May 28 2010

Tears for Cameroon

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 10:35 AM

The respected analyst of crises and conflicts, the International Crisis Group, issued a report this week on the benighted nation of Cameroon, one of Africa’s most well-endowed and astonishingly beautiful countries. Politically, Cameroon seems frozen in time, the victim of the weak, yet insistent leadership of Paul Biya, who is approaching 30 years at the helm of a country of 20 million people. The ICG report sheds a welcome light on the unusual history of Cameroon, and its prospects for change, which are ruled poor by the ICG. “Having pushed back democratic advances, the ruling elites now offer little but a politics of stagnation and corruption,” the report concludes. While dismissing the idea that Cameroon, because of the profound domestic opposition to Biya, is “a tinderbox waiting for a spark,” the ICG highlights the potential for conflict in a country where dissent is repressed, media tightly controlled and the best and the brightest leave for Europe and the U.S. This last factor, emigration, weakens civil society of Cameroon and thus perversely “may further reduce the potential for conflict.” Yet Biya is 77 years old and has made no plans publicly for a successor. The worst scenario is a succession crisis that plunges the country’s into disorder, or worse, civil war. While the international community appears unwilling to pressure Biya into stepping down, the least outsiders can do is to demand that he agrees never to stand for re-election as President and that he forms a fair and effective plan to install a new leader in the even to his death.

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