President Biya’s much anticipated departure is unlikely to alter the political climate of the country he ruined for more than three decades. It is already heading to two years ever since the Southern Cameroons crisis started and none of his fake policies seems to have delivered the expected result.
The appointment of an ardent Southern Cameroon criminal, Paul Atanga Nji as minister of Territorial Administration signals that Biya’s days of absolute and abusive power are over. This is not to say; however, that Biya – the Right Royal President – will quickly be forgotten. How can Cameroon’s impoverished masses forget a man who so cynically plundered Cameroon’s wealth, hiring a string of jets and stashing billions of Euros in Swiss bank accounts.
The bespectacled tyrant and his lavish lifestyle will long be synonymous with the worst excesses of corruption and greed. Having made himself head of state with full executive powers after the 1984 April 6th coup, Biya and his gang embarked on a course which would quickly reduce Cameroon to a shambles.
In the 1990s and with the support of a Southern Cameroons pro CPDM comedian, Chief Inoni Ephraim, Biya proclaimed a fake anti colonial doctrine and the beautiful city of Victoria was renamed Limbe and Anglophones were urged to adopt a national costume of French Cameroun design. Not being one to hide his light under a bushel, the son of a wretched Roman Catholic Catechist, Paul Biya Bi Mvondo became the father of the Cameroonian nation.
Today, it is evidently clear that what Mr. Biya is actually leaving behind is a country in name only. In both East and West Cameroon, roads, ports, railways, schools, hospitals and public buildings have all been allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair that it will take any new regime in French Cameroun many years to fix the mess. Ever since the creation of the ruling CPDM crime syndicate in Bamenda, any pretence at good governance or fiscal accountability was dropped as Biya’s cronies dipped their hands in the public coffers and his political opponents squabbled pointlessly among themselves.
In Mvomeka’a, the village of his birth, he has constructed a gaudy palace, a multimillion dollar golf course with ornamental gardens and a runway long enough to accommodate a Boeing 747, which he often leased from Air France for family shopping sprees in Geneva. His cynical exploitation of Cameroon is made possible by French government support.
In return for providing bases from which the French can control the Central African Sub region, Biya has been able to extract the maximum of US and EU aid and indulgence. The French are on hand helping him to carry out the genocide currently going on in Southern Cameroons.
Biya still has the backing of the French government even though growing anarchy and lawlessness threatens him at home. Few could have predicted that the beginning of his end would be occasioned by an uprising born in the remote areas in Southern Cameroons. Reading from a small piece of dirty paper at the Nsimalen International airport in Yaoundé from a trip that took him to the Ivory Coast, Biya appeared like a man who has lost everything: his health, his family and above all, the respect of his people.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai