Cameroon’s Presidential Poll: Biya under international pressure, likely to yield
As the dust raised by Prof. Kamto’s announcement about his victory in the October 7 presidential poll settles, it is slowly emerging that the country’s president, Paul Biya, is slowly showing some signs of flexibility about his retirement.
A source close to the Yaounde strong man has hinted Cameroon Concord News Group that international pressure on the 86 year-old dictator for him to accept the honorable exit proposed by Prof. Kamto has increased over the last two days following the historic announcement that might change the country’s history.
America and other Western countries, excluding France, are working hard to ensure that real political alternation is a reality in a country that has known only two presidents since independence in 1960. Western countries want to ensure that Cameroon is spared a disaster that many other African countries have experienced.
The negotiators are drawing Mr. Biya’s attention to the fact that if he refused to accept the verdict of the ballot boxes, millions of Cameroonians might take to the streets and this could result in a bloodbath that may see his ethnic group paying a huge price as it has been the greatest beneficiary of the strong man’s corruption and nepotism.
They are tactfully and skillfully advising the Yaounde strong man that he could become a hero and a globally respected statesman if you played a key role in the peaceful transfer of power in Cameroon.
Mr. Biya is also being made to understand that if he continued to be in power, the conflict in the English-speaking regions would continue and more lives would be lost.
It should be recalled that the Southern Cameroons crisis and its mismanagement by the government have gone a long way in eroding Mr. Biya’s credibility. The country’s economy has taken a hit and most corporations in the English-speaking regions have collapsed, with many of their employees have been laid off and are going through a stressful life.
Mention should also be made of the thousands of people who are today internally displaced, with more than half a million living in Nigeria as refugees.
So far, news from election officials regarding the computation of results is not good. The first election results reports have been reviewed and it is clear that Prof. Kamto has a huge lead in many of the precincts in the four major and populated regions – West, Littoral, Far North and Center.
This news has hit Mr. Biya’s closest collaborators like Laurent Esso, Fame Ndongo and Yang Philemon like a ton of bricks and many of them are still trying to put up a fight. They hold that the Constitutional Council can reverse things and that the people could be made to reason through military brutality.
It is being rumored that there is panic in the corridors of power as Biya is gradually opening up to the idea of accepting Prof. Kamto as the winner of the October 7 poll.
Our source, which has elected anonymity, stressed that Mr. Biya’s changing attitude has become a millstone around the necks of his collaborators, many of whom have huge skeletons in their cupboards.
“Mr. Biya’s display of flexibility regarding the possibility of political alternance in Cameroon is causing many of his collaborators to lose sleep, especially those who advised the president to take tough military action against anglophone protesters. This decision has come back to bite the government. Election results are a true reflection of the people’s frustration with a system that has spread pain and death among Cameroonians,” the source said.
“They have been rattled by this poll and they can feel the people’s determination to take to the streets if the ruling party tries to change the results,” he added.
“Cameroon is gradually heading into a new political era and regime members are worried about their future. Many of this people have spent most of their time living expensive lives. They have yielded to the temptation of living above their means, and the thought of a new political dispensation is causing them huge nightmares,” he stressed.
Cameroon is gradually crossing the threshold into a new political era, but the country’s journey to that new era depends entirely on one person – Paul Biya.
As he contemplates the possibility of living as an ordinary citizen after October 30, most of his collaborators are yet to come to terms with the fact that they will have to face the same people they have been treating like second-class citizens.
By Kingsley Betek and Asu Vera Eyere