, 15 September, 2020 / 8:04 PM
With the Regional Elections in Cameroon approaching, a Catholic Bishop in the Central African nation has raised concerns about growing tension among political parties amid “rampant chaos,” and attributed the state of things to “weakness of government structures”
“For quite some time now, our country has been living not in the perspective of progress, but in the perspective of growing chaos. The effects of this rampant chaos are easily visible in our towns and villages,” says Bishop Abraham Kome of Cameroon’s Bafang Diocese in a statement shared with ACI Africa Monday, September 14.
In the statement, Bishop Kome notes that the instability is “derived, to a large extent, from the weakness of government structures which are centered on the desire to ensure the satisfaction of the ruling class.”
“In recent times, these strategies have taken a decisive turn in our country with the population asked to take to the streets in order to bring about a change of direction,” Bishop Kome who doubles as the President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) adds.
There has been a tense political atmosphere in Cameroon after President Paul Biya announced the first Regional Elections scheduled to take place on December 6 in the Central African nation, according to a local media report September 7.
Regional elections in Cameroon are provided for in the 1996 Constitution but have never taken place. The anticipated poll will be an indirect ballot during which electoral colleges will choose 90 regional councilors with limited powers, including 20 representatives of traditional chiefdoms.
Against this backdrop, opposition leader Maurice Kamto, has called on Cameroonians to mobilize for a massive protest on September 22 to call on President Biya to step down.
Kamto’s Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (CRM) party has pointed out that the protests have been called after the opposition warned against the call for elections without a ceasefire in the English-speaking regions where years of fighting between the government and separatists have led to the loss of at least 3,000 lives.
On its part, President Biya’s government has said it wants to speed up the decentralization process and has warned against any attempt by opposition leaders to disrupt the December polls.
“I want to make it very clear that no disorder shall be tolerated from any political party or any political actor,” Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, has been quoted as telling journalists September 7 shortly after the convocation of the electorate for regional elections.
In the September 14 statement, Bishop Kome points out that “the failure, till date, to put in place in our country an electoral process that will clearly reflect the people's choice appears to be a scheme at the service of the ruling party with bitter experiences left to the majority of citizens.”
“Why has the current government produced such a deterioration in terms of mentalities and social welfare?” the Prelate probes adding that there is bad governance because the regime “has not reminded itself and others about what it means to ‘Exist’.”
Bishop Kome explains, “Existing, suggests to us that we are not made to care about ourselves, but to build the good of those around us. This is what Jesus Christ did when he left his heavenly comfort and offered his life for our salvation.”
He adds, “In the present state of affairs, we have succeeded in escaping from the demands of "existing" and, in doing so, we have become human beings without humanity.”
As a way forward, the 51-year-old Prelate says, “The most decisive - but not exclusive - revolution for our society today, therefore, consists of educating ourselves and teaching our children that Man is not made for the comfort of personal satisfaction, but for the joy of giving oneself to the service of the common good.”
“I would like to point out that this common good, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is the highest goal that every society must seek. Therein lies the solidity of the soil that allows a people to move forward,” Bishop Kome further says.
“This solid ground is built mainly by means of a consequent education that each parent, whether biological or sociological, can effectively give, at the most appropriate time, to the children placed under his authority,” the Cameroonian Prelate concludes.
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa