Communal Liberalism. Still Relevant In Contemporary Cameroon

Authored by President Paul Biya since 1987, the revised version published recently still addresses topical issues the book raised over three-decades ago. The revised edition is being presented to the public in different parts of the country and its being applauded by readers for its rich content and the show of President Biya’s pragmatism.

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

President Paul Biya in 1987 published a book “Communal Liberalism.” The publication which came barely three years after taking over the stewardship of Cameroon, was and is still a reference and a guide to the New Deal. Over 30 years after, the President of the Republic has updated and revised the old edition with another masterpiece which re-appropriates the doctrinal base of the New Deal. The revised “Communal Liberalism” which has seven chapters is still as relevant to today’s contemporary Cameroon as it was over 30 years ago.

“The society of communal liberalism we want to build is one of openness, and one that fits into a modern world that tends towards a more interdependent mankind. This community of interests is the basis on which we henceforth have to build the new political society, a society whose economy will be at the service of man and in which social justice will be the guiding rule in the distribution of the fruits of our development. We feel that material well-being is a prerequisite for the intellectual and moral development of the Cameroonian in whom we would like to instil greater humanness is the stimulus which will lead Cameroonians from ethnic cultures to a national culture in the spirit of tolerance, freedom and sharing which justifies our ideal of communal liberalism, “Paul Biya wrote in the updated book.

The 169-page book contains an editorial note, introduction, seven chapters and a conclusion written in 30 objectives of Cameroon as well as the Head of State’s Appeal. President Biya in his conclusion presents 30 cardinal proposals which he says are the fundamental objectives to be attained collectively with the implementation of Communal Liberalism.

The proposals are grouped under various sectors of national life including national unity, democracy, economy, social welfare and culture and finally Africa and international relations.

In chapter one, titled “A More Interdependent Mankind”, President Paul Biya addresses two key areas in this chapter notably a new world political order and a world economic and cultural order. Chapter two titled “A new Political Society,” treats issues such as perfect nationhood, building a true democracy and a national charter of freedoms. President Biya in chapter three treats “Towards an Economy at the Service of Man.” Here the revered author presents issues such as democratic planning, priority to agriculture, infrastructural development, support to small and medium-sized enterprises, heavy industry development, mastering science and technology, greater efficiency of our services, creating decent jobs and national economic independence.

In chapter four, which he titles “The Governance Idea: Social Justice,” it handles areas such as education, health, housing and equitable distribution of the fruits of national growth. Chapter five focuses on “Developing the human Spirit in Man while chapter six grasps the topic “From Ethnic culture to National Culture and chapter seven “Communal Liberalism.” It is worth mentioning that all of these issues addressed in the September publication are part and parcel of presidential actions since 1982 when President Paul Biya took over power. Thus, the book portrays him as a man who preaches by example, a pragmatic statesman.

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