opinionBy Shey Peter Mabu
The love of one's country begins with the love of oneself, his kindred, and compatriots. Without this, it is difficult, if not impossible to sacrifice for all that which ensures, stability and progress.
Consequently, patriotism, the ingredient of progress which is demanded of all responsible citizens can be accessed from attributes and attitudes which range from responsible parenting and leadership, to cooperation and participation in issues of national interest.
This includes involvement in communal undertakings, sensitization, and election of representatives and leaders at various levels. Through this, citizens demonstrate a sense of responsibility which portrays their love for the country and its future. Besides, such love extends to the citizen's kindred who like other compatriots, are in need of love, peace, stability and progress.
Despites this rationale which concretizes genuine patriotism and political maturity, it is indeed a surprise, and indeed a disturbing scenario that at a time when the international community is bent on giving meaning to globalization and development through cooperation to ensure effective democratic practice, governments still face difficulties in getting a positive response from citizens. Yet, such citizens deplore what is happening in countries where negative responses to useful road maps cause apparently endless crises which send many to untimely graves.
To be honest, if we detest what is going on in the Middle East, and even in Africa where some of our neighbouring countries have not enjoyed peace since the attainment of independence, we must be patriotic enough to respond positively to what our government undertakes to ensure credible elections, transparency in management and accountability. For example, when the international community recommends biometric registration for elections and our government does not only welcome it, but also goes further to facilitate massive registration by making the acquisition of national identification free, what reasons do we give for not registering, not to talk of those who do not withdraw the cards even after they have been processed?
Why do we wait to be sensitized before we acquire a document that is needed not only for political participation, but also for travel and business transactions? For those who do not own national, identification but are not willing to be in possession of one, can we believe they or are simply unaware of its importance, or deliberately unconcerned about their own future? Yet, as responsible citizens, we have to be part what is being undertaken to ensure peace and progress for all citizens.
John Maxwell harped on the importance of this norm of live - and let - live when he said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." As far as patriotism and unity for progress is concerned, Vince Lombardi got his message across explicitly when he stressed, "If you are going to play together as a team, you've got to care for one another. You've got to love and care for each other."
As regards elections in Cameroon, keen observers today appreciate what the government is doing to render results credible. From the single party, and the single list system, to multi-party politics with different colours and logos, the opaque wooden boxes to today's transparent polling boxes, and from the Ministry of Territorial Administration in charge of elections to today's ELECTION CAMEROON, (ELECAM), who can doubt that government is at least listening to the people and reacting to their demands?
From the old system of registration to today's biometric system, we appreciate the changes aimed at rendering our elections credible. But the response by citizens should be positive enough to encourage our leaders in the task of ensuring peace, stability through the organization of elections that put the right compatriots in their right places. This, in fact, portrays our patriotism.