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Cameroon a Haven of Peace, Says Its US Ambassador

Ambassador Foe-Atangana also says his country enjoys multiparty democracy although critics say many political parties are funded by President Biya

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James Butty

Cameroon’s ambassador to the United States said his country is a “haven of peace” in central Africa.

Joseph Bienvenu Charles Foe-Atangana said he has launched a program to reach out to Cameroonians in the United States.

“Cameroonian students, like every Cameroonian, they should know that the embassy is their house. I used to consider myself as the servant-in-chief. I told them on the 29th of May that, if you don’t come to me, I will come to you,” he said.

Ambassador Foe-Atangana attended the national convention of the Lebang Cultural and Development Organization in the United States held recently in Maryland, outside Washington, DC.

The Lebang is one of Cameroon’s ethnic groupings.

He also said U.S.-Cameroon relations are good and based on mutual friendship.

“After the independence, the USA was the first country to open a counselor mission in Douala. Our relations are based on friendship. You know that we have no problem between our two countries. We are strengthening our cooperation in various ways,” he said.

President Paul Biya of Cameroon
President Paul Biya of Cameroon

Ambassador Foe-Atangana also said Cameroon has 148 political parties something he said is an indicator of multi-party democracy.

But, critics say many of those political parties are financed by long-time President Paul Biya to create the semblance of democracy.

“In Cameroon, you have 148 political parties. There are some countries in Africa who don’t have any party and say that’s [an] advance in democracy. We have 47 private radio and television [outlets]. Please, is that not an indicator of a country in democracy?” he said.

Ambassador Foe-Atangana said Cameroon is proud of its achievements in democracy after just 50 years since independence.

He said Cameroon should not be compared to countries like the United States with over 200 years of independence and experience.

He said Cameroon is only asking the United States and other Western nations to help Cameroon achieve its development goals.

Ambassador Foe-Atangana said there are no sacred cows in Cameroon when it comes to the fight against official corruption.

“First of all, go to the TV. You will see a message pass every day saying that everybody who is a victim of corruption, you will call this number and receive free assistance. Secondly, Cameroon is the only country that pushes the bottom very high. How many former officials are in prison? And, there is not sacred cow,” Ambassador Foe-Atangana said.

He said foreign business people also have a role in the fight against corruption in Africa.

Ambassador Foe-Atangana said Cameroon is a haven of peace in central Africa.

“Look at the sub-region of central Africa. We are the only country, for now, living in peace. We are trying to do our development. We have only 50 years of existence. The only thing if they want to judge us is whether we are improving,” he said.

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