By Jing Thomas
A sophisticated and scholarly people, with a longstanding history of trade, politics, learning and animal husbandry, was lulled to sleep with the narcotics of "balanced development" and its dangerous by-product of favoritism.
Balanced development is not a new concept. In the context of post-colonial Africa, with its fragile ethnic patchworks that pass for nations and a development landscape disfigured by history and culture, the concept seems all the more imperative and provides a perfect recipe for social justice and political stability. After all, is there any greater claim to true development than one that is collective? And did all parts of any country see the light the same day?
In a multi-ethnic nation, while the benefits of development enjoyed by each tribal or regional component may not necessarily be commensurate with its contribution, a minimum sense of fairness demands that everyone should be seen to be making maximum effort, at least to justify entitlement to such benefits. The same sense requires that any development experiment should be based on strict and morally sound rules and devoid of double standards and opportunism. Here, Ahidjo's efforts at uniting around the notion of balanced development start to develop warts.