When people say laws are bad or hard, they may have to try lawlessness to make out the difference. It may be simple to draw a conclusion on one issue, but whenever the opportunity is given to look at all sides, the reality most often proves to be something else. The announced visit of the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs of the United States of America, USA, Tibor Nagy, has been attracting much media attention.
The reason being his declarations in the media. Speaking in an interview to a foreign radio station on 4 March, 2019, he outlined some key points of his visit, saying he will ask for the liberation of the President of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party, Prof. Maurice Kamto arrested on 28 January, 2019 with his supporters following an unauthorised demonstration on 26 January, 2019.
He also talked of his concerns about the security situation in the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon. Communication Minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi in a press statement on 5 March, 2019 res ponded by saying the media outing of the American official was at odds with the realities on the ground in Cameroon and reiterated government’s position on a number of concerns which have at times resulted to varied interpretations by some development partners. The constant posture in government position and actions over the preoccupations by the US Assistant Secretary of State has been to ensure peace and security in the country.
Such a desire cannot be questioned by anybody, not even a nation that is conscious of national integrity. Public demonstrations by the CRM party which degenerated, especially in some of the country’s diplomatic services abroad, could not have gone in total indifference. With accusations levelled against those involved and the matter having been taken before the law courts, the fact remains that those being charged should be able to respond and either clear their names or otherwise.
People may want to argue that the laws in place have loopholes, but as long as they exist, persons being charged under such legal instruments have to answer only within such a context. Failing which, the country will build a culture of lawlessness where no one benefits. Clearly, a country like the United States of America makes no mistake about the respect for human rights and freedoms. Cameroon that has ratified a number of international conventions knows fully well how such instruments operate.
Government has over the years created structures to cater for individual and collective liberties, which the Minister of Communication indicated in his statement, that such laws are being respected in Cameroon. The problem is about the challenges the country is facing as far as the application of such laws is concerned. The ripple effects of actions taken to defy authority are often difficult to predict and when such consequences border on tarnishing the image of the State even abroad, it becomes hard to imagine government folding its arms.
That has been the stand of the government and the Minister of Communication took time to recall such determination last Tuesday when the declarations made by the American official started making rounds in media organs around the world.