Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Coronavirus: Open letter from a Cameroonian to Paul Biya

In this missive Me Jean Guy Zogo who presents himself as a Neo-Pan-Africanist and Statesman makes proposals to "curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Cameroon".

"To the President of the Republic of Cameroon 

-Yaound- 

Subject: My proposals to curb the spread of the Coronavirus in Cameroon. 

Excellency, Mr. President of the Republic, 

While our country is already confronting wars as deadly as each other, in this case in the northern regions against the Islamist sect called Boko Haram, the robbers and banditry cross-border, in the North-West and South-West regions, against the secessionists, and in the East against the armed groups which make murderous incursions on our soil.

While we are already living in an appalling socio-political situation with the post-electoral crises and their procession of problems, in particular the exacerbation of the communitarian and identity folds each day more harmful for the construction of a strong and prosperous Cameroonian nation. While the Cameroonian populations, who are already paying a heavy price in these asymmetric wars, are also suffering from the difficulties linked to an economic slump marked by a constant decrease in their purchasing power, and that in addition, many are still struggling to to have access to drinking water permanently, to electricity, to quality health care everywhere on the whole of the national territory, in a context of unemployment characterized by the predominance of the informal sector. 

Here comes the pandemic of the Coronavirus (Covid -19), which without warning us, also declared war on us. 

Although the Minister of Public Health has taken a number of measures and made recommendations to stem the spread of this virus in our country, I continue to have, and many compatriots with me, the unpleasant impression that our leaders do have not yet fully realized the gravity of what hangs in our faces. 

I denounced a few days ago the attitude of the President of the National Assembly and some who believe they are safe because of their social position, even though they should set a good example for the Cameroonian people! 

While we are still at a few dozen officially declared cases, I would like to submit to your attention a number of concrete proposals to take the fight against this pandemic in our country up a notch.

1 / On the institutional level 

I suggest the setting up of a special national committee for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic, abbreviated as CSG, composed of government personalities such as the Ministers of Public Health, Scientific Research, territorial administration, defense, finance, trade, decentralization, external relations, justice, the economy, agriculture and rural development, livestock, fisheries and animal industries, and the Presidency of the Republic. 

But also personalities from civil society and the political world. The said Committee would be placed under the authority of a "Mediator of the Republic" charged with making an arbitration on the various proposals which will emanate from the experts and others consulted. The Mediator of the Republic must not be a member of the government, the Presidency of the Republic, the services of the Prime Minister, the Legislative Power, or the Judicial Power. Nor should it emanate from the ranks of CPDM militants. 

It is even better for him to come from the political opposition or from civil society. And to assume these highly delicate and important functions for the life of the nation, several independent personalities are available, including me. 

The Mediator of the Republic must be appointed by presidential decree. It must be placed under the direct authority of the President of the Republic.

In the exercise of his functions, he must enjoy immunity, sheltering him from the blackmail and influence peddling so frequent in our administrations. He must also enjoy the authority necessary to require the police in the accomplishment of his missions. 

Three medical helicopters must be made available to the CSG, as well as vehicles already available in our administrations and which are most often used for purposes other than public service. 

2 / In terms of health 

The establishment, under the supervision of the special national committee for the management of the above-mentioned Coronavirus pandemic, in each region, department, district and village (district), of a technical and administrative watch and awakening unit, which will make it possible to establish in real time, the evolution of the situation of the Coronavirus in the field, and this, 24/24. 

At the regional level, the cell is coordinated by a Public Health Administrator and a Doctor. With three rapporteurs responsible for drafting detailed daily reports to the National Special Committee for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the department level, the same composition.

As well as at the district level. As for the districts and the village, at the level of each third-degree chiefdom and the district chiefdoms, a state-certified nurse and two nursing assistants (more in areas with high population density) must be mobilized to carry out permanent monitoring , populations, systematically reporting any suspected cases. The nurse must therefore draw up daily reports of his activities in the field. 

This will require the mobilization of significant human, material and financial resources, but it is essential to cover the 10 regions, the 58 departments, the 360 ​​arrondissements (Communes) and the thousands of villages and districts of our country. Everyone must feel concerned. 

To avoid the current administrative slowness in our administrations and the ambient corruption that plagues most public policies, the special fund should be managed only by the three main leaders of the CSG, namely the Mediator of the Republic, the Chief Doctor and the Financial and Accounting Manager. 

As well at the national, regional, departmental, municipal level as in the villages and districts, each watch and awakening cell must be provided with adequate medical and administrative equipment in sufficient quantity. 

Each CSG cell at district level must have an ambulance and medical transport vehicles, the number of which is determined by demography. And this cell will have to work in close collaboration with the Mayors who are the political leaders closest in principle to the populations.