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Cameroonian Bloggers Close-in on the US Presidential Elections

As the countdown to election day narrows, Cameroonian bloggers have also stepped up their postings on the issue. Dibussi Tande, who blogs at Scribbles from the Den is interviewed on the issue by Ngum Ngafor who blogs at Dulce Camer. One of the questions is how Cameroon could benefit from the next American Presidency.

Dibussi says:

“I don’t think that there is any specific benefit that Cameroon will derive from either a McCain or Obama presidency. America’s “Cameroon Policy” is fairly middle-of-the-road, and has not changed fundamentally since the first Bush presidency of the late 1980s and early 90s. The most common theme among US ambassadors to Cameroon, from Frances Cook in the 1990s to Janet Garvey today, has been the regular calls for more political freedoms in the country, for less corrupt and more accountable state institutions, and for the establishment of a truly democratic system that all Cameroonians can identify with.

Cameroon has so far failed to live up to these expectations but is still the beneficiary of substantial US aid because of realpolitik calculations that make her a key American partner in the region. For example, Cameroon’s strategic importance to the US has increased considerably in recent times thanks to its strategic location on the Oil-rich Gulf of Guinea. Those vital oil routes along the Atlantic coast must be kept safe even if it means giving suspect African regimes a wink and a nod or even a free pass…”

In these dying minutes of the campaign, The Chia Report managed by a US based former reporter of Cameroon's state broadcaster (CRTV), accuses the Republican party candidate John McCain of deploying “vile and dishonourable tactics of fear mongering”.

What is this fear about? Here's what The Chia Report thinks:

“This time around McCain camp, and Obama haters, are crystallizing fear in the minds of Americans by suggesting that Obama is a Muslim; that he pals around with terrorists; that he is a baby killer; that he is not American enough; not a patriot; he is a socialist…etc”

What seems to worry The Chia Report is that:

“Senator McCain’s brand of fear is against providing any hope for African-Americans because of the results that it will procure. But much more than that, it is a brand of fear that stokes the fire of hatred against Blacks by extremist groups that have been hiding away in the woods like Osama Bin Laden in the rocky mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is a fear that is for perpetrating the stereotype that African-Americans are good for nothing and cannot be trusted with anything big and meaningful; that African-Americans are to be a subservient bunch, good for the entertainment industry.”

Neba-Fuh, a Cameroonian blogger based in Sweden blogging at Voice of the Oppressed, comments on Democratic candidate Barack Obama being tagged as a socialist.

He has the following advice for Americans:

“In a system where the laissez- faire option has failed, Americans should feel no sense of inferiority to try other options like Socialism in the short term, or stick to Mixed Economy in the long run. This will enhance the much needed regulation of the economy that is needed to avoid economic plunges such as the one we are facing now. Socialism doesn't hamper freedom if well managed for a short period of time. The Founding Fathers never prescribed a system of economy as American! Socialism if well managed is not a speed-break to freedom. A poor man is not free! Not being able to eat well or have a shelter or pay our bills isn't freeedom, and not being free is surely unAmerican I guess.”

Here is what he thinks would be the deciding factor when the voter drops in the ballot:

“On election day, the majority of the 90% of American folks who will vote will surely not bother whether the policy that will make them feel ‘American’ or ‘Free Again’ is called Socialism or whatever.
What will bother poverty-stricken Americans as they go to vote will be ‘how they will put food on their kitchen tables, pay their mortgages, pay tuition for their kids, buy fuel for their cars at an affordable price and feel ‘American’ again.”

However Americans choose to vote, could Cameroonians learn anything from these elections? Dibussi Tande thinks so:

“Yes, Cameroonians have a lot to learn from American politics especially with regards to establishing a legitimate, fair and transparent electoral process. Unlike the Cameroonian electoral system which has only a veneer of transparency, accountability and fairness, and is heavily skewed in favor of the incumbent and/or the party in power, the American system is a truly inclusive, transparent and democratic system at the service of its people.
True, the American electoral system has its own share of problems as the 2000 presidential elections clearly showed, but it remains the most open system in the world. Here is a system, (unlike the Cameroonian situation) where the civil service stays above the fray during elections, where the military keeps its distance, where the rules and regulations severely reduce the ability of those in power to use or divert state resources to promote the candidate(s) of their choice, and where there are never-ending efforts to improve the system and make it even more representative, etc. So the American political and/or electoral system is replete with lessons for any country, not just Cameroon, which aspires to create a viable and vibrant and legitimate democratic system”

Now, let's wait and see how the Cameroonian bloggosphere reacts to whoever wins this US Presidential election.

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