Cameroonians brace for impact, terrified by the uncertainties of a micro-managed succession
“Brace for impact!” Only few survivors of plane crashes live to tell the story of the sheer horror of those ominous words … heard through the Aircraft’s public address system, in the harrowing seconds, before the plane goes down.Yet, this is the same feeling most Cameroonians are now having, because of the sheer uncertainty of 82-year old Biya, whose succession has become another French-micro-managed scandal, like Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. Cameroonians generals and some well-placed members of Biya’s presidential guard have shipped their families abroad and are maintaining open-ended visas, to enable them leave on short notice.
Biya who has ruled the country from a Swiss hotel, like the absentee-landlord of a criminal enterprise, is now faced with in- fighting between his most trusted accomplices. Martin Belinga Eboutou, Rene Sadi, Alain Edgar Mebe- Ngo’o and other members of his close concentric circle of flunkies, are divided on how the succession process should occur. Of course, each group is supported by its own lobby at the Elysee in Paris.
Those who argue the Biya has signed a concealed order to be release in the event of his sudden death, claim that his chose of Rene Sadi as his successor is informed by his Baboute ethnicity- a small Muslim ethic group in the Mbam and Kim division, that will allow Biya to thwart the power ambitions of the Fulani royalty of the North, who claim the leadership in Cameroon as their birth right … on the threat of civil war.
The recent French rescue of Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compoare, and his exile in Yamoussoukro – Ivory Coast, is a recent indicator of the long arm of the French in its nominally independent former colonies, which are still treated as the oversees extension of the French empire. The ultra-militarization of the country has left Cameroonians terrified and cowered by the vicissitudes of daily survival, and the need to leach on the boss who may be linked to the winning lobby.
Cameroonians abroad are busy burnishing their images with Washington and Paris, and presenting lofty résumés’ as to what leadership skills and erudition they possess. Due to the centralization of power in Yaoundé, the common folk in the villages are left out in this succession struggle.
Anglophones are again being naïve in thinking that the French will be out of their mind to accept one of them, as a leader in one of their strategic neo-colonies, which is the gateway to their Central African Empire. With leaders like Fru Ndi, who has accepted bribes to play by the rules of French domination, the present crop of appointees shine only through their cowering and cringing attitude to their Francophone boses like Fame Ndongo who claims that Biya is a “tin-god” with Philemon Yang, Achidi Achu, Nji Atanga, the late Agbor Tabi, Ngolle Ngolle, as his “creatures”
Anglophones, the orphaned people handed over to the British after the second world war, have been described by Pierre Mesmer (Former French Governor in Cameroon and French Prime Minister in the 60s) as a little gift of the Queen of England to General De Gaulle. Crafty aspirants to Anglophone leadership have been hitching their hopes on a lucky Francophone master who could be picked by France to rule Cameroon- their private hunting ground.
The real problem of Cameroon, that the French have refused to deal with, is again rearing its ugly head. Will Cameroon finally accept the democratic and demographic solution of one-man, one vote?. That is the question that is plaguing power brokers like Joseph Owona and Amadou Ali who see the youth bulge that constitutes the majority of the country now, as a Bamileke problem.
According to some conservative Cameroonian pundits, with approximately 250 distinct ethnic entities, the Bamilekes who live in feudal fiefdoms do not seem to stand a chance, by dint of their control of the economic, financial and demographics of Cameroon. That is why the French “pacifier” of the Bassa and Bamileke nationalist movement, referred to the “Bamilekes” as the prickly pebble in the shoe of French colonization in Cameroon.