After a long medical visit to Switzerland, Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, is currently working on a new cabinet based on an assessment of the country’s military, political and economic realities. Over the last five years, the country has been bleeding money due to the military crisis in the country’s two English-speaking regions. Southern Cameroonian fighters have been inflicting huge damage and losses on the country’s military, and military equipment has been disabled in many parts of Southern Cameroons.
All over the country, the economic situation is pathetic. Unemployment rates across the country are significantly high and corruption has reached lamentable and appalling levels. Many small- and medium-sized enterprises are shutting down due to punitive taxes and this is giving Mr. Biya a very bad name, making it hard for him to shake off the stress that is blighting his life.
While cabinet reshuffles are supposed to be conducted under wraps, in Cameroon, it is possible to have an insight into what is happening. A source close to the Presidency of the Republic has hinted the Cameroon Concord News Group that there will be significant changes and many heads will be rolling for the economic and military failures that will forever characterize Mr. Biya’s government. Mr. Biya is very bitter for the failings and wants to take out the dead wood in his government. These dead woods include, but not limited to:
Chief Joseph Dion Ngute: The current prime minister who is so laid back to the point where many think the country can really function without him. Since his appointment some two years ago, he has not succeeded to visit his own village due to the crisis that caused his massive palace to be burnt down. He was appointed on the grounds that he would help to disconnect the South West Region from the North West Region by giving currency to the fake news that South Westerners were a peaceful people who did not want to be part of the war that is still tearing the country apart. But Prime Minister Dion Ngute has not succeeded to bring out any South Westerners from the bushes. The indicators on the ground clearly point to the fact that South Westerners are as angry as North Westerners and that they are actively involved in the war that has resulted in the death of thousands of Cameroonians. In two years as Prime Minister, Joseph Dion Ngute has achieved only one thing – getting married to a very young lady and this has really given him a bad name within government circles. He might be let go to fully enjoy the “ship” he has conquered recently. Will he have the energy to deliver on the mandate he has set for himself?
Joseph Beti Assomo: The country’s Defense minister who arrogantly declared that he would implement the president’s decision without batting an eyelid. For more than four years, Southern Cameroonian fighters have proven that they are a force to reckon with and this has called into question the quality of soldiers being trained in Cameroon’s military academy. Despite the military’s brutality and primitive approach, Southern Cameroonian fighters have succeeded to kill some 3,000 army soldiers and maimed almost the same number and this is already creating an uprising within the military. Many soldiers have fled to neighboring countries and scandals about the payment of per diem to soldiers fighting in Southern Cameroons and the disappearance of huge amounts of money intended for the soldiers have given Joseph Beti Assomo a very bad name. He is one of those who erroneously think that only a military victory will put an end to the conflict that has been considered by the international community as a conflict that could have been avoided if it had been properly managed. He is also being accused of running a war economy that makes it hard for the conflict to be addressed. Regime insiders hold that he will be cut off following the cabinet reshuffle that is on the horizon because of his hawkish approach to the conflict in Southern Cameroons.
Paul Atanga Nji: The country’s poorly educated Territorial Administration Minister who has made a mountain of mistakes ever since becoming the boss of the territorial administration ministry. His poor mastery of English has transformed him into a laughing-stock. He is known for expressions such as “the boyses in the bushes”, “buring the bereaved”, and “Kumba is the capital of Fako Division”. Paul Atanga Nji, also known as the conman par excellence, was appointed as the country’s territorial administration minister because he had suggested that he would end the Southern Cameroons crisis if given the territorial administration portfolio and it was handed to him. Since taking over this portfolio, he has made multiple mistakes which have only made the conflict worse. He has created death squads just to overcome the brave Southern Cameroonian fighters, but his efforts have come to nothing. He has also tried to pit the different factions against each other, but his tricks have always fallen flat on their faces. He has also been implicated in many financial scandals. He is being suspected of using the war to illegally enrich himself and the “sparrow-hawk” is carefully looking at his file which may be submitted to the president very soon. His role in the disappearance of huge chunks of the COVID-19 resources is one scandal that might send him to the Yaoundé Maximum Security Prison. Ever since he got implicated in this scandal, he has been advised by the country’s security community to keep a very low profile and his has not been seen in public for over three months. His bold display of wealth by building a church and handing it over to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ebolowa is one action that has proven that he has robbed the country and is seeking to cast himself in very bright religious light. However, he is not fooling anybody. The Sparrow-hawk is hovering over his head and it is waiting for him to be taken out of government before it picks him up and takes him to where he rightfully belongs.
Jacques Fame Ndongo: The country’s higher education minister, also known as an ethno-fascist, is one of those responsible for the escalation of the conflict in the two English-speaking regions of the country. He is also suspected of stealing funds allocated for the purchase of computers for the country’s university students. Though he sings Paul Biya’s name all over Cameroon, it is becoming very clear that Mr. Biya is sick and tired of a man who has done a lot to split the country with his violent speeches and manipulation. He has led the higher education ministry for almost fifteen years, but his presence at the helm of this ministry has been very destructive, as appointments in the country’s state universities are based on loyalty and not on merit. He is also accused of setting up extortion groups throughout the country and this is giving the government a very bad name that sickens Biya to the stomach.
Jean de Dieu Momo: This beggarly lawyer appointed as the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice some two years ago has been an embarrassment to the government on many occasions. His love of social media and his combative approach to politics are not very much liked by members of Mr. Biya’s inner circle. He was appointed just to demonstrate that the government was inclusive, but he is turning out to be a massive embarrassment to the government. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar trying to plead with a lawyer in France to secure him residency in France; an incident that did not go down well with his boss and President Paul Biya. He will be released for him to continue living his low life in Douala where he is at ease to drink in very dirty drinking spots.
The Cameroon Concord News Group is gathering more information on the upcoming reshuffle and it will be releasing it as it comes in. There is a lot of tension in Yaoundé, and many ministers are working overtime just to prove that they are still up to the task. The pressure is real, and the fear is palpable. Many families will soon be in tears and many know that things will change. For Anglophones in the government, many fear that new faces may come onboard as a way of calming tempers in the two English-speaking regions of the country and this implies taking out the old faces which have not delivered on their mandates.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai