Friday, January 17, 2020

The cloth burns between Paul Biya and his diaspora

Nothing is going right between Paul Biya and the Cameroonian diaspora. According to Jeune Afrique, the Cameroonian president did not digest the demonstrations of activists interspersed with violence organized during his recent stays in Europe.

In his traditional end-of-year speech on December 31, Paul Biya spoke of it again in his traditional speech of December 31, criticizing the “excessive behavior of some of [his] compatriots in the diaspora - whether they are or that they are no longer Cameroonians. I think they should, out of patriotism, refrain from negative comments about their country of origin, added Paul Biya. One must always respect one's homeland, its institutions and those who embody them. " 

In seeking to make a pedagogical effort, President Biya sends a message that will not get the desired result. Not sure in fact that his words could help to calm his relations with his detractors. 

It must be said that by making the difference between those who are Cameroonian and those who are no longer, President Paul Biya creates a category of second-class citizens. While Cameroon does not recognize dual nationality, those who have acquired a new one and thereby have lost the one they originally had - or who have renounced it - with all the rights attached to it, are nevertheless subject, according to the president, to the obligation to be patriotic. Otherwise formulated, they have no rights, but duties ?!

Migrants, mere providers of currency? 

Since the 1990s in Cameroon, the profile of diaspora members has changed. It is no longer mainly students, coming from managerial families, but rather economic migrants, young people from less advantaged backgrounds, who have resolved to take the road of exile as the situation in Cameroon deteriorates. In the late 2000s, the trend was further accentuated when the middle classes, in turn, joined the flow of travelers. They emigrate far away but they keep family ties and, sometimes, real estate in the country. 

These Cameroonian diaspora can never accept the authorities' idea that they only serve to send currency to the country. For example, in 2018, according to the World Bank, Cameroonian migrants transferred around 201 billion CFA francs (306.4 million euros) to their country of origin.