The Secretary General of the CPDM Jean Nkuété made the recommendation as he launched the process to renew the Party’s Basic Organs, on Wednesday August 4, 2021, at the Yaoundé Conference Centre. Below is his speech.*
First and foremost, kindly allow me to wish you a warm welcome in this mythical Tripartite Hall of the Yaounde Conference Centre, where some of the most memorable pages of the budding history of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement were inscribed. Also kindly allow me to pay a debt of gratitude owed by the Secretariat General of the Central Committee for your solicitude.
Turning out massively and heeding to our invitation to take part in this meeting at such a short call, despite your extremely busy schedules, is yet another eloquent and vibrant testimony of the attachment of our militants to the ideals of our Party and their unflinching loyalty to its Illustrious Founder, His Excellency Paul Biya, National President of the Party. There could be no better timing than now to express to you our profound gratitude for your usual availability and constant support in accomplishing the missions entrusted to us by the National President in the daily running of the CPDM, and which have, fortunately so, always been crowned with success.
After a very stiff competition at the national level, in which we emerged outstandingly victorious, here we are today, meeting with enthusiasm, in a bid to usher in a new chapter in the history of the CPDM, at the crossroads of the grand History of our beautiful country. This new chapter has to do with the projection of our Party into the future, translated by the Renewal of the Executives of Basic Organs, as prescribed by the National President in the Circular of 8 July 2021.
For six years now, the Executives of CPDM, WCPDM and YCPDM Basic Organs, elected in 2015, instilled in our Party, an impetus that has, so far, enabled it to secure with dignity and sustainability so, its comfortable seat as the leading Party in our country’s political landscape. More specifically, the vast majority of these CPDM organs led the CPDM to victory in the various national elections that marked this rich and intense period. Ultimately, they contributed to the solidification of the CPDM as a bulwark against the forces of destabilisation, division and chaos which, supported by hidden hands, never cease to threaten the peace, national unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon.
Today, we can say, without exaggeration, that our country owes its survival as a nation largely to the vigilance, action and commitment of militants on the ground, under the constant, methodical and efficient guidance of the leaders of the Party’s Basic Organs. It is our duty, at the end of their mandate, to pay a deserved tribute to the outgoing Executives of Basic Organs, for the fantastic work they have accomplished during six years. Their record is all the more deserving in that it was established, sometimes in pain, in an environment of brutal and continuous changes, violent upheavals and various hazards.
We are therefore particularly honoured to express to them the feelings of gratitude and thanks of the National President, His Excellency Paul BIYA, to whom we associate, very modestly, our gratitude, in symbiosis with the great family of CPDM, WCPDM and YCPDM militants. Obviously, the Party remembers with deep emotion the Members of the Bureaux who have left us for good during the mandate.
Last March and April, we proceeded to reconstitute the political basic structures of the Party within the country and abroad, with rigour and method, in a calm and peaceful manner. All of you here today have been involved at different levels to ensure the success of this operation to update the Party’s cartography and membership.This is an opportunity for me to solemnly reiterate our satisfaction with the quality of your services, thanks to which the Party has a database that is in line with the sociological and demographic developments in our country, and which is ready for future challenges.
Following and in accordance with the provisions of the Circular of the National President, the Secretary General of the Central Committee signed an Application Note on 22 July 2021, and formed the different operational Committees.
The stage is therefore set for the renewal of the Executives of Basic Organs. Our comrades are impatiently waiting for this deadline. Their expectation is justified and, for those who want to run for positions of responsibility within the Executives, their aspirations are noble and legitimate.
We therefore invite you to take the full measure of the stakes of the operations which are placed under the sign of projecting of the CPDM in the future.
In fact, according to the National President, « the main objective of the renewal of the Executives of Basic Organs shall be the constitution of teams of local leaders who, fully aware of the actual commitments of the CPDM and its projections into the future, will be able to faithfully give it the qualitative impetus necessary for its optimal functioning and the unbiased attainment of its objectives in the years to come ».
It follows that our gaze must be beyond the horizon, like our emblem, making us the Party of the blazing torch that enlightens the Cameroon’s people every day on the path to their development; the future of the Party being intimately linked to that of our dear and beautiful country.
We must be ready to take up all challenges because tomorrow nothing, absolutely nothing, will be spared to us.
But let us make no mistake, tomorrow is upon us. It is already here, since each new day comes with new challenges and imposes new issues on us, and therefore an appropriate impetus.
In this respect, you are undoubtedly better able to measure the weight of the responsibilities incumbent on you in the conduct of the electoral process on the ground. These are responsibilities of historic importance, through which you are given an exceptional opportunity to affirm your militant probity and your support to the National President, as it is true that the choice of each and every one of you is a great mark of the Party’s confidence in you.
