Sunday, December 23, 2012

PAP is the only political party that provides youth an opportunity to help develop Cameroon: Raymond Akoson

Raymond Akoson
 If People Action Party (PAP) is fast gaining grounds especially in the Southwest Region, it is largely because many youth have embraced the party and are working tirelessly to make it the leading opposition party that has practical solutions to Cameroon’s socio-political and development problems. The Recorder caught up with a young but very dynamic PAP member, Raymond Akoson, who is a parliamentary hopeful for Manyu and he granted the following interview.

Sir, several months ago, you declared your wish to represent Manyu at Parliament .Can we know how far you have gone with parliamentary preparation?

In a few months time, I’ll represent the interest of the people of Manyu at the National Assembly. If elections were to take place now, PAP as a party would score nothing less than 95 % of the votes. That’s how prepared I am. That’s how prepared we are!

The opposition has always, before elections, sounded confident but after elections, they start lodging complaints of fraud and irregularities here and there.

First off, it’s very important to note that the CPDM is the common enemy. The opposition in general has failed woefully to seize political power. PAP has come as the third option .You may wish to know that I was the brain behind the creation of National Strategic Team, AYAH Paul for President that metamorphosed to the strategic team of PAP and now the PAP National Council of the Wise. I know firsthand, where PAP as a party went wrong in the October 2011 presidential polls. The CPDM took advantage of the lapses and stole PAP victory in many divisions across the entire triangle.

What are those lapses and how are you addressing them?
Like I said earlier, if elections were held today, I’d give the CPDM a defeat in Manyu. In fact, let me inform you that I will replace Hon.Rose Abunaw as MP of this constituency with the coming elections.. . We’re already prepared! About the lapses? Remember that you do not tell the mouse where you are placing the mousetrap. However, some of them are not secrets. Let me explain: firstly, remember that most of the lapses centered about the official campaign period of just two weeks which is too short for the party to; 1) Nominate its candidate, 2) Assemble all documents required by law to register our candidate Hon. AYAH Paul for the elections, 3) Officially delegate and provide training to some 2,100 polling agents across all the polling stations around the country,4)Make our case to the electorate
So you see, all of these plus much more for us sending a candidate for the office of president for the first time was really daunting. At polling stations where opposition agents were absent, the CPDM succeeded to bribe CPDM CAM (sorry, ELECAM representatives) and had a field day. And in those stations where we had agents, some were ill trained and were easily intimidated by CPDM officials who went from station to station posing as ‘administrators’. Such that at polling stations where as little as 50 persons participated in the polls, CPDM’s ELECAM said 500 persons voted and all voted CPDM. In order to curb this lapse, I have already gotten all my polling agents for all polling stations across Manyu including two scrutineers per station and three extra agents who will stand out of the station watching guard permanently for the day ready to tip the population at the least attempt to rig. By the way, note that failure to constitute the Constitutional Council, PAP has resolved that electoral disputes will be settled on the spot! And with all due respect, to Whom It May Concern: a thief is a thief – whether it’s an election thief or an armed robber. We, the people will use any means necessary to jealously protect our hard won victory, irrespective of whose ox is gored in process.
Secondly, although not hitch-free, the biometric voter recompilation process is checking multiple registrations. Thirdly, CPDM shouldn’t think they’ll bring bags of money to bribe our representatives at the final vote counting at the divisional level because I’ll personally supervise the exercise on behalf of my party.
Some people have always asked that what if PAP wins at the final vote counting but the Supreme Court or the Constitutional Council announces something else reminiscent of the 1992 election proclamation. Well, like I have always categorically stated, then someone is going to get ‘Mubarrakked’ – the edifice would’ve been cracked. The mortar would just have to crumble….

. When you go to the field, what do you tell your electorate?
Official campaigns have not started so my regular field work is to sensitize the population about the entire electoral process. I also tell the electorate that we cannot use the same players with the same old strategies and expect a different result. And that my vision for Manyu is multi-dimensional and centers about working in close synergy with Manyu leaders and international partners towards uplifting Manyu from its current economic doldrums to a thriving 21st century economy that would create jobs for the youths through the advancement of modern agricultural practices and erection of plantations. A buoyant economy will automatically attract social amenities such as descent hospitals/clinics, good schools as well as state of the art infrastructure.
 In the meantime, while work is being done to stimulate Manyu’s economy, urgent basic necessities such as safe drinking water, electricity, inter village roads etc will be progressively provided. These will give the Manyu man the opportunity to lead lives of dignity they haven’t lived since time immemorial. This, other political solutions and much more are contained in my manifesto, ‘Manyu Metamorphosis’.
As the name suggests, it is about complete transformation of Manyu.  I also tell them that PAP stands in good stead to better represent their interests at the National Assembly and not handclap some demi-god to remain president for life.
Voter apathy is a problem in Cameroon, and Manyu has not been spared by the phenomenon. What strategies have you adopted to get the people especially those who support you to register in the electoral registers and vote when the time comes?

We’re regularly in the field sensitizing and educating Manyu people on political consciousness. Also, my candidacy is greatly inspiring the youths. When a people see reason to vote, they register. Akoson and his vision constitute good enough reasons for the youths to flock to the polls. Remember the high level of political apathy in America - an apathy undone by Obama’s inspiration. It’s a similar scenario we’re experiencing in Manyu today.
 There’s a school of thought that Mr.Akoson is too young for the parliamentary job.  Your reaction to this belief?
In his book, ‘My Vision of a Born Again Cameroon’, Hon. AYAH, National SG of PAP states that his vision for Cameroon is to see a 60 percent – 40 percent share of power between the youths and adult respectively. And he is only matching words with action by fielding young people like me in the coming twin elections. A super scale judge that Hon Ayah is,he  doesn’t think I am too young, I do not think I am too young, the youths who are so excited about my bid do not think I am too young either. Those who go about saying I am too young are CPDM agents who are panic-stricken about the youthful bids
In fact, Sections 156 and 175 of Law No. 2012/001 of April 19, 2012 defines age eligibility for Members of the National Assembly and Municipal Councilors… and guess what, at 23, you are eligible, age- wise to run. By the way, suffice to state that in Uganda, Hon. Proscovia Alengot Oromait, a 19-year-old High School graduate became Africa’s youngest MP. She represents the constituency of Usuk of some 100,000 people, in eastern Uganda; Hon. Anton Amad√© Abele, at only 18, was elected the youngest ever member of the Swedish parliament; Hon. Wyatt Roy was elected to the South Australia’s House of Assembly as a parliamentarian at just  20 a few years ago; and even in the almighty United States, Republican Congressman Aaron Jon Schock for Illinois's 18th congressional district was elected at just 29 in 2009. I am 30, I am older than all four examples from four different democracies across four different continents including Africa. I am too old to become a parliamentarian.
Would you want to pass on a message to the Youth?
Yes! Cameroonian youth must embrace Hon. AYAH’s vision for them. It’s an opportunity that must not be missed. Let the youths join us and remake this country. Remember it’s only in PAP that youths have such an opportunity to help in developing Cameroon. So, youths come on board! You and I constitute the change we’ve been waiting for. Like I have always stated, time has come, I believe, for our leaders to start training the youths to take over the mantle. Effective, efficient and rigorous training does not constitute issuing subservient roles; rather, it involves sitting side by side on the round table for policy and decision making and thorough brainstorming on the normative values that undergird progressive issues. Ayah Paul of PAP takes great pleasure in working with the youths. I am proud to work with him. 
First published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon ,of December 24,2012

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