H.E Biya Says “Cameroon is One & Indivisible & Shall So Remain”


The Head of State, H.E President Paul Biya has said: Cameroon is one and indivisible and shall so remain. He was speaking to the Cameroonian citizens during his annual end of year address to the Nation on 31st December 2016 in Yaoundé. The speech came at the end of a year that saw Cameroonians experiencing deaths from the hands of one of the most demonic terrorist organisations Boko Haram; to the most ghastly train accident in her history; to football fever during the recent hosting of the Women African Cup of Nations in Cameroon; to a series of protests throughout the Anglophone regions that saw loss of lives, among others.

H.E President Paul Biya: Head of State of the Republic of Cameroon.

H.E President Paul Biya: Head of State of the Republic of Cameroon.

 

On Recent Events in North-West and South-West Regions

Referring to the events that have unfolded recently in the North-West and South-West Regions; President Biya stated that it was “UNACCEPTABLE” because due to “the acts of a group of manipulated and exploited extremist rioters, Cameroonians have lost their lives; public and private buildings have been destroyed; the most sacred symbols of our nation have been desecrated; economic activities have been paralyzed momentarily”. He added that “Physically and emotionally, we are deeply concerned about these events”.

He drew attention to the fact that every Cameroonian citizen can rightfully share his/her thoughts or opinion any aspect of national life, including through duly declared peaceful strike action, as a fundamental civil right desired by the Cameroonian people given that it is enshrined in the Constitution, but that “it is unbecoming of some people to use this context of freedom to commit acts of violence and try to undermine our country’s unity”.

The Head of state made very clear that: “it is not forbidden to voice any concerns in the Republic. However, nothing great can be achieved by using verbal excesses, street violence, and defying authority” He insisted that lasting solutions to problems can be found only through peaceful dialogue.

On Dialogue Regarding Concerns in North West and South West Regions

Mr. Biya acknowledged that “all the voices that spoke have been heard. They have, in many cases, raised substantive issues that cannot be overlooked”. He added that he has enjoined the Government to engage in frank dialogue with the various parties concerned to find appropriate solutions to the issues raised. I urge them to participate, without any bias, in the various discussions.

However he pointed out that “Cameroon’s unity is therefore a precious legacy with which no one should take liberties. Any claim, no matter how relevant, loses its legitimacy once it jeopardizes, even slightly, the building of national unity”

On Cameroon’s Bilingual Identity

The President stated that “all Cameroonians, without exception, have embarked on building a united, inclusive and bilingual nation. This is a unique experience in Africa” However he advised that “like any human endeavour, our experience is not perfect. There are aspects that can be improved. We should therefore listen to each other. We should remain open to constructive ideas, to the exclusion, however, of those that would affect the form of our State”

On Compromise “WE ARE READY TO GO AN EXTRA MILE”

H.E Biya stated that “besides the bodies that I instructed the Government to set up and which are already at work, we are ready to go an extra mile. We are willing to move in the footsteps and spirit of the architects of Reunification, and put in place a national entity which will be tasked with proposing solutions aimed at maintaining peace, consolidating our country’s unity and strengthening our resolve, and our day-to-day experiences of LIVING TOGETHER. And this should be done in strict compliance with our Constitution and our Institutions”.

On Boko Haram and Terrorism on Cameroon

The Head of State said: “I can safely say that in 2016, this terrorist group was driven to the wall. There seems to be hope that this shady terrorist group may not recover from the setbacks it has suffered”. He added that “Our defence and security forces beat back Boko Haram and put it on the defensive”. However Mr. Biya cautioned that there is a need to remain vigilant because of the possibility of isolated suicide attacks, like that of 25 December last.

He gave credit to the national defence and security forces, the Joint Multinational Task Force and cooperation with the Nigerian authorities for the current state of Boko Haram’s weaknesses. He also commended the support given Cameroon by her international partners to whom he extended thanks. The role played, courage and devotedness, by vigilante committees in Cameroon to foil planned attacks was also hailed.

On Economic Growth

The President said despite the burden of security spending, the Government has not relented in its effort to promote Cameroon’s economic growth. He stated that “many of our major first-generation projects such as the Kribi Port, the Lom Pangar Dam and the Memve’ele and Mekin power plants are virtually operational or about to be commissioned”.

On Central African economies, he pointed out that given the overall gloomy economic situation, “we should do better”. To that end, he opined that we must improve the management of all the economies of our sub-region which explains why on December 23 2016, “I deemed it necessary to convene a meeting of all CEMAC Heads of State in Yaoundé to enable us to take measures to revive growth in our zone, while accelerating the integration of our economies and the free movement of goods and people”.

He then called on investors to take advantage of the opportunities offered by regional integration or various economic partnership agreements to which Cameroon is a signatory, especially at a time when diversification is a veritable lifeline for CEMAC economies.

On Energy

To bridge the energy gap and end load shedding, Mr.Biya explained that other major projects such as the Bini à Warak, Menchum, Song Dong and Nachtigal power plants will supplement this programme. “Our power transmission and management problems will be resolved with the establishment of the National Electricity Transmission Corporation”.

On Road and Railway Network

He said the development of Cameroon’s road network is also progressing. That an extensive road construction or rehabilitation programme is ongoing nationwide; most notably: the Yaoundé-Douala and Nsimalen -Yaoundé motorways; the east or west entryways to Douala and the second bridge over the Wouri etc.

In the longer term, he added, “there are plans to create an inter-regional road and rail network to ease access to our mineral deposits and stimulate trade with neighbouring countries”.

On Jobs Creation

The president drew attention to the positive employment trends observed in recent years. He said as at October 2016, 320 000 new jobs were recorded, representing an increase of nearly 20% compared with the previous financial year.

That is why he insisted that “the main objective of boosting our energy capacity and extending our road network is to create the best conditions for our country’s industrialization. This is our major challenge for the coming decades”.

On “Our Heroic Indomitable Lionesses”

He called on Cameroonians to jointly applaud the Cameroon Female National Football team who gave their all without seeking vain and early glories to demonstrate hard work, resolve, talent, and bravery during the recent Women African Cup of Nations in Cameroon. He said “they won hearts through the quality of their performance in the game; they appealed through their moral quality and the ethics of the game which earned them the fair play trophy; they reflected Cameroon’s great diversity as they defended the national colours; and though they did not win the coveted trophy of the 2016 women AFCON, they brought joy and pride to an entire nation.
Such an excellent demonstration of patriotic fervour is an appeal to everyone, each in his or her specific sphere, to defend Cameroon’s future everywhere, in an exemplary manner”

Before concluding, the Head of State called on all Cameroonians to spare a thought for the Cameroon soldiers and civilians who fell while defending our fatherland in 2016, as well as for the victims of the recent Eseka railway disaster.

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