We therefore appeal to your high spirit for a good understanding of the stakes and the success of the operations, and we invite you to strictly comply with the provisions of the Circular of the National President and the Application Note. This is how you will succeed in your mission and achieve the expected results.
By this we mean that the Committees have the sole task of ensuring the smooth running of operations, in peace, order, discipline, transparency and objectivity. The Committees shall be teams of the Central Committee, composed in a spirit of togetherness, in a reduced format, for optimal and efficient functioning. They shall not be set up to please or harm anyone. They shall be at the sole service of the Party. They shall be guided only by the Circular of the National President and the Note of Application of the Secretary General of the Central Committee. Obviously, if necessary, the Committees can be completed or reinforced in the field in the same spirit of unity and functionality, avoiding any form of discrimination or favouritism.
The renewal of the Executives of CPDM Basic Organs shall be a major project that begins tomorrow. It shall be backed by the dynamics of strengthening the modernisation of the Party and built on the optimism of its future success. It shall be imperative that the new Executives resulting from the electoral process be equal to these objectives.
In this perspective, we recommend the greatest perspicacity in the analysis of the files in order to select candidates corresponding to the profile outlined by the National President, it being understood that indiscipline, lack of humility, opportunism, arrogance, defiance towards the authorities, occasional militancy, exclusionary spirit, ignorance of the functioning of the Party are intolerable.
We are all the more certain to win the difficult battles that lie ahead if the militants are supported at the grassroots by Executives made up of men and women of conviction, commitment, responsibility and honour, ready to give to the Party without demanding any compensation. Naturally, the candidates shall not run as individuals. They belong to competing lists, which shall be rigorously examined in order to select proposals that comply with the criteria defined in the National President’s Circular, in line with the Party’s perspectives and the developments of the times.
In this respect, we would like to lay emphasis on three decisive conditions in the selection process:
Firstly, the inclusion or, if you like, consideration of the different components of the population.
Let us first of all talk about women and youth inclusion in the Executives of Basic Organs. We would like to recall that the inclusion of women and youth has always been a priority for the Party.
It is clear that the CPDM can neither consolidate its achievements nor project itself into the future if it does not strengthen its position as the Party of hope for women and youth.
We often hear that the inclusion of youth and women is difficult and problematic here and there. So how is it that in these same localities, other political parties find militants in these categories of the population?
In truth, there are committed, competent and dynamic women and young people throughout the republic whom the party can trust. It is up to us to detect them, to open our arms to them and to involve them in grassroots responsibilities. If we do not do this now, we will be committing a political error with serious consequences for the Party.
With regard to YCPDM in particular, it should be emphasised that it is a specialised organisation for youths, both men and women, and not just young men, as it has been noted that there is a tendency to favour young men in the field. For this reason, a proportion of at least six young women shall be prescribed in the YCPDM Section Executives. Inclusion shall also be about vulnerable people, minority groups, social cadets. They are fellow citizens deserving our respect and consideration. They are citizens like any other. We must bring them under the umbrella of the Party, because the CPDM is fundamentally the Party of disenfranchised and marginalised communities.
We finally mention the inclusion of sociological diversity. It is unavoidable, it is inevitable and it is essential for the Party, given the accelerated mixing of populations, especially in the regional capitals, border areas, university cities and large urban agglomerations.
In these entities, as in each political unit, the Executives of Basic Organs must reflect the local sociological reality, so that no human group is left out or forgotten. This is in the interest of the Party, in a context where, as we all know, political commitment is not always built on the basis of reason or the quality of projects.
The future of the Party depends on our ability to remain ourselves, according to the noble ambition of the National President who wanted the CPDM to be the place par excellence for the gathering of the Cameroonian people as it is in himself, in its diversity, in a word the crucible of national unity and integration. In a nutshell, inclusion reminds us that the CPDM is the Party of all Cameroonians, irrespective of their condition, ethnicity, religion, physical condition or social rank.
We therefore invite you to ensure the formation of lists of candidates representative of the different human and sociological groups in the locality.
This leads us to the second decisive condition, namely sharing.
It is also a determining factor in the review of candidate lists. It should be underscored that sharing is at the heart of the overall vision of the CPDM. It is one of the main pillars of the rally, given that there can be no rally without sharing. As you know, sharing is the ferment of solidarity and the antidote to exclusion. So, you must ensure that the positions of responsibility within the Executives of Basic Organs are fairly distributed among the members of the community.
In the same vein, we shall ensure that the main positions of responsibility in the three Organs are not concentrated in a single family, a single clan, a single grouping, a single chiefdom, a single village and so on. As you know, sharing, and I mean sharing badly, has often been detrimental to us during elections. This is therefore a criterion to which we must be very attentive so that no one feels excluded.
