World football governing body, Fifa has again suspended Cameroon from all its activities following a continuous power squabble and an annulled, controversial election at the Cameroon football federation, Fecafoot, thereby deepening its crises and exposing the follies of its administrators.
This is not the first time; Fifa is suspending Cameroon, and especially on pretext that the government through the Ministry of Sports is meddling with the affairs of Fecafoot that is supposed to be an autonomous body for the interest of Cameroon football.
On many occasions, the sanctions of the world football governing body have been imperative and done on the interest of the administrators managing Fecafoot, thus forcing the government to cede; thus creating a favourable atmosphere for them to freely work.
Unfortunately, because most of the elected members of the executive bureau of the federation know very well that Fifa would always be on their side, they have instead turned Fecafoot into national cake where each of them can freely eat even without bothering that others are yet to have a tad. As a result corruption and clique squandering of funds have been a common game. As Cameroon football has been on the down slope of late, the government cannot fold its hands and watch, but to intervene for national interest and pride.
The Fifa latest suspension might be agonizing, especially to the millions of fans of the national team, the Indomitable Lions, but it is absolutely necessary to put the house in order.The same people cannot be voted all the times to head the federation, and if any outsider step up to challenge and bring change, the clique of voters of the incumbent president makes sure that person is voted out.
Drama for dictatorship
A good testimony of the fiasco and drama in the Cameroon federation is the latest election of a new head. After several postponements, it was Iya Mohammed who was finally re-voted even when he was not around to campaign despite being in jail and being investigated for alleged embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds at a state-own cotton corporation, which he has been general manager for donkeys years.
That was not all, while the other candidates who ran for the election cried foul of the irregularities of the election and how money changed hand several times to guarantee victory for Iya, it was battle after battle as various vice presidents tussle to assume the seat as acting or interim president as the supposed, voted incumbent president Iya is still languishing in jail awaiting trial.
With one former minister fighting the post with another former minister, the government had to deploy or station gendarmes to guard Fecafoot’s headquarters, while trying to diffuse the internal fall out. All these struggling among various fractions are all indications that all those who want leadership post have something to gain than just pretending to lead Cameroon football through reforms, transparency and accountability.
This month’s Fifa suspension which is unreasonable based on the argument that the government is intervening in the affairs of the federation should not be totally condemned, but rather cross-examined from all perspectives. How, did Fifa in the first place accepted the re-election of Iya after being notified of his case and that he has been temporary banned from holding any public post as the investigation for his alleged embezzlement is underway? Did Fifa sent any official to actually be an observer during the election? If there actually sent or had one, could the person be trusted and what report did that person send back to Fifa regarding the conduct and fairness of the election?
Unless we know the answers to these questions, then it can be concluded that Fifa decision to shelve Cameroon was rather too drastic or that the reason for the suspension need to be redefined or made more explicit. Fecafoot is autonomous according to Fifa; however, under Cameroon’s rule the government has the right to control any organisation that deals with affairs or activities that touch national interest and pride.
Fecafoot manages Cameroon football, but when the national team is playing or participating at international competitions, it is defending the national colours of the country and not Fecafoot. With individuals or group eyeing posts or positions at Fecafoot to get rich and to travel the world even when they have no vital part to play in federation’s management, there is virtually no way, the government can stop intervening with Fecafoot’s affairs.