By Tata Mbunwe
The Archbishop of Douala, His Grace Samuel Kleda, has bemoaned what he said is corrupt officials milking Cameroon of her natural resources to line their pockets at the detriment of the masses. The bashing forms the highpoint of a pastoral letter he made public March 2.
He blamed “irresponsible, selfish, corrupt and unpatriotic kleptocrats parading as leaders” for the mismanagement and corruption characterising the management of public funds in Cameroon.
“Our country is being badly beaten, stripped of its wealth, its dignity, its honour, its human and natural resources, and is in agony, because of bad governance organized by its own sons and daughters,” Kleda said.
“At the source of most of these ills that are plaguing Cameroon today, is bad governance with the normalisation, legalisation and even institutionalisation of corruption in the management of the country. Bad governance disrupts political life and hinders the social, economic and even religious growth of the country. It destroys the achievements, compromises the legitimate aspirations of the citizens, and jeopardises the trust between the people and the rulers,” he added.
The prelate also decried “institutionalised corruption” eating up the system and the wastage of public resources which he said “paralyses the functioning of the state, creates injustice and inequality among the population and plunges the whole society into despair in the face of an uncertain and mortgages, even bleak future”.
He emphasised the need for Cameroonians to respect fundamental values, including respecting the dignity of every life, truth, justice, honesty, responsibility, freedom, love, equity and loyalty.
“Do we have the right to remain silent? Will our citizen and Christian conscience not place us before the court of history for having been accomplices, direct or indirect, passive or active supporters of a plot that has contributed to the destruction of Cameroon and mortgaged the future of millions of people, especially the youth, of this Africa?” he said.
“In the present day of our history, can we stand before the creator and affirm that we are managing this country so rich with so many resources that He has entrusted to us and that we have inherited from our ancestors?,” the man of God questioned.
Archbishop Kleda’s words on corruption and mismanagement reecho reports by local media on the mismanagement of billions of francs meant to fight COVID-19. Government claims to have investigated the saga, but more than one year since controversies, no one has been brought to book.
Instead, more embezzlement allegations continue to rock the management of public funds, including the recently constructed Olembe Stadium in Yaounde. Local authorities are also accused of indiscriminately selling state land in Buea, headquarters of the Southwest region, where several hectares of government land continues to be sold to private individuals on no account to the State.
‘Cameroonians Must Denounce Sin’
Amid these ills, coupled with human rights abuses, Kleda said the only way out is for Cameroonians to denounce sin. He said Cameroonians “must overcome the appetite for possession and illicit enrichment which are at the origin of these evils that undermine our country and operate a change of mentality and a radical and profound conversation”.
“Above all, let each one have the courage to renounce the sin that makes him complicit in the drift of our country. Let each one of us contribute to the fight against the ‘structures of sin,’ which paralyse and destroy Cameroon, its development, its growth and the wellbeing of its people.
“Let every Cameroonian, wherever he or she is and according to his or her activity, commit himself or herself in an honest and responsible way to the transformation of our country according to the values of the Gospel,” Kleda said.