Even with the stolen victory, Biya remains a loser
Biya is sick and unable to attend to governance. At 85 years, Biya is a spent force with nothing more to offer Cameroonians. After 36 years of failed leadership, that he gets another mandate is not an achievement worthy of any celebration. If anything, it is a Pyrrhic victory, devoid of honour and virtue. It certainly would have been preferable if Biya had not run because, the only plausible outcome was that Biya will actually emerge a loser; whether or not the elections were free and fair.
Having personalised the country for so long, Biya’s long stay in office has denied Cameroonians the experience of peaceful change of leadership and put the country at risk of disintegration, amid the escalating Anglophone insurgency.
Unless power changes hands, the outcome of any presidential election will always be like a Shakespearean tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The drama of buffoonery and charlatanism has reached its climax. Cameroon must be brought back from the precipice.
Over the last 20 years, the monarch has become very dictatorial and he has successfully deleted any lines that existed between the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of the government. It should be recalled that Mr. Biya appoints all magistrates and judges in the country and has a huge influence on members of parliament and senators, 30% of whom are directly appointed by him, while 70% are elected in a counterfeit election whose results are usually known many months ahead of time. And this same influence could be seen during the just-ended presidential elections.
Right from the beginning, it was clear that beating the incumbent through the ballot box will be a Herculean task. The electoral code is beautifully written to ensure that the incumbent is maintained in power. Even the election organizing body, ELECAM, is replete with members of the ruling party and this makes it hard for real impartial elections to be held in a country like Cameroon that lacks basic, transparent and fair election rules.
From every indication, ELECAM is just another wing of the ruling CPDM (Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement), a party considered by many Cameroonians are a crime syndicate due to the type of people who are its members. This party’s membership comprises ex-convicts, hardened criminals, murderers, business-people evading taxes and embezzlers. It has been banned in Southern Cameroons by the Ambazonian Interim Government and designated as a terrorist organization.
ELECAM, by its very nature, cannot organize free and fair elections in Cameroon and this explains why there were many irregularities in this year’s presidential polls, a fact recognized by the American government which clearly indicated in its congratulatory message to the contested winner of the rigged poll.
It should be recalled that Cameroon has just held a presidential election whose results were known by almost everybody, as members of the election-organizing body are appointed by Mr. Biya and most of them are members of his ruling party. Similarly, members of the Constitutional Council were also appointed by Mr. Biya in January and all of them had been compromised. All of them are members of the ruling party, and many of their spouses hold positions in government.
The president of the Constitutional Council, Clement Atangana, a retired Supreme Court judge, who was struggling with life while on retirement, had clearly indicated that he was there to serve the president’s interest. His appointment was indeed a resuscitation for him as this could be seen in a video in which he was rejoicing after hearing the “good news”. Of course he knew from the beginning that one good turn deserved another and this was obvious during the Constitutional Council’s deliberations. A villa is currently being constructed for him.
Other members of the Constitutional Council who did not inspire hope were Florence Arrey, a long-time girlfriend of the country’s justice minister, Laurent Esso; Foumane Akame, a one-time minster under Mr. Biya whose wife is also a ruling party parliamentarian; Joseph-Marie Bipoum Woum who was also a minster under the current president; Paul Nchoji Nkwi also a former minister and Jean-Baptiste Baskouda who has also served under the same president.
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