“Cameroon does not know where its heading- Titus Edzoa”
“Cameroon does not know where its heading- Titus Edzoa”
Eight years after his release after seventeen years in prison, the former secretary general of the Cameroonian presidency paints an apocalyptic picture of his country.
In 2018, in a vitriolic book entitled Combat pour mon pays , he described a Cameroon that had lost all credibility and respectability. Today, Titus Edzoa, 77, chooses to celebrate the eighth anniversary of his release from prison by driving the point home.
Officially accused of embezzlement of public funds and detained in the basement of the Secretary of State for Defense for seventeen years, the surgeon warns of the situation in Cameroon, which he considers extremely worrying. The one who says he has forgiven after having mentally freed himself, for a very long time, from the “deadly yoke of [his] executioners”, assures himself to express himself without any acrimony.
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First object of his anger: the “regrettable, abominable and interminable” fratricidal civil war which is taking place in the English-speaking regions. Clumsily induced by the inability of Cameroonians to assimilate the essential notions of unity and diversity, this war appears to him as the most tangible proof that “the country has lost its course and no longer knows where it is going”.
Yet, continues Edzoa, a presidential decree announcing both the end of the war and the opening of negotiations would be enough to end the conflict. From his point of view, such a decree would prove to be much more effective than the sterile high mass that was the great national dialogue, organized in 2019 by the authorities in the absence of the main protagonists.
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According to Titus Edzoa, the regime perpetuates mistakes made in the past, which make Anglophones feel like second-class citizens. “How to explain, for example, that the first five personalities of the State in the protocol order are all French-speaking, the Prime Minister, only English-speaking, arriving only in sixth position? »
POLITICS IS NOT A FIGHT, AND DIFFERENCES SHOULD NOT BE SETTLED IN COURT
He denounces pell-mell “the weakening of republican institutions”, “the unbridled enrichment” of a few citizens, “without effort and haste, for an ostentatious enjoyment”, corruption, endemic, which rages in impunity disconcerting.
Protagonist of a real legal saga, started just two days after he announced his candidacy for the 1997 presidential election, Titus Edzoa also criticizes the imprisonment of activists from the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC, by Maurice Kamto) – which he describes as “small maneuvers that make Cameroon a primary country” – and invites them to be released without delay.
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“Politics is not a fight, but a fight of ideas, and differences are not settled in court,” he says. The media also take it for their rank: Edzoa castigates their “permanent logorrhea, [which embarrasses] the consciences of trivialities”. For the former secretary general of the presidency, the cause is heard: “Cameroon, in agony, gives way to assisted suicide and it is no longer good to live there”, all the indicators being red.
The main reason for this long agony? “The endless and pitiful transition” that we are witnessing. President Paul Biya, 89, being in the background, those who have an ounce of power abuse it by resorting to methods of intimidation. “Cameroonian society has thus become a society of extreme violence, where no one is safe. Cameroonians do not feel governed”, explains Titus Edzoa, who mocks in passing “the self-proclaimed ex-nihilo dolphins, [who] spring up from everywhere and nowhere, chanting shamelessly, in indecent insolence and with unspeakable contempt, the impending demise [of the president]. »
WE TRY TO SAVE THE PARTY OF LOCAL BARONS
To those who are surprised by such a charge emanating from a member of the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People [RDPC, in power], he opposes the loyalty of his convictions and his membership of the dissident wing of the party – which, according to he remains in the minority because many do not have the courage to show their opinion.
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No question, for Titus Edzoa, of turning his back on the CPDM (of which he is one of the founders) on the grounds that there would be a few “disruptors”: “We are trying to save the party from the central committee and the local barons who , in the climate of decay that prevails, extend their tentacles to establish the little bit of power that allows them to survive. »
A think tank, proposals, various actions on the ground… Would Titus Edzoa consider running for the supreme office in 2025? He swears not to make an obsession of it: “Doing politics is not just about trying to run for a presidential term. »
His current concern is, he swears, the huge mess that is spreading before his eyes, in a country endowed with enormous potential. He says he is torn between sadness and satisfaction. On the one hand, he is sorry to have been right twenty-five years ago, all the failings he pointed out then being more topical than ever. On the other, he is satisfied that a large part of Cameroonians seems to have understood “[that] we have hit rock bottom and that we will have to come back to the surface”.
THE TRIALS OUR NATION IS GOING THROUGH MUST PREPARE IT FOR A BETTER FUTURE
It will take decades for Cameroon to recover from its decrepitude, predicts Titus Edzoa. “The trials that the nation is going through must nevertheless prepare it for a better future. The people must therefore be ready to take their destiny into their own hands”.
“When this system is exhausted, we must not be caught off guard and end up with the same faults”, recommends the former confidant of Paul Biya, whose death he says he does not wish. He calls, on the other hand, for a catharsis during this period of transition, because “the individual must become a citizen who knows his rights and who assumes his duties. »
To build this new society, which he calls for, he multiplies the debates through the Cercle d’analyses politiques, a think tank and exchange of ideas which “develops theories of positive philosophy, with a view to the betterment of the world”.
This group insists in particular on the construction of an ideal based on values that transcend continents and place man at the center of concerns. An approach perhaps too abstract for ordinary Cameroonians?
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The former Minister of Health wants to be reassuring: his philosophical thoughts are anchored, he says, in everyday life and lead to concrete proposals intended to solve the country’s problems (corruption, decentralization, justice, economy, etc.). In the field of health, for example, the evocation of subjects such as hygiene, health centers or neglected diseases, makes it possible to explore the means of implementing health insurance, which does not exist in Cameroon.
On a purely political level, the one who has never benefited from an elective mandate is still campaigning for a revision of the electoral code, to which all the political parties would be associated and from which a consensus would emerge. “We make a big deal out of it even though these things are easy to set up. The electoral code not being accepted by all, any election becomes suspect,” he concludes.