The third condition to be given priority in reviewing application lists shall be « the capacity to perform ».
By capacity to perform, we mean the ability to achieve the party’s objectives, and thus to perform. This is a logical consequence of inclusion and sharing. We need to build efficient Executives of Basic Organs. To achieve this, they must bring together members who meet the prescribed conditions, but also and above all who are capable of ensuring the smooth running of the basic organ and the supervision of militants, so that they shall be always prepared locally for any eventuality.
By excluding from the process of renewing the Executives of Basic Organs the CPDM Section Presidents who lost the municipal elections of 9 February 2020, the National President clearly indicates that performance shall henceforth constitute a key element in the assessment of the Party’s local officials, for whom electoral successes shall explicitly and clearly be prescribed as objectives to be achieved.
Certainly, your task is not an easy one. The conduct of an election, whatever its nature, is never easy. Fortunately, the National President’s Circular and the Application Note give you clear and precise guidelines.
We therefore urge you to read these two texts very carefully, for a good understanding of the directives and expectations of the National President, which are, in fact, those of the entire Party.
We urge you to apply their provisions objectively, with discernment, without complacency or compromise, always bearing in mind that what is at stake is the sustainable consolidation of the CPDM as a leading political force.
We therefore call on your sense of responsibility to avoid creating new provisions or giving subjective and erroneous interpretations to the Circular of the National President. Your sense of discipline and respect for the guidelines will be your main asset for the success of the operations to come. In this regard, let it be clear that where the process is marred by proven irregularities, in opposition to the spirit and letter of the ruling texts, we will have no choice but to cancel the election. Similarly, if the candidates run the risk of disciplinary sanctions for infringement of the texts and guidelines of the Party, the members of the Committees in charge of conducting the process on the ground shall be exposed to the same sanctions.
As from this deadline indeed, the ad hoc Disciplinary Council of the Central Committee will also look into the contentious behaviour and reprehensible conduct of the officials appointed in the field. Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are the Party of inspiration that drives action. Let us not forget that we are the family of the rally that enshrines unity in diversity. The CPDM cannot remain indifferent to the changes of our times. The CPDM cannot close its eyes to the specificities of the national society.The CPDM cannot ignore the demographic changes in the country. The CPDM cannot underestimate the multiple fractures that cut across our society, fuelled as they are by compatriots lost in the maze of division, hatred and stigmatisation.
In a nutshell, the CPDM cannot wallow in a tetanising immobility. It is good for us to understand, dear fellow Comrades, that the renewal of the Executives of Basic Organs shall be part of the indispensable movement of modernisation and reinvention that the Party is leading in the wake of the New impetus set up during the Third Ordinary Congress.
It is a continuous qualitative impetus that can only be achieved with the help of the militant base that is constantly enlightened, mobilised and kept alert by leaders who are aware of CPDM role in the Nation and the danger of the actions of our opponents.
I urge you not to forget that our opponents are already organising and coalescing, strongly supported by external forces, while watching for our failures, in order to exploit them when the time comes to our detriment, as was recently the case during the last municipal and regional elections in some localities that we lost.
You should therefore be fully aware of the stakes involved in the renewal and the historic role you are going to play from 7August 2021, given that by writing this new page in the history of the CPDM, you will be reproducing an important page in our national epic.
We therefore invite you to facilitate the free choice of militants by accompanying them in the expression of internal democracy, exemplary of ethics, responsibility, morality and probity. In this regard, any disputes should be dealt with at the grassroots level, and no problem of any kind should reach the Central Supervisory Committee or the Secretariat General of the Central Committee.
We also invite our fellow comrades in the North West, South West and Far North Regions to be vigilant and pragmatic in order to achieve results that will be assets and contributory factors to the return of lasting peace in their localities.
Last but not the least, we hereby request all our fellow comrades designated in the various Committees who shall be vying for positions in the Executives of Basic Organs to make their intentions known here and now so that Committee Chairpersons may have them replaced, considering that they cannot sit on such committees while at the same time being candidates.
On the whole, during the renewal process, let us remain in perfect harmony with the ideal of the New Deal which is the source of our commitment behind President Paul Biya.
Let us further consolidate the CPDM as the beacon that illuminates and will continue to illuminate the entire Cameroonian society. As the salt of the Nation. A salt that never loses and should never lose its flavour, at the risk of leaving the society without reference points, without horizons, without dreams.But, of course, nothing will stop the CPDM from showing the way and making Cameroonians dream.
Thank you for your kind attention.
*Headline and lead by newsroom