His collaborators have always projected him as the strong man, ordained by God to be eternal not only on earth but also on the throne, but the last years have proven that eternity here on earth is simply a mirage and that no man, including Paul Biya, born of a woman, will ever be physically eternal in a world nobody really understands.
For more than five years now, Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, has seen his energy waning. Though he seems to believe his own lies that he is still energetic, many events have continued to remind him that time is running out for him.
Cameroonians have seen him struggle to walk and when he dares to walk, he trembles like a 7-month baby who wants to try his luck at walking.
As his energy levels decline, so too do his muscles fall apart and that makes it hard for his clothes to fit him.
Not long ago, his own trousers sought to take French leave of him during an event where there were thousands of guests at the Unity Palace.
The humiliation was huge. His wife, Chantal Biya, who doubles as a live-in care-giver, is permanently on the watch when she is in public with the aging and ailing Biya.
She knows something bizarre might happen anytime as the tired 88-year-old president is gradually losing his mind and his physique, which once gave him the looks of an adonis, is crumbling under the weight of age.
The Unity Palace event wherein his trousers dropped to the floor left Mrs Biya with a pink face. It was a day she wanted to demonstrate that her husband was still alive and strong, but nature had an unpleasant surprise for her and it came in a way she least expected.
Cameroonians who were glued to their TV sets had the ill-luck of seeing Mr. Biya’s colorful pants and his withering legs. Time has a way of diminishing men who think they are indispensable and Mr. Biya has had more than his fair share of humiliation.
But the humiliation is far from over. Since he has opted to stay in the spotlight, he must accept that time will continue to expose him to ridicule.
If he is not sporting a tootless mouth, then know he will show up with a face that has been invaded by age-related scars and it is fair game for his critics to make fun of him, as he has always projected himself as the defiant dictator who will never quit power.
But the greatest humiliation came on January 9, 2022, when the Yaounde strong man finished reading his opening speech at the AfCON 2021 being held in Cameroon.
Things had gone on smoothly until Mr. Biya forgot that though alive, he was not as strong as those around him.
After reading his very short speech, insteading of calling on his guards and nurses to help him take his seat, he proceeded to do things by himself and, of course, he went down like a pack of old and tired cards.
Before his guards could reach out to save him, the old, sick and tired Biya was on the floor struggling to pick himself up.
Nature cannot be cheated. Such an incident was just a nasty reminder to a man who has simply overstayed his welcome and has outlived his usefulness.
Sources close to the president’s entourage said the fall resulted in him urinating, adding that thanks to his thick diapers, he would have left the stadium with a wet trousers.
Many Cameroonians are asking lots of head-breaking questions about Mr. Biya’s health and fitness as a president.
Many think his constant embarrassment of the country in public could be a justification for him to be relieved of his duty, but will the falling Biya ever leave power?
An observer, who spoke to Cameroon Concord News on condition of anonymity said the dying man might only leave on the day he defecates on his trousers.
“We should not think Biya will relinquish power. Power has gotten into his head like a drug and he clearly thinks that he should die in power,” a source said.
“Things have been made all the more challenging because he has surrounded himself with a bunch of emasculated sycophants who cannot speak truth to power,” the source regretted.
Biya may be putting up a strong man image, but it is clear that he is running out of time. Instead of humiliating himself, his family and country, it will be wise for him to exit through the big door.
However, if he insists on dying in power, he might do so in public during one of those events in which he might want to prove that he is physically strong to rule the country.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai