My dear young countrymen,
Last year, from the back of my prison at the Special Operations Group, I sent you a message, at the same time. I was telling you on that occasion that the political struggle for the liberation of our country is not a long and quiet river.
This observation remains true despite my release. In this regard, I would like to highlight the mobilization of Cameroonian youth during the peaceful marches scheduled for 1 and 8 June 2019, to demand my release and the release of all those who had been arrested under the National Plan of Resistance. Despite the severe sentences I was facing at that time, including the death penalty, thousands of young people across the country did not hesitate to defy administrative and police intimidations and suffered, for some, acts of torture, and for others, prison sentences.
This courageous mobilization is the proof that our country can, and must count on its youth. Proof that this youth knows how to stand against injustice, proof that they are ready to work for the liberation of our country.
It is for this youth that we have fought so far, and it is for this youth that we continue to fight, and will continue to, day after day, week after week.
Cameroonians aged 0 to 44 represent 87.3% of the general population (NIS). This means that the change for which we will be fighting will primarily benefit youth.
But, we all see on a daily basis, the poor economic performance of the current regime.
While Cameroonian youth are eager to work, bruised and frustrated as a result of unemployment and poverty, a few months ago, the government decreed the regions of the Far North, North-West and South – West, “economically affected Regions”.
For the first time in more than a decade, this year’s budget will be about $260 billion, lower than last year’s. Our country, as we see it, is falling apart economically at a time when the country is in great need of creating wealth and employment for its youth.
While our executioners hoped that our commitment to Cameroon and its youth would fade after our imprisonment, our determination remained the same throughout our prison stay. We take this opportunity to say clearly that we are even more determined today. The seriousness of the country’s situation forces us to redouble our efforts. Nothing can overcome our commitment to offer Cameroonian youth the well-being to which they are entitled. Politically, the country is not better. Those who are take Cameroonians hostage for peacefully demonstrating presented the election held yesterday (February 9) as a national emergency. We DO NOT AGREE!
With regard to this election, I would like to congratulate all those who have respected the boycott slogan and have refrained from giving their backing to the ill-treatment of Mr. BIYA’s regime.
As we have said and we maintain, any credible election in this country must be preceded by the resolution of war in the northwest and southwest regions on the one hand, and by consensual electoral reform on the other.
We are now all witnessing the indisputable triumph of our call for a boycott. That resulted in an unprecedented abstention in Cameroonian electoral history on the occasion of yesterday’s simulacry of double electoral votes 9 February 2020. It is therefore up to all of us, to draw the consequences of this umpteenth demonstration by the Cameroonian people, of the choice they have made to legitimize once again my modest person, and the cause that I defend in his sole interest.
Indeed, in a massive way, Cameroonians have by their boycott said NO to the willfulness. The figures in our procession show a participation rate of about 23%, or 77% of the abstention rate.
In addition to the Northwestern and Southwestern regions where there was simply no vote, in a city like Ebolowa, in the southern region, the voter turnout is about 15%, or 85% abstention. The international community, the one who patronized us on boycott, can with the exceptionally high level of abstention note the degree of mistrust that the regime of Mr. BIYA has by his incompetence and his political irresponsibility installed between it and the people with whom the MRC is located.
The double elections of 9 February 2020 were, like the presidential elections of 7 October 2019, the occasion of wild and grotesque frauds, even though the CPDM had, in complicity with the administration and ELECAM, made all the arrangements upstream for its victory.
Now that the Cameroonians can clearly establish which political party is working for real change and the liberation of our country, it is a new page in political life that opens. Cameroonians must write it with credible, modern, honest political actors, motivated by the interest of the nation and not the taste for profit and positioning.
As I said, the change we are advocating is for youth. I would add that, this change will be made with the youth and by the youth. This is an opportunity for me to appeal to young Cameroonians who are still hesitant to join the National Renaissance Project. It is a project that goes beyond the CRM. It is a project that involves all young Cameroonians. The rebirth of our country needs the vigor of its youth. I know that throughout the country, and even in the diaspora, our youth is full of talent and intelligence. GET MORE INVOLVED, YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!
In the last presidential election, the Cameroonians elected me on the basis of the political manifesto I presented to them. The “Youth and Education” project of this program provides for specific actions for each category of young people, both for those who are in school and for those who are not. Thus, the Vocational Training Centers in all the Communities, the Vocational and Technological Training Institutes in all the Departments are executives whose implementation will have a direct impact on the reduction of unemployment and poverty.
Universities of science and technology in all regions (or in federated entities), State funding of research and technical or technological projects on the basis of contracts, will enable the nation to benefit from the intelligence of its sons and daughters, at the level of the Superior. These are some aspects of this political program on the youth, a program which puts youth at the heart of the country’s economic take-off, both as an actor and as a beneficiary. This program, chosen by the Cameroonian people, is the one that can bring our country out of the political, economic, security and humanitarian deadlock, towards which we are led by a regime drunk with arbitrariness, ready to do anything to cling to a power that it now exercises by breaking and entering.
My young countrymen, a bright future awaits you. It is made up of opportunities, freedom and serenity. Together, we can succeed in opening a new page in the history of Cameroon. It is enough, for everyone, to make a useful gesture to change. Do not leave your children and grandchildren to fight the battles that are yours today. Do not go down in the History of our People as the generation that has not lived up to the events, a passive and complacent generation: one who, through fear or selfishness, has sacrificed the future of future generations. This message is also an opportunity for me to salute the youth of the diaspora in our country who have mobilized especially to make my European and North American tour a historic success. The youth in which I found important expectations regarding their participation in the development of our country.
I cannot close this speech without remembering and telling you that as a teacher myself, I am worried and indignant at the progress of violence in schools. Just as I am horrified to see that it is now focusing more and more on teachers. Here too, the solutions we are the bearers of are slow to be implemented. I also condemn with the greatest energy this sacrilege which has been committed on these teachers abused by the police for simply wanting to pay a legitimate and deserved tribute to their deceased colleague who died stabbed. May those who have been the victims of this unspeakable and anti-republican barbarism accept here the expression of my greatest solidarity and my moved compassion? You don’t deserve to be treated like this.
Take time on this Youth Day to reflect on our country. The current situation demands it of all of us.
To the Cameroonian youth from within as well as from the diaspora, I reiterate the commitment made during the presidential campaign of October 7, 2019: I will never betray you!
Long live the youth of Cameroon!
Long live Cameroon.
Maurice KAMTO, President Elected.