The Curse of The Cameroonian Youth

Cameroonian youths and Cameroonians are fresh from observing the youth week, a week that culminated with the celebration of the Youth Day on Sunday 11 February. The same day scores of youths were wounded and one dead recorded in Nkambe, capital of Donga Mantung Division in the Northwest region in what was clearly a terrorist attack.

Yet as Cameroon observed the 58th edition of the Youth day, our youths continue to slid down a treacherous path into an abyss of drug consumption, killings, stealing, scamming, prostitution, homosexuality, hate speech and unchecked emigration.

The craving for quick and fast money has pushed the Cameroonian youths to places beyond their parent’s imaginations. Our youths die in their quest to cross the Sahara Desert or the jungles of central America for greener pastures, mutilated bodies of our youths have been found in bushes, abandoned buildings that were used for money rituals, some have been apprehended with human parts, many have taken to homosexuality, drug abuse and trafficking as a means to an end.

Today some of our youths as young as 20, 21, 22 and without  jobs are driving in fancy cars worth tens of millions, some girls even younger use phones that are worth hundreds of thousands of francs, some have infested the social media with nude and pornographic videos and pictures. Our university environment has become bastion of sex spree, crimes, and drug abuse.

Our moral values are fast declining. What was once considered taboos are no longer so today. The outfits of some Cameroonian youths today is unimaginable, many don’t fear God, nor do they respect their parents or the eyes of society at large. We have heard of secondary schools were scores of students in the first cycle were impregnated by security officer stationed to protect them, we have heard how girls brag how they went through university acquiring sexually distributed marks, we have seen youths selling their nudity for wealth, we’ve seen youths run mad along our streets because of drug abuse or for dipping their hands into secret cults. We’ve seen boys and girls die under mysterious circumstances, because they were using the short way to climb up the ladder. It’s no surprise that a majority of those that have taken up arms against the state in the Northwest and South west and in the Far North regions and on the dark corners of our streets are mainly youths

The head of state Paul Biya in his message to the Youth on February 10, 2024 recognized that there is “a gradual dissolution of these values in our society”

“Moral decay, irresponsible and deviant behaviour, violence, indiscipline, alcohol and drug abuse and intolerance are on the rise in our society.” He said, encouraging “parents and teachers to assume their responsibility”

But one will imagine, how did we get this low?, How did many of our youths missed their path to become better and hourable citizens? Where did it all go wrong?

I may not be able to give an answer to all these questions but I can confidently say these are as a result of failed policies and an established kleptocracy. You only need to watch 11 February march pass in Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Garoua and the hundreds of other venues in the country and you can imagine the hundreds of thousands of graduates that are churn out of our educational system yearly.

The job market, heavily influenced by a public service cannot ingest these graduates, neither can the private sector. The enabling environment to create jobs and wealth is tilted in favour of the very ones who have been blessed with jobs. This growing unemployment spills over into frustrations driving the youths to find other ways to make it big. Those that are fortunate, make it to the west and return bigger, those that cannot, look on to scamming, others to secret cults, prostitution and others through violence with the guns.

If our youths continue to miss their future through this generational holdup by those in power, where they compete for the same jobs with their parents and grandparents, where some of the youths are even older than their parents on paper, if we continue in this kleptocracy, then we will continue to see this decline in our moral values that the head of state succinctly talk about in his last address to the youth. We live in a country were a many generations have missed their turn and opportunity to lead. We are still being led by those that took over from our independent fathers.  Our system of governance does not recycle, it’s like a balloon that only takes in air and does not release it. The result is obvious..

We are a blessed country, the continent as it has come to be referred to, if we want to see the best of our youths, then let’s give them the enabling environment, let’s give them their rightful place, lets’ shun nepotism, favouritism, corruption and authoritarianism. It’s time for Cameroonian state men to take their rightful place as senior citizens and guide the youths for a better Cameroon.

Frontline Editorial City FM Radio of February 17, 2024

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