28 February 2018

Cameroon: Cloudy Method, Doubtful Investigation

Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo
Women in Mbalmayo, Cameroon, clad in dresses with the image of Cameroonian President Paul Biya,

Between approximate statistics and imaginations, the report falls short of objectivity and the sincerity of the investigator remains suspicious to many.

Bashing Cameroon's Head of State for "spending 1,645 days abroad and gulping 65 million dollars since taking office in 1982" as an investigation supported by 'Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project' has done may not be news to keen observers of the country's political functioning.

On the eve of elections like what Cameroon is bracing up for at moment, smear campaigns on the personality of the Head of State are commonplace. What is however curious with the yet another of such campaigns, relayed by national and international media organs, is the method used to arrive at conclusions and the pertinence of the 'investigation' likewise the sincerity of the 'investigator'.

While many may be learning of the institution for the first time, objective readers and listeners who have gotten abreast with what the organisation is holding against President Paul Biya would certainly be asking many questions. Obviously so because of the way it presents the information.

Why would a report tagged 'investigative' be based on imaginations and approximate statistics? Logical thinking suggests that qualifying someone who has been in power for 35 years (about 12,800 days) and spending 1,645 days (4.5 years) of the period abroad as a "roaming President" is nothing but bad faith. Regular users of hotels know so well that the amount displayed at the lobby for potential customers and what interested clients finally pay is most often at variance given that every business is bargained.

Relying solely on what they saw wherever on the cost of the presidential journeys could be largely misleading. Moreover, scholars can agree that investigations of that nature are better consumable when they are comparative. President Paul Biya has not been compared with any other Head of State within and without Africa in the report.

The fact that the report failed to pit the Head of State with let's say 10 or at least five of his peers elsewhere speak of an invisible hand that doesn't mean well for Cameroon and Cameroonians.

Alluding that "the country's citizens have become increasingly frustrated with his repeated absences" without quoting even one of the citizens anywhere lends credence to a school of thought that the report is a cooked up affair to destabilise the country and disturb peace-loving citizens who are simply longing for tranquillity to live and let others live.

The report further still lacks in consistency. How could the same report at one point talk of, "the total excludes official trips which add up to an additional year" and at the same time elsewhere in the same article caption a graphic chart on 'Analysis of Biya's trips abroad' as "Duration of Paul Biya's official and unofficial trips ahead?" Disturbing ambiguity indeed! Wise thinkers hold that the only thing in life that has and can herald consistency is truth.

And that lies, no matter how tactful the perpetrator is, can never be consistently told. The cloudy nature of the method used in the investigation, the pertinence of its conclusions and the legitimacy of the investigator clearly leaves many an observer with the feeling of a smear campaign on someone who rightfully got the mandate from still-conscious citizens.


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