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Hold Parents Accountable
A New Paradigm for African Development?
It is déjà vu all over again in Africa: A public official is appointed or promoted today and the public
knows that it is just a matter of time before their rags become riches. As a matter of fact, the public
has become so cynical of this fact; it is not only an expectation, it is an imperative. Family members,
including the spouse and kids, feel the moment and take appropriate steps to adapt to the nouveau
riche lifestyle of decadence and opulence. Close and distant relatives, friends and foe, community
and village know that salvation has come to one of theirs.
A one time Minister of Foreign Affairs in The fact of the matter is that these are
La Republique du Cameroun, Hon. by people whom we know. They are our
parents. In some cases, they are our
Francis Nkwain had a refrain when
addressing the population of his native
Kom land: “I am now on top of the tree
Innocent Chia friends. Around beer parlors and office
spaces and our homes, we sit and beat
and I will make sure that you, my our chests about how well connected we
brothers and sisters, are eating the ripest readily become dismissive of these are to this or tha person. Therefore, we
and juiciest fruits”. This write-up argues treacherous acts when reality hits close to know them. In 2006, close to a decade
that if anything, the children of Africa the heart? and half after Haman Adji (a.k.a "the
have to tell their parents that “enough is whale hunter”), Cameroon's former
enough”! We have to be proactively La Republique du Cameroun in Central- Minister of Public Service and
telling our parents that we will no longer West Africa, (estimated population of 16 Administrative Reforms, resigned in the
watch-on as they steal, with impunity, the million) topped the world corruption wake of his public outcry against
treasuries and resources belonging to us. charts in consecutive years, 1999 and corruption in some of the highest quarters
2000, according to the German based of government, the Biya regime probably
Part of this renaissance will require that Transparency International. Who were succumbed to International pressure and
politicians and administrators not be those responsible for the corruption? Or timidly sat up on its ass by making some
looked at in abstract terms. Every did the money just disappear into thin significant arrests. Among these were the
politician has a name. They also have air? arrests of Gérard Emmanuel Ondo
families; unless they lay claim to be the Ndong, the former Director General of
pretentiously self-made Mr. Bounderby in We have memories of the once notorious FEICOM (in charge of financial assistance
Hard Times by Charles Dickens. In their Minister of Communications Prof. to local councils) accused embezzling
overwhelming numbers, they have Kontchou Kouomegni unashamedly about 29 million dollars in less than five
children, nieces, cousins. They have you stating at a press conference that money years; Gilles Roger Bélinga former
and they have me. Let us start with this he was carrying to the unpaid soccer Director General of the Cameroon Real
author's father, Prof. Chia Emmanuel. players of the national team, the Estate Company (SIC), and Joseph Edou,
Have I made the effort to entertain any Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the former Director General state land loan
conversations about his administrative 1994 World Cup in the U.S, had fund - Crédit Foncier du Cameroun.
style as Vice Chancellor of the University vamoosed somewhere in flight between
of Buea, or current Director of the the Paris and Washington! A few months Whether we personally know of these
Advanced School of Translators and later, it is alleged that he erected a multi- three examples or not, there are others
Interpreters (ASTI) in Buea? Are these storey building at the heart of down-town that we know. The question that begs to
discussions worth having? What have you Yaoundé. Was there any connection to be asked is: What are we telling them
told your own parent who is strongly the money that had mysteriously about corrupt practices and policies that
rumored to have swindled public funds? disappeared under his care? Was there endanger our future as their children or
Is it a discussion worth having, or do we ever any investigation into the matter? the future of their grand-children or great-

Or igina l ly Wr itte n for : http:/ / w w w . gr e a ti mh o te p. c o m

Hold Parents Accountable
A New Paradigm for African Development
Let's talk...before Dad or Mom is making the
next news headlines with handcuffs
grand-children? Are we having that long as we pay the abominable interest
discussion at all? Are you telling your rates.
father that, at the very least, you find it
morally embarrassing that he is The choices are clear: Will you speak out
occupying two high level positions in the now or will you forever keep your mouth
administration? For example, how can shut and be an accomplice to the public
one individual be the Vice Prime Minister looting of your parent(s)? If you chose to
of the Republic and Minister of Mines hold your peace, then stop complaining
and Energy with residence in Yaoundé, about all that is going wrong in Africa. If
and also the Director-General of the you chose to keep quiet, then stop the
State-owned electricity corporation whining about the dictatorships and lack of
(SONEL) located hundred of miles away good governance. If you elect to watch on,
in the city of Douala, as was once the then blame no one for the wanton spread
case with Niat Njifenji in the 1990s? Is it of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. If you
possible that he is superhuman? And we think your silence changes nothing, then
wonder why things do not get done... do not be appalled by the child soldiers
that emerge during every conflict in Africa.
All across Africa and far out in Europe If you still feel like it is none of your
and America, children of Africa watch on business to talk to your parent or guardian,
as their parents rule with impunity and rejoice when CNN and FOX and other
disregard for the citizenry. It would be media show the starving mothers of Africa,
naïve to think that some progeny of these and celebrate the ongoing carnage in
morally bankrupt officials will cut off the Darfur.
finger that feeds them. After all, will you
tell your Dad who is about to pay off your You know where I stand. I am talking, even
$20,000 tuition fee in America that you when they do not seem to be listening.
do not need any of his blood money? Let’s talk… before Dad or Mom is making
the next news headlines with handcuffs
It boils down to personal morality and and you have your head buried in sand like
responsibility. But children of Africa must an ostrich.
do what their judicial, legislative and
executive arms of government have
woefully failed to do. Asking for
accountability is no longer an option. It is
a duty which must begin from the home
front. After all, “charity begins at home.”
For too long, charity has been hijacked to
mean personal benefit at the expense of
the collective. In the short term, which
spans the lifetime of our parents, it has
meant amassing stolen public wealth and
swindling them into private Swiss
accounts. In the long run, however, it
means that you and I and our kids will
perish under the burden of foreign aid \
packages that will keep on coming as

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