Biya has turned Cameroon into a ticking time-bomb that he cannot defuse
The Civil Cabinet at the Presidency of the Republic released a tentative program on President Emmanuel Macron’s visit saying that Biya or his representative will welcome the French leader at the Nsimalen International airport.
The program clearly reveals that Biya is now an X Factor and his regime is unsustainable. For the first time in the history of the country, the presidency as an institution is not sure on who is going to receive a visiting French president.
To be accurate, Biya and his regime have no capacity to reform the sinking ship. The Francophone dominated administration is facing growing economic woes, crumbling infrastructure, warring elites and a serious secession crisis in Southern Cameroons.
For more than three decades, the 89-year-old Biya has relied on military action as his government’s prime means of legitimizing its power, something that has only become evident since the Ambazonia standoff exploded in 2016.
Before the Southern Cameroons Crisis, Biya and his criminal gang were looking fairly stable and could last for several years without profound change.
With age telling on Biya and fuel crisis hitting Cameroon’s bottom line, political elites and the military leadership, the only sharp tool in Biya’s box is his kinsmen and women in the military, and Biya is increasingly flexing them in the Far North and in Southern Cameroons.
Now, Cameroon is actively, almost openly aggressively, bolstering activity in the Far North against Boko Haram Camerounaise, rebels from the Central African Republic and armed bandits in the cities of Douala and Yaoundé including Ambazonia Restoration Forces.
Political commentators noted that the last edition of the Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Cameroon was one of the most militaristic in years.
The French have been supplying Biya with outdated tanks, post World War I missiles, expired electronic warfare systems and flying coffins passing for fighter jets. But what is more disturbing for the French now is Cameroon’s next president.
The problem for President Emmanuel Macron is that France doesn’t seem to have a long-term vision any more for its “former” colonies in Africa. President Macron himself has been jumping from solving crisis to solving crisis all over Francophone Africa-Guinea, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Macron is gradually drifting toward Anglophone Africa where leaders think properly and where political and strategic solutions are constantly being applied rather than military solutions.
It is hard to tell what Biya’s biggest problem right now is! Everything in Cameroon is crashing and fast and even Francophone millionaires are fleeing an economy which now has no room to expand.
And with foreign and local investors running away, Biya now has very limited choices: play nice with the Bamilekes, which means relax the Beti Ewondo grip on the Douala Port and pretend to ignore the Bamileke boycott of the Kribi Port or be replaced as Head of State by a Bamileke. Neither of these sound like options Biya is comfortable with!
So what does this actually mean for the so-called one and indivisible Cameroon? The answer is simple: collapse. Cameroon is indeed is a plane in a tailspin.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai