Breaking Barriers To Empower !
P.O. Box 273,Buea-Cameroon
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
CAMEROON: PRESIDENT BIYA SHOULD DECLARE HIS ASSETS
Hon.Ayah Paul,PAP Presidential Candidate
By AYAH Paul ABINE
The constitutional provisions making mandatory the declaration of assets by persons holding certain public offices will soon be fifteen years old. The declaration must be upon assuming office as when leaving office. It is of common knowledge that the intention of the legislature was to fight corruption: the amassing of wealth by persons in public offices at the expense of the general interest.
First among the persons in question is the President of the Republic. And the cap fits well when one considers the Cameroonian slogan that the truth and the good example come from the top. What is more, the President in Cameroon, it would appear, cannot be held to account for his stewardship to the people. His position has been strengthened further by the constitutional amendment of 2008 granting him immunity when in office and after leaving office.
Be the situation as it may, if the constitutional provisions had been complied with, allegations against the President of the Republic about ill-gotten wealth would either have been averted or grounded from one’s personal knowledge. Cases of ill-gotten wealth in France and elsewhere against the President which the Minister of Communication ridicules himself attempting to combat in manner akin to the concealment of falsehood in a net would have been nonstarters.
No law there is that persons in those positions should not acquire wealth. The law is against the acquisition of wealth to the detriment of the common wealth. This requires a neat demarcation between the personal interest of the President and the general interest. In the circumstance, the absence of transparency begets suspicion and speculation which no amount of denial can dispel in toto.
Fundamentally, the salary of the President must be of public knowledge. It is the base against which assets acquired during his tenure of office is assessed. In the absence of such vital ingredient, any assessment would be totally in the abstract with suspicion and speculation persisting.
Equally indispensable is the public nature of the declaration. The law in force by which the declaration of assets is wholly secret is as idle as calling for rescue from the grave. The tabling of the Bill in parliament, let alone the adoption of the Bill, was the worst thing that happened to the fatherland besides the 2008 constitutional amendment. One may be bold enough to equate it to fraud on the population. It is all the more unfortunate that even the terrible law is languishing in a presidential drawer several years since its enactment.
Aside from legality, one should like to call on President Paul Biya to follow Paul Ayah’s example, however unorthodox. After all, the President has without doubt copied several examples from Ayah’s “My Vision of a Born Again Cameroon” already. It cannot be argued to the contrary lest to prove that the President needed more than twenty-eight years to perceive the obvious. Three examples of such copying should seat our assertion.
His declaration of intent to procure low-cost houses for the military is an adulteration of Ayah’s vision for barracks for the military. Secondly his sending New Year wishes through sms was copied from Ayah’s Christmas messages through sms. Even prior to Christmas, the Ayah national strategic team had sent thousands of sms to Cameroonians about The 3rd Option. And the President’s prescription of free treatment for simple malaria for children under five is another adulteration of Ayah’s vision of consultations free of charge in government’s hospitals for all Cameroonians. Declaring his assets as Ayah has done therefore would only be within the pattern.
In general, one holds the opinion that the declaration of assets is of absolute necessity for all presidential candidates. Their bids to replace the incumbent would be sterile if they meant replacing the person simpliciter. Ayah’s vision is a fundamental change: adopting a new way of doing things – securing a systemic change. To show therefore that a presidential aspirant will conduct state affairs differently, the declaration of his/her assets is indispensable: it is the birth of integrity. Failure so to do should lead Cameroonian voters to question the candidate’s integrity. Such candidate’s crusading for the presidential chair would be nothing more than taking over to have one’s own turns: very like hunting with the hound and running with the hare.
In normal circumstances where integrity is the golden rule, the conscience should dictate that whoever fails to declare his/her assets ought to withdraw from the race!