work will take place methodically, the objective being the general reconciliation of Cameroonians with a view to opening up this country to a new stage of its rise. towards freedom. This is what I can wish for Cameroon.

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