The Francophone dominated political system in Yaoundé is in the throes of another agonized constitutional reform. But this time around the proponents of the new push for amendments deep within government circles are barons of the ruling CPDM party.
Biya and his gang have tabled a bill at the National Assembly calling for the appointment of a Vice President of the Republic. Some of the hardliners contacted by Cameroon Concord News Group noted that the time is right to cure deficiencies created by President Biya’s poor health and his ill-equipped Minister-Secretary General at the Presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.
A look back in history since President Ahmadou Ahidjo resigned helps us understand Cameroon’s perennial quest for constitutional change and the appointment of a Vice President.
Constitutional power play in Yaoundé has remained a Francophone affair for more than 5 decades with French Cameroun local power brokers in the Grand North, Centre and South regions competing against one another.
President Biya and his power-hungry French Cameroun political elites have faulted existing structures for over 40 years and many now say the current push for the appointment of a Vice President is all about competition to replace the frail Biya as head of state.
Ever since President Biya began ailing, rival political elites from his tribal setting have been engaging in regular mischief as they schemed to identify a suitable successor. Some have reportedly used the Special Criminal Court in Yaoundé to sideline party-mates such as Titus Edzoa, Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara, Chief Inoni Ephraim, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Mebe Ngo’o in the succession line up.
President Biya’s acolytes including several CPDM party honchos from the Beti-Ewondo tribal extractions have turned to infighting pushing Franck Biya-President Biya’s eldest son to start to see how he can use the wrangling to ascend to the presidency.
The current law stipulates that in the event the president dies, the president of the so-called senate which is the upper house would take office for 90 days and then call an election.
Biya has been in power for 40 years and has engineered uncountable constitutional amendments just to secure power for himself and his Francophone political family.
At 89, President Biya and his ruling CPDM party are still in control of the National Assembly. However, the recent introduction of a bill at the National Assembly demanding the head of state to appoint a Vice President is indeed a far reaching step.
Biya has won every election and repealed the two-term limit he and his criminal syndicate had previously imposed on the Cameroonian electorate. With age telling on him, the butcher of Yaoundé is now left with nothing and maybe approaching his last journey of many dangers.
What would finally emerge with the appointment of a Vice President will be a co-presidency with a Francophone and an Anglophone occupying some new positions that will be concocted somewhere in Paris.
The current drive for change is happening not in the best interest of the already divided nation and it is also being driven by a very bias Francophone political power agenda.
The changes that are likely to be effected will, therefore, not be the last because there always will be a military coup in every African country with French connection.
The appointment of a Vice President soonest will not resolve the political crisis in both French and Southern Cameroons. Instead, groups or individuals will question the new power structure and those interested in grabbing power will do so via the blood relations in the army.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai