The French Cameroun dictator who was given marching orders to leave Swiss territory in June 2019 after a massive protest by French Camerounians at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva has ever since been shuttling between Yaoundé and his native Mvomeka’a for the past 14 months.
To be sure, it is exactly 14 months since the French Cameroun chief executive left Europe and has never again embarked on his so-called “short private stay”.
On June 23, 2019, Paul Biya and his wife, Chantal Biya after spending nine months in the nation’s capital reportedly left the country to rest at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland. But on July 5, only ten days later, the National Chairman of the ruling CPDM crime syndicate and Mrs. Chantal Biya were forced to return to Yaoundé.
French Cameroonian activists in the diaspora, grouped under the Anti-Sardinard Brigade (BAS), disrupted the presidential couple’s stay in Geneva with several demonstrations, including the most important on 29th June that witnessed attacks on Paul Biya’s close guards with a spilled over effect on a Swiss journalist who accused the Biya guards of having molested him. The guards were convicted and expelled from Swiss territory. Since then, Mr. Biya has not been on holiday on European soil.
He however, made two trips in France on the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. The first was in Lyon in October 2019 for the 6th Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the second was to attend the Paris Peace Summit in November.
Paul Biya now spends most of his time between the Etoudi Palace in Yaoundé and Mvomeka’a, his home village in the South of the country. This is a surprising attitude for a President who has always been presented as a “holidaymaker”.
A report by Organize Crime and Corruption Reporting (OCCRP), as part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, indicated in 2018 that the Cameroonian President, in 35 years of reign, had spent the equivalent of 90 billion CFA francs for “short private stays” outside Cameroon, mainly in Geneva.
The same survey indicated that the Cameroonian treasury was releasing, on a daily basis for the same reasons, about CFAF 20 million only in hotel expenses of the Head of State and his delegation, excluding meals and other extras.
By Besong Esther Agbor in Halmstad