After 27 years as President of any Republic it is not easy to maintain attention on the day one came to power. Paul Biya of Cameroon has decided to generate a buzz by doing something unusual. At least, it is unusual for him.
He has opted to write a letter to his countrymen and of course supporters of his party - the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM).
Paul Biya generally addresses the nation by radio and TV broadcasts so, his option to use the print media is an innovation. What is more is that he sent it directly to all the daily papers in the country regardless of official(state) and private (independent) media dichotomy.
What did Biya have to say to Cameroonians? Read the President's letter below:
LETTER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC,
CPDM NATIONAL PRESIDENT
To all Cameroonians and CPDM Militants
My dear Compatriots, Dear CPDM Militants,
On the occasion of this 27th Anniversary of the New Deal, I am very pleased to address you, through this letter, on the future of Cameroon which depends on each and every one of us. It is our individual and collective responsibility. Each person in his own sphere and all of us together have to work actively to build that future. It will be the fruit of our collective effort. It will be what all of us want it to be.
For my part, I want to reiterate that I will never fail, as I promised, you will remember, when taking office as President of the Republic.
As you know, we are patiently building our country on solid foundations. When we look at the world around us, we appreciate better our options and actions, we better understand, I am sure, the need to specially and jealously ensure the strengthening of peace, reinforcement of democracy and consolidation of unity, which remain the pillars of nation building as well as guarantors of development, progress and our common future. Peace, unity and democracy are sound values which I have always advocated and which we must constantly consolidate. No price is too much to pay for them but they are still fragile. That is why today again, on this occasion, I am reiterating my appeal for permanent vigilance so as not to compromise our precious achievements in these domains. As for me, the ideal is that these values should be firmly and definitively entrenched in our attitudes, habits and behaviours.
Obviously, despite their importance, they cannot be ends in themselves.
Peace, democracy and unity can be meaningful only if they contribute to the overall development of the individual who is at the centre of the humanistic policy blueprint proposed by the New Deal to the Cameroonian people from the outset. I still hold to the same vision of things. The ultimate aim of my action is to achieve lasting development of Cameroon for Cameroonians. Cameroonians should be given the means to feed themselves, to receive medical attention, to house themselves, to raise and educate their children, to move freely and safely at all times and to secure employment. This is a great ambition, the greatest of my ambitions which I want to see become a reality for all.
In retrospect, you will realize that much progress has been done in many areas, despite all kinds of obstacles, especially recurrent crises which substantially deplete our resources, as well as our own shortcomings, particularly inertia, corruption and the embezzlement of public funds, which tarnish our image and deprive us of much needed facilities such as health centres, road infrastructure, classrooms, to name only these few priorities.
Building on our achievements but also aware of our huge needs and expectations, I will more ardently pursue the struggle to improve living conditions and social justice and to combat poverty. I will do so with even more determination especially as I know that I can always count on your support which has never failed me, particularly at the most difficult moments. I will pay particular attention to the implementation of identified major projects which will help in building the Cameroon of tomorrow.
I will leave no stone unturned in the search for solutions to the thorny problem of youth unemployment which, in my view, is one of the main concerns of today and tomorrow. I will pursue the moralization of behaviours and the fight against corruption and embezzlement of public funds. I will do so to the end because I have confidence in you.
In this regard, I would like to tell you that I do hear the appeals and motions of support you have been sending to me of recent. I thank you for them, very sincerely. They are the most eloquent signs of encouragement addressed to me in the discharge of my responsibilities at the helm of State.
Finally, I would like to trust you with a secret, if you do not mind. Whenever I happen to ponder over our national stakes and our common destiny, as it is certainly the case for each of you, I think of the Indomitable Lions who are strongest when their backs are against the wall and who always rise whenever they fall.
That is what I refer to as the “Spirit of Lions”, in other words “the fighting Lions spirit”. We should in all circumstances draw inspiration from it in order to outwit all ill-intended manoeuvres, avoid the numerous snares that have been set for us, particularly snares of discouragement and demobilization, but above all in order to rise up to the numerous challenges facing us. As we Cameroonians usually say: Nothing is impossible for us. Victories and progress are within our reach. Let us not be distracted by futile prophecies which have no other aim than to cast doubt, instil fear and even despair in our minds. Let us be confident in the future. Let us work even harder, let us be even more resolute, let us be more determined!
This is the only way we will together succeed and Cameroon will continue its forward march in peace, order and stability.
Yaounde, november 3, 2009