Army And Democracy In Central Africa

On the way to Mbalmayo in the central region of Cameroon, an officer of army with whom we shared the seat said: «What is happening in CAR is terrible. The boss (understood as the president of republic) sent 120 men there forgetting that what is happening there could arise in any country of the sub region even in Cameroon. We share the same problems. Just that here, people do bear the situation enough and stay still. Fortunately for us, we have a civilian as head of state. Elsewhere like in CAR, militaries do not consider that having been to the same schools and having the same rank another soldier should govern or rule the country. At least when it is a civilian who managed well the military corps, it is acceptable. They are ready to leave power within the hands of civilians. Actually, things can go wrong at any time in the country, the presidential guard has already raised the alarm (on January 25, 2013 an officer of the Cameroonian presidential guard shot on air when the presidential procession was going on). Anyway, when things will burst out, we know what we will have to do».1 Such talks are current in Cameroon. During a field study from March to May 2011, we noticed through our discussion with some officers of the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) and the presidential guard (GP) that among those soldiers there was a climate of mistrust and suspicion towards the other unities of the army on one hand, and towards the political sphere on the other hand.2 This is not limited to Cameroon.

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Published in Political Reflection Magazine Vol. 4 No. 3

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