By Tilarious Atia*
On Friday, Ashu Nyenty, Ph.D., in analyzing the meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Cameroon’s sovereign H.E. Paul Biya, said it as he saw it.
He said, inter alia, that Biya’s word is not nebulous, to mean his word is not vague or ill-defined.
He said Biya’s word is not calamitous, to mean Biya doesn’t speak to cause a catastrophe.
Ashu Nyenty said Biya’s word is not idle, to mean Biya is purposeful.
The journalist-turned-jurist did not err in his use of the Queen’s Language. His adjectives were rightly used. The erstwhile chief of political service at CRTV radio did only his job as State House Reporter.
Remember that CRTV was once described by its current CEO as the “tam-tam” of the President. He was right coz CRTV is indeed state-owned. [For now, there is no distinction between the state and the party]
State media in one-party dominant polities are owned by the state or the government of the day (and financed out of public money) and directly controlled by it. It may perform a public service function or it may be a propaganda instrument of the state or government.
State and/or government media are also generally not-for-profit (although they, unfortunately, compete for adverts with the independent media).
All those who work for the state/government media are therefore the sovereign’s apple polishers – there are no exceptions. Therefore, leave Ashu Nyenty alone! Take your knees off his neck and let him breathe.
Citizens who seek to strengthen democracy work for it. Sadly, democracy in Cameroon is yet to transcend the parochial political culture where citizens are predominantly fairly ignorant of what constitutes wise decision-making and are easily being roused by demagogues.
Democracy without a turnover is at best fragile and untested; at worst, it is not really democracy at all.
Strong, credible, and rotatory opposition parties are necessary to provide checks and balances which are necessary ingredients for democracy to thrive. Without these ingredients, power will be absolute and absolute power as nineteenth-century British historian and philosopher Lord Acton posits, corrupts absolutely.
Even though these checks and balances on executive power may emanate from both the legislature and the judiciary, their effectiveness is questionable when the political landscape is largely dominated by one political party.
Liberal democracy is a stepping stone to progress and development. It is not limited to organizing elections every now and then without a turnover. Unfortunately, those who pass for the opposition and civil society leaders have shown beyond doubt that they are for the most part desperate to have their own share of the national gateau.
The opposition now goes to elections to see who among them will become the “leading opposition party”, not to take power. They have forgotten the fact that the primary objective of any political party is to ensure its survival by capturing and consolidating political power. [What a shame!]
Long stay in power generally results in loss of inspiration, enthusiasm, and charisma of a leader, while citizens, on the other hand, become apathetic, disgruntled, and disgusted with the regime. It is therefore the role of political parties and civil society to help the masses make informed political choices.
Wait not for the next elections to come before you are caught by time and unable to get a coalition or field candidates and polling agents nationwide only to cry foul. Start preparing today! Get a united opposition that can check the excesses of the government of the day for the benefit of the masses.
We need to achieve a liberal democratic tradition. This requires commitment from politicians to separate the party from the state. By so doing, government officials alongside other members of civil society would be allowed to express their sentiments without fear or favor; state officials will execute their functions based on impartiality and objectivity rather than on an expectation of political reward; party competition will be strong with an alternation of ruling party constituting a real prospect, corruption will be kept within bounds, abuse of power will be greatly curbed and the welfare of citizens will be greatly enhanced.
*Tilarious Atia is an award-winning journalist with over a decade of progressive reporting experience.