Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Magazine Review - 'Virtues of Tolerance' Under New Deal Government

A reference document on President Biya's 30-year stewardship has been published by the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency.

No one else can analyse, criticise or evaluate the 30-year rule of President Paul Biya better than Cameroonians themselves. Yet, focusing the debate on the legacy of the New Deal regime and the longevity of President Paul Biya in power can just be one side of the debate. Consequently, "Le temps des Réalisation", a publication by the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic has tailored its 6th edition to match the times. That is, the 30th anniversary of the accession of President Paul Biya to power on 6 November 1982.

Rather than the usual 36-page monthly magazine, the November edition of the magazine is a special 68-page document rich in graphics and statistics on the evolution of the country during the last 30 years. The editorial, by-lined by the Minister, Director of the Civil Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic, Martin Belinga Eboutou, begins directly with the crucial issues. The editorial is entitled; "The Virtue of Tolerance or the Paradigm of Paul Biya's Longevity in Office."

While it is obvious that; "In the society of democracy that the National New Deal architect instituted, there is no way people can stop talking, nor is there a way people can have a common opinion, even if propitious judgement requires more serenity and objectivity." From every indication, "in Cameroon, longevity is not synonymous with dictatorship or despotism, that longevity is not synonymous with stagnation."

The facts in the magazine are evident. In the area of diplomacy, Cameroon fully joined the International Organisation of the Francophonie in 1990 and the Commonwealth in 1995. While reinforcing traditional partnerships and pan-Africanism, the country has equally focused on stronger ties with the United Nations Organisation, UNO. The total sovereignty that President Biya ensured for Cameroon over Bakassi is just one example of the fallout of such diplomacy of peace, justice, equity in relations among nations and respect for legality.

Within the national territory, social liberties have not only been marked by the number of political parties created, but also the indicators of press freedom and the respect of human rights. Compared to 1982, Cameroon today counts 282 political parties, 101 newspapers, 80 radio stations and 18 television channels.

Added to this is the number of State Universities that have moved from one in 1982 to eight today, 5,000 km of tarred roads compared to 1,330 km in 1982, an exponential growth in the number of Government Secondary and High Schools, health units, and so on indicate that; "The Cameroon of Paul Biya is a country on the move. Without drumbeats and trumpets, she is a country resolutely on the peaceful march towards prosperity and emergence."

Invariably, the magazine presents an insight into how Cameroon under Paul Biya has evolved, giving facts and figures on governance, decentralisation, the permanent search for transparency in the electoral process, indiscriminate and the ruthless fight against corruption. Others are; breakthroughs in the promotion of women to decision-making positions, youth development, modernisation of the economy to ensure an emerging Cameroon by 2035, Major Accomplishments policy on the move, health care infrastructure, development of the New Information and Communication Technologies, higher education and job creation.

Entitled; "The Peaceful March Towards Prosperity and Emergence," the editorial in English and French is followed by a focus that covers pages 4-32 in French and the same information found from pages 33 to58 in English. Pages 59 to 68 duel on topical issues by the Head of State and First Lady, Chantal Biya. The tables, diagrams and illustrations not only render the magazine agreeable, but also call for a keen attention from readers.

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