Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Youth Activist Picks unanswered issues in Biya's New Year Address

Buea, Cameroon—Read  the response of the Cameroon Country Coordinator of the Organization of African Youth (OAYouth), to the Head of state’s 2015 New Year address to the Nation last December 31, 2014. (Unedited)

Jude Thaddeus Njikem
As a youth activist, I make it a point of duty to follow up on policy development and major pronouncements that might have an impact on young people. I therefore listened to the speech by the President of the Republic of Cameroon and read the transcript and I felt oblige to write, at least since the Cameroon National Youth Council is unable to comment on our behalf.
As my friend Nadege Yoko puts it, it was a speech well made, the president made very interesting pronouncements about the importance of peace and development, which are intrinsically linked.
Let’s look at the other unreported issues;
Appreciate the efforts of BIR for fighting the insurgency in the North. Greatly appreciated, our hearts go out to the fallen soldiers who have lost their lives in the fight. We pray, your families find consolation. You have proved to us that you can be more patriotic than some of us who sit and complain like I am doing.
What I don’t understand is why a speech such as this, which is supposed to give insights to the common man, on the state of the country-is empty with statistics. We don’t hear how much of public investment budget was spent, how many schools , bridges, hospitals, were built or teachers recruited, farm to market roads tarred, we don’t know which effort at alleviating poverty has been successful and what strategies will be deployed subsequently.
Malaria, one of the main course of maternal deaths is free but Président Paul Biya, would you please instruct the Ministers of Health, Communication to reiterate this information to all stake holders and communities in a country where there are more private clinics/hospitals than state owned,? How does the malaria treatment go in those private hospitals? Is it the same as with education section where primary education is free in government run schools but expensive in private run schools?
283443 new jobs created in 2014? It would be quite interesting for the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training to break it up for us as well as in terms of underemployed and percentage of unemployed youths.
What more did the recent triennial appraisal report say about Growth and Employment Strategic Paper?
What steps have been taken to use up the Public Investment Budget?
We were unable to use 1000 billion in 2014, can we use more in 2015? Public contracts marred by poor execution, late deliveries etc, how will this be addressed in 2015?
Industrial development/big companies are coming, we clap our hands and welcome them, what about starting small businesses for our youths?
When will the Small and Medium Size Enterprise bank be eventually put in place and what steps have been taken to promote startup and support Small and Medium Size Enterprise?
Moving from a state-dominated economy to a more liberal system would mean prices of goods and services be moderated by global market prices? I wonder however why despite the fact that global petroleum prices have faced its lowest, we are still tight to the increment signed by Prime Minister Yang, and does commonsense not tell us it is a state dominated economy?
"...I make it a point of duty to follow up on  policy development"
As a response mechanism to Ebola outbreak, we closed down our borders with Nigeria, what is our emergency response mechanism, aside from shutting down our borders? How prepared is our state?
With regards to the Anti – Terrorism Law, I reserve my comments to a later date, at least when my team would have advised me but one question that lingers is “why try civilians in military courts?” in my opinion, we have shifted from the democratic institution we wanted to build and have put our citizens at the fore of intimidation and entrapments
“man weh no know anything, make he lock mouth. No spit noting man tok like me”
Jude Thaddeus Njikem
Vice President and Cameroon Country Coordinator
Organization of African Youth

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