Cameroonian international lawyer, Barrister Akere Muna, has intensified his fight for a corruption-free Cameroon by relaunching a movement that, he says, aims to empower Cameroonians to monitor corruption from the grassroots.
The Now Movement, as the movement is called, seeks to “reignite the flame of trust and transparency” in Cameroon, he said.
This will be done by “entrusting citizens with the responsibility of monitoring, tracking, and scrutinizing budgeted projects in their different localities”.
As part of activities to revamp the movement, he organised a workshop in Yaounde on September 6–7, where over 50 participants rallied to discuss the impact of corruption on society and how it can be tackled.
“NOW stands poised to embark on a groundbreaking journey. Armed with an unshakeable belief in the power of unity,” Barrister Akere said.
“NOW stands henceforth as an indomitable force, boldly ready to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow with zero tolerance for corruption.”
The Now Movement became popular in 2018 when Barrister Akere Muna contested for the Presidential elections. But it went dormant after the elections.
The political movement, which he used for the 2018 presidential campaigns, is refocusing on corruption at a time when the ill is endemic in the country.
Notable among them is what is now known as the Glencore Affair.
In the first half of 2022, Akere Muna unearthed a corruption scandal that entangled state corporations in a fraud involving FCFA 7 billion.
The Anglo-Swiss multinational mining and commodities company, Glencore, bribed Cameroon’s state-owned corporations, SONARA and SNH, to “secure improper advantages to obtain and retain business” with them.
Thanks to Barrister Akere’s persistent campaign and whistleblowing, the United States Justice Department and the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office picked interest in the case and found the allegations to be true.
“The nefarious Glencore corruption scandal was thoughtfully analyzed, unraveling the labyrinthine complexities of deceit and manipulation,” Akere Muna said.
However, the Glencore affair is an isolated case of many corruption scandals that have involved Cameroonian officials and companies in the recent past.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC), Cameroon lost over 44 billion FCFA to corruption in 2021.
The most corrupt sector, as CONAC pointed out, was the forces of law and order. It also pointed out some key government ministries, including the Ministry of State Property and Land Tenure, the Ministry of Public Health, Education, Finance, Transport, Decentralization and Local Development, Trade, and the Ministry of Justice.
Despite CONAC’s report, it appears the government has not been taking corruption seriously.
The renowned think tank, Nkafu Policy Institute, wrote last year that corruption prevails due to the government’s “lack of the will to fight corruption”.
Although President Paul Biya has increasingly trumpeted his government’s determination to fight corruption, the Nkafu Policy Institute says the anti-corruption reforms are implemented at a very slow pace.
Barrister Akere Muna’s fight against corruption seems like a lonely fight, as corruption is being normalized across all sectors. Very few public officials and Cameroonians at large seem bothered about changing the norm.
Through the Now Movement, Barrister Akere thinks ordinary citizens must take it upon themselves to check corruption at the grassroots level.
He said the Now Movement seeks to use budget tracking as an important tool to empower citizens to actively participate in the pursuit of accountability.