87 year-old President Paul Biya is reportedly pursuing his dangerous plans to get rid of ministers who show themselves too ready to join the race to succeed him. Biya and his consortium of ruling CPDM crime syndicates have adopted a governing policy described by Cameroon Concord News Group as “photocracy”, a system of governance where a dying man’s picture keeps on representing him in events.
Biya and his gang are sending strong messages to his would-be-successors as he uses the Special Criminal Court to end their political careers. The list is long including ex-prime minister Chief Inoni Ephraim and former defense minister Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o.
Rivals manoeuvre to succeed Biya recently intensified in Yaoundé and several allies of the Cameroonian president are now vying for the leadership of the state and the ruling CPDM party. We understand that many of these so-called French Cameroun political elites are trying to steal a march on their rivals. But they are wary of being too open about their intentions, as the president has been quick in the past to sideline any man or woman within his criminal structure seen as too ambitious.
President Paul Biya’s succession is presently on life support! Not only is the president’s own health failing but so too that of his constitutionally designated replacements namely- Speaker of the National Assembly, Cavaye Djibril and leader of the House of Senate Marcel Niat.
Relatives of the powerful are being targeted by the Special Criminal Court. Establishing this court was President Biya’s way of saving himself the embarrassment of being humiliated during his perennial trips abroad as the President of the most corrupt countries in the world. This ranking of the country as the most corrupt or one of the most corrupt countries had a potential to hamper President Biya’s personal pecuniary interests far from the borders of Cameroon. There was therefore a personal interest need to establish the court. Another personal interest need was to avail himself of a legal tool under his direct control to consolidate absolute power, blackmail potential rebels and competitors within the system and to stifle any form of institutional opposition. He perceived the court as a tool with which to whitewash his more than thirty years of corrupt governance and the rape of the economy.
Recently investigators at the Special Criminal Court in Yaoundé have been taking an interest in close relatives of political figures. Depicting the Special Criminal Court established to prosecute alleged corrupt government officials and the several Alibabas responsible for pilfering from the public treasury as the President’s court is no misnomer. We call it the President’s court because it is one instrument of power through which the President is reining in on perceived opponents from within his CPDM power conduit. An attribute of a genuine court is the fairness of the trial proceedings in cases which are brought before the court for trial. It is not the number of convictions entered against accused. A court is legitimate and recognized as such because of its exercise of judicial, executive, legislative and administrative independence. A court that is independent must be accessible to all citizens after all, is equality before the law, not a constitutionally protected value? The Special Criminal Court is lacking in these attributes of impartiality, judicial independence and accessibility. It is perceived more as the President’s Court than a Court of Justice.
Biya’s war against the people of Southern Cameroon-Ambazonia is now unwinnable! At the heart of the crisis, which started in 2016, was a strike by teachers and lawyers, in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. The professionals, supported by citizens of their areas, protested the unfair use of the French language and unjustified appointments of French speakers in their territories. By 2017, the situation had spiralled out of control and developed into a fully-fledged separatist war. Both government forces and separatists are now bogged down in a conflict, that observers say, can only be resolved through dialogue.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai