51st National Day : Transcending Challenges To Stay United
President Paul Biya last Saturday at the 20th May Boulevard in downtown Yaounde chaired a colourful military and civilian march past for festivities marking the country’s Unitary State.
The theme of the 51st National Day in Cameroon, “Defence Forces And Cameroonian People, In Harmony To Safeguard Peace And National Unity, Bedrock Of A Strong And Prosperous Cameroon,” was aptly demonstrated on May 20, 2023 in downtown Yaounde and all and sundry look forward to a better living together of a diverse people in one country under one leader. The turnout of the army and the population and their respective displays were illustrative of much-cherished symbiosis from the two entities who; by virtue of growing challenges, are called upon to more than ever work as one to identify and silence enemies of the Republic. It was indeed a true demonstration of strength in unity!
The presence of the Head of State and guarantor of the country’s constitution, President Paul Biya, at the ceremonial ground at the 20th May Boulevard was an icing on the cake for weeklong nationwide festivities. Indeed, the sounds and colours of Saturday’s ceremony depicted a spirit of brotherhood. An opportunity for all sectors of the army, para-military forces and diverse civilian organisations to prove to their leader and the world, represented by the diplomatic family accredited to Cameroon, that irrespective of their socio-cultural and sometimes political differences, issues that touch on the sovereignty of the State leave no Cameroonian indifferent. In fact, that what unites them is far more than what can divide!
The ceremonial ground was full to capacity with people of all walks of life, nationals and non-nationals; many of whom turned out earlier to occupy strategic locations so as not to miss any item of the day. Clearly telling of that yearning for togetherness, challenges notwithstanding.
The arrival of the Head of State, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces at midday, just after that of the First Lady Chantal Biya, set the ball rolling for what turned out to be close to two hours of perfect celebration of national fraternity. His welcome by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Assomo, singing of the national anthem and motorized review of troops held onlookers spellbound as President Paul Biya went round. A show of attachment and fruits of unity in diversity even in the face of adversity. Trials which should raise public consciousness to decry and shun bitterness and accept each other.
From the visiting Contingent of Egyptian Soldiers who set the stage with a thrilling musical display through the principal brass band of the army commonly called Carousel that performed a sublime illustration on the theme, “All United,” Cameroon’s riches in diversity from North to South and East to West were elucidated. The parade of the national colours: green, red and yellow flag depicted unity in diversity; an asset revered by many. The Squadron of the Presidential Guard Foot Troops; an elite force at the service of the nation, to other detachments of the military, gendarmerie, police, peni...