Aging and worn out, yet he has his charm, still having a strong hold on his political opponents. With 32 years of his life as the President of Cameroon, of course his compatriots yearn for a suitable replacement. This seems almost impossible with President Paul Biya, who has an outstanding record of successfully seducing his political opponents to share his bed.
Cameroon’s political sphere has a cream of political parties, which have still not been able to present the country with a suitable replacement for the aging player. Quite often, the country wakes up to the creation of a new political party which subsequently disappears into the arms of the ruling party. The sequence of events under which these parties become a shadow of themselves, seem to follow a similar tempting script written by Mr Biya. In recent years, major political parties in the nation have become gullible to the charms of the President, whose leadership has had several question marks.
The most recent display of Mr Biya’s enticing schemes was the case of Ayah Paul Abine of the Peoples Action Party (PAP). As Secretary-General of the Peoples Action Party (PAP), the system he once fought against presented a tempting offer of an Advocate General at the Supreme Court of Cameroon which he surprisingly embraced. Ayah Paul described his new found relationship as one which will help him take care of his financial concerns and equally prepare him for his retirement. In his words:
“I was raised to Index 1300, backdated to July 1, 2012.I don’t see how I opted for a career and all of a sudden I would turn away in favor of politics and lose what may help me in the end. What may help me in the end in the sense that, my pension would be calculated on my index level. So, I have to prepare my future. It is true that I received nothing from anybody except from my family relations. The situation now may change because as I said my promotion was backdated to 2012, which is to say that I should be expecting some arrears. So we are looking forward to a better tomorrow”.
The pertinent questions are; at what age is Ayah Paul trying to secure his pension? And who told politicians that money was a determinant for choices in fighting for a cause like change? Like every relationship with material benefits as the rationale for engagement, the break up will definitely be one to watch out for.
The Founder and Secretary-General of PAP, Ayah Paul Abine was appointed Advocate General by President Paul Biya, Cameroon’s Head of State and also National President of the ruling Cameroon People`s Democratic Movement (CPDM). Ayah Paul was Vice President of the Appeal Court of the South West Region prior to his election to the National Assembly.
Ayah Paul’s story is quite similar to that of Cameroon’s Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary. As founder and President of the Front for the National Salvation of Cameroon (FSNC), Tchiroma said, FSNC “intends to contribute to the advent of a free society and promote the democratization process in Cameroon”. Tchiroma was once part of an opposition coalition and denounced President Biya, calling on the people to vote him out. Tchiroma headed a panel that was tasked with choosing a joint opposition candidate for the election, which would have improved the opposition’s chances of defeating Biya. The story took a different twist when President Biya appointed him as Minister of Communication in 2009. Since then, Tchiroma has been a town crier for the President and the ruling party. He covers Mr Biya’s slip-ups at the snap of any mishap. When President Biya took an expensive vacation to France in September 2009, which irritated his compatriots, Tchiroma argued that Biya, “like any other worker, he has a right to his vacations”. When concerns are raised about the aging President’s health and ability to perform his role in full capacity, Tchiroma promptly provides a counter response, insisting his boss is in good health. This is just another tale of Mr. Biya getting his opponents to lie in his bed at the cost of values they claimed to uphold. It is definitely fascinating to watch politicians shamelessly flip pages just at the wink of comfort.
The country’s oldest opposition party is not an exception. Many Cameroonians who had been rooting for the country’s main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), are beginning to seek alternatives to rest their hopes on, following the recent show of lack of commitment by the party’s Chairman and his fellows. While some militants of the SDF are signing out and into the ruling party, the co-founder and Chairman of the main opposition party, Fru Ndi has made clear his unwillingness to lead motions against the government. In his words, “those who believe I led protest because I had obtained some magical powers for protection should also go to where they think I went and get it. I have been shot and poisoned, but here I am. Let them lead and I will follow.”
Elected as the SDF’s National Chairman in 1990, Fru Ndi has led the party since then. It is believed he master minded the February 2008 anti-government protests which resulted to loss of lives and property. Fru Ndi is constantly in a position of trying to defend himself following allegations that, he is in a hide and seek relationship with the ruling party he once out rightly fought against.
Mr Biya may not have to display his charms all the time, yet he has had more prey changing beds for the comfort of his duvet. The daughter of Cameroon’s First President, late Ahmadou Ahidjo, on her own accord, joined President Paul Biya’s ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM despite stiff resistance from her mother, Germaine Ahidjo. Aminatou Ahidjo vigorously campaigns for the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) despite the fact that Ahmadou Ahidjo’s family and President Paul Biya have a far from civil relationship, due to a fallout from issues concerning the repatriation of the remains of the late president, to Cameroon from Senegal. Aminatou Ahidjo has single handedly decided to move on by joining her family’s enemy under the pretext that, Mr Biya is a warm president whom she doesn’t mind flirting with.
Ahmadou Ahidjo, was sentenced to death in absentia for his alleged role in a coup. He later died in exile in Senegal in 1989 after a political break up, with his chosen heir, Paul Biya.
Ahidjo’s widow, Germaine Ahidjo, has obliged the current regime to return the late leader’s body to Cameroon, a decision Biya thinks should be taken by the Ahidjo family.
32 years and counting as president, Paul Biya seems to be the only one who has a perfect mastery of Cameroonian Politics. Despite calls for change from his compatriots, the inability to provide a replacement leaves the Cameroonians with very few options. Hearing a Cameroonian pray for her 82 year old president not to die or leave power even after 32 years of leadership marred with corruption, mismanagement and unfulfilled promises, may be quite hilarious but the truth remains that, an old, tired, unproductive figure head like Biya, best fills the gap than unpredictable, untrustworthy opposition leaders. At this crucial time when the country’s security is threatened and opposition leaders who the people rooted for now wine, dine and cuddle with the ruling party, a well-articulated “Long Live Paul Biya, Long Live Cameroon”, is definitely not completely out of place.