Opinion: How Cameroon is rotten from the head

By Nganji Chi Tande


We used to hear say, “A fish starts rotting from the head.” At first I didn’t understand that this was a wise saying which could apply in every situation. As a Cameroonian of no minor upbringing, I can now relate the rotten fish saying to my country. You cannot accuse me for being unpatriotic because I say these things about my country:

It’s in Cameroon that I have seen that people who are at the top can do anything and go away with it. How does a man fight to be appointed to a post in a ministry and use that post to steal money meant for service or project? That same director seeks to recruit fellow workers into pernicious sects, into which he himself got initiated before being appointed?

Since they say the separate ministries have each a budget but to obtain the money on a budgetary head for a project it must be through the Ministry of Finance, which is the real possessor of the financial power.

According to the German-based charity organization, Transparency International, Cameroon is one of the most corrupt countries in the world where money changes hands illegally in the public the service.

For the money to be paid from the Finance ministry, a director or some fellow who has to treat the file asks for a percentage of the money, which must be paid to him before the money is released in the form of a “BON ” that someone has to go and cash it from the treasury?

The TPGs or ‘Tresorier payeur’ general as they are called, are the worse thieves. They are made all powerful by the regime and tax collectors as they are, steal from the public purse and nobody does anything to them. These very tax collectors go around in flashy cars bought with stolen money, sponsor mistresses, build houses for their girl friend and do other nasty things with state money and nobody holds them accountable. They organize parties, make girls dream of having a tax collector for boyfriend.

I say, the regime makes little gods of these tax collectors (tpg) and those who put them there hear from them because they are their hunting dogs. This is the system we have in place, and which wants every other person to “subir“; whatever that means in that rotten language.

Everything is done to force every person to bow to the rules they have tailored for the majority poor. They render the poor man poorer. Imagine that someone has managed to put money aside to register for a competitive examination, and when he manages to pass the written part, the so-called authorities ask these poor young ones for an envelope before they can be made to pass –glaring injustice going around for so many years that has become the norm.

We cannot continue in this 21st Century to collect money from every road user in the name of Toll Gate for personal enrichment while the roads degrade by the data and become death traps and we say we don’t have a problem?

Public accountability doesn’t exist in the French language. It is common in the French system if governance to have people squeezed to the point they cannot breathe again, pushed to the wall and left with no option than to rebel. Excuse me, the French system of governance recruits bandits, both those in offices called “volleur a colle Blanche“, and those who rob houses and render life unlivable by honest citizens, and you say we don’t have any problems? However, some people feel good in this rottenness, but others feel very uncomfortable.

If every other ” demuni (depraved) Cameroonian looked around him in this 21st Century he would not mind where he comes from seeing all or a minority few has pushed every other citizen to the wall. You cannot continue to suffer in silence all in the name of a patriot. Wake up, open your eyes and see. There is however much to this generalized injustice than meets the eyes.

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