The 174 young cadets of the “Unity and Diversity” batch, who graduated from the Combined Arms Services Military Academy in Yaounde on Friday 18 January, 2019 were reminded of codes of ethics by President Paul Biya, Commander-in-Chief of the National Defence forces. Key amongst the orders given to the men and women who now join the ranks of army officers was the need for professionalism in the exercise of their duty.
Such a message could not have been timelier, looking at the difficult insecurity context in the North, South, East and West of the country. Cameroon has since the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North Region witnessed unending battles pitting the defence forces against extremists bent on setting a base on the national territory to carry out acts that are obnoxious to common sense. In the process, the population and valuable properties have been destroyed and the number of officers at all levels who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty has been huge.
Cases of kidnappings for ransom in the Adamawa Region have equally resurfaced, leaving cattle dealers and other members of the population in disarray. As if all that were not enough, the socio-political tension in the North West and South West Regions has kept the defence forces on their toes.
The causalities in all the areas of conflict involving the military could easily lead to some of the elements of the defence forces to forget the essentials of their training.
Yet, the need to defend the nation must have to go with the determination to protect the population because synergy between the forces and the people has over the years yielded good results and there is no way to think otherwise.
As such, it was imperative for the Head of State to ensure that the young officers should stay within the code of ethics. “Together with your comrades, you will henceforth be the shield of your country. But, never forget that you are also expected to be the shield of our people. Strive to earn their respect and love through your courage, rectitude, self-denial, solicitude and professionalism. Such values are as important as combat science,» President Paul Biya told the graduating cadet officers.
Another factor that matters in the values that the soldiers must keep in mind as they go out to serve is the diversity in the country and which was reflected in their batch since the young soldiers come from different socio-cultural, ethnic and professional backgrounds.
They have in their midst engineers, law specialists, those who trained in the natural sciences and even medical doctors, who are from all the regions of the country. Also, having to work in an environment charac terized by the pervading presence of the information and communication technologies and the overwhelming impact of the social media, the need for the cadet officers to remain professional can no longer be a residual concern.
It simply means almost every move taken by the young officers stands the chance of being scrutinised beyond the realm of their profession. This is because globalization has also made it possible for other actors beyond the national frontier to take keen interest in all that happens. No one can claim to operate without taking into consideration such sheds of opinion even if the nation remains supreme in the decisions they take.
Thus, President Biya’s insistence that; “The Forces of Defence and Security will continue to discharge their duty with firmness, determination and professionalism». As soldiers of the “Unity and Diversity” batch pursue their dream careers while defending Cameroon, their christening will have to keep resonating in them as well as the trilogy of ‘firmness, determination and professionalism’.
By constantly recalling these values to the young officers during their epaulet award ceremony, President Paul Biya was definitely out to say that the real measure of success in their different fields of operation will be how well they defend the “territorial integrity, national unity and republican institutions” in a noble manner.