Paul Biya has for quite some time now embarked on a race against time. Fronted, eulogized and deified by his supporters as the master and controller of time, Paul Biya suddenly awakened to the reality that time plays tricks on people. In this mind-set, Paul Biya since the last mandate which he obtained after manipulating the constitution at the cost of the life and limb of many of the citizens he swore to defend and protect, put in motion a policy change anchored on a deconstruction of the corrupt machinery which has overseen his three decades of personal power at the helm of the country.
In his characteristic manner, Paul Biya used surrogates to make that he is a great leader who conceived and sought to implement the best of policies intended to transform the country into a model democratic and economic miracle in a troubled continent. But that his policies were frustrated by persons on whom he reposed confidence to execute them. He promised in a number of ends of year speeches to deal comprehensively with these “enemies within the house”. Biya desperately needed to destroy these expendable individuals to shift focus from his monumental failures, abuses and oppressive policies to a justification for a prolongation of his mandate to clean the mess. And he has done so admirably well and with little resistance from the concerned. Any form of reasonable resistance would have been surprising since these individuals are his creations and served at his pleasure.
However, with the mantra of war against corruption from which he carefully insulated himself through a constitutional amendment, he has vandalized his expendable lackeys with the zeal and brutality of a wounded lion. With this immunity, a purported war against corruption, an unrestrained access and control over state resources reminiscent of an Alibaba, Paul Biya acquired enormous powers to dismantle and establish new instruments of power to sustain his eternal imperial reign. The rallying war cry against corruption has since become the explanation and justification for thirty-two years of misrule, oppressive policies, failed economic policies, nepotism and the politicisation of national ethnicities.
These mantra precarious political and economic policies that have been the signpost of his three decades in power have driven the polity to the edge of a collapse into inter-ethnic conflict with wide ranging ramifications. Paul, Biya, like Ahidjo, Houephoet Biogny and Eyadema and other French neo-colonial lackeys needed establish his indispensability at the helm of the state to prevent an apocalypse. In this regard, he needs to sustain the atmosphere of permanent tension that places the country in a permanent state of emergency requiring motions of support against unspecified enemies and adversaries.
Prying on their own creations with the corrupt syndicate and presenting them as the causes of failure are not new in the politics of French neo-colonial Africa. These policies often include the framing of some collaborators for planning or fomenting real or imagined coop d’états or attempted coops to blackmail, intimidate and hoodwink the citizenry. The April 6 (1) and (2) attempted coups d’états contained elements of both. While waiting to move to higher gear, the epervier operation is fronting or satisfying this purpose well. However, despite the successes recorded, it is still an experimental political tool that has attained a tacit legitimacy from the tests conducted on Paul Biya’s political creatures.
One of the strongest arguments Paul Biya seem to be making by default in answer to critics accusing him of politicising the war on corruption is that the alleged victims and the methods he is employing are his creations; that both were possible thanks to him and him alone. In this regard, he may be right. The problem however is that he has fine-tuned the construction and deconstruction of corrupt political elite for use alone or in aggregate with other subterfuges to satisfy the realisation of his eternal power agenda in 2017and beyond.
At the moment his ethnic politics of divide and rule is playing out between the Beti South and the North in attempts to use the war against Boko Haram to black the Northern Power elite to shield its ambition and claims to the Presidency. This policy has had a serious hit in the Southern Cameroons. This is largely due to the fact that the evolving power game is either misunderstood by them or they are considered an irrelevant factor in the claims and battle for power. Also, their erstwhile leaders on whom they mortgaged are in jailed or are they timid, scared, uncomfortable and untrustworthy of the Biya’s new political agenda to reasonably and courageously stake out for a deceptive and foolhardy agenda of dividing a people who only paid lip service to the handoff politics of Paul Biya as opposed to Ahidjo.
It has dawned on them that try as they could; they are and will forever remain outsiders in the power equation directing the politics of Cameroon. Former frontline e CPDM power elites Ephraim Inoni, Forjindam and a host of others once dreamt that they were significant factors with the potential of wielding substantive political power and were promptly reminded and humiliated to the embarrassment of many who believed the perfidy.
Prior to this moment of apprehension, the politics of divide and rule were sadly implemented in the South West by withdrawing qualified young administrators from the centre of power to serve in the region at the pleasure of the respective Prime Ministers from the region when they mattered. Those who formulated this policy hoped to galvanize a support base made of administrative and quasi-political elite whom they used as alternative power structures to organize the grassroots to advance their individual political agenda as opposed to that of the province. They did not place sufficient trust in even the CPDM party structures comprising at times of demanding power seekers whose allegiance required constant incentives to sustain. The elite required only administrative positions and needed additionally to make sacrifices towards supporting the political agenda of these supposed leaders in order to retain their posts.
To their dismay, these individuals lost out for competition for relevance at the national level. Some realized and are bitter that these supposed leaders hoodwinked them to abdicate the pursuit of their professional or career to obviate potential competition for attention at the centre for Paul Biya’s attention. This explains why most of them have abandoned these leaders who involved them in senseless political adventures to unjustifiably influence elections in favour of the very power that is devouring its offspring. This politics of personal power has inflicted so much harm on the polity and divided communities and households, all in the name of competing for the attention of an elusive and unpredictable president.
Many within the CPDM political party are still living within the mind set a political agenda which has since undergone transformation. Paul Biy is currently inflicting a lethal assault on the CPDM and its power elite mired in embola-ic political myopia. Many have still not understood that Paul Biya is undressing the CPDM and its power elite in the market place of his neo-colonial politics of personal survival and relevance. Many