Harnessing Diversity For Mutual Dev’t

Cameroon history has recorded yet another National Day; call it a celebration of living together, whose context this time around easily makes the special event even more significant. The 47th edition of the National Day chaired at the May 20 Boulevard in downtown Yaounde yesterday May 20, 2019 by President Paul Biya carried with it all the symbols of a country resolutely committed to marching forward as one, challenges notwithstanding.

From the military parade (both foot soldiers and motorised troops), passing through civilian display and the messages they carried as they marched past the Presidential tribune, one could perceive the willingness of a people; as diverse as they are, to live and respect the institutions and emblems of their beloved fatherland called Cameroon under the stewardship of President Paul Biya whom the marchers qualified (in song and messages) as an indefatigable patriot. This was in harmony with the theme of the 47th National Unity Day, “Unity in diversity, a major asset of the Cameroonian people in their determined move towards emergence.”

The theatre of celebration in Yaounde, the May 20 Boulevard, was beehive-like and the sea of guests who congregated therein, likewise bystanders who took up vantage positions around the vicinity, lived every moment of the multifaceted and colourful ceremony from start to finish. Even before the arrival of the presiding officer, President Paul Biya at 11 am, all other officials had taken up their positions in the respective tribunes to live and partake in the historic event.

The entry of First Lady, some minutes before the Head of State, aroused the anxiety of the population who cheered the visibly elated Chantal Biya to her seat. As President Paul Biya made his way into the ceremonial ground, a heightened air of solemnity could be observed.

His welcome by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo, followed by military honours and then welcome into the Presidential Stand by the President of the Senate, Marcel Niat Njifenji, set the ball rolling for close to two hours of military and civilian display of irresistible ingredients of national concord.

In a typical Cameroonian hospitality, the pride of place position was given to a Contingent of Congolese Army, guests of the Head of State for the celebration. The squad of 160 valiant soldiers marched in 12 lines of 12 each with their slow but majestic steps to mark their presence in Cameroon’s 47th National Day, as well as consolidate the friendly ties existing between Congo and Cameroon.

The other military and para-military parades and diverse civilian groups (schools, socio-professional organisations and political parties) thrilled the huge crowd that turned up for the event. Eye-catching innovations like the display of the Under-17 national football team which bagged gold at the just-ended nation’s cup in Tanzania, success stories of the FCFA 102 billion Special Youth Programme as well as an association of young Cameroonian fire-fighters left thought-provoking messages in the minds of observers.

The performance was indeed a cla rion call for all and sundry to include all categories of people in a synergy of action for a strong, united and supportive Cameroon. This would be giving meaning to this year’s theme crafted within a context of morose socio-political climate in the country. It would also be synonymous to harnessing the cherished diversity of Cameroon and Cameroonians to attain mutually-beneficial development for the country.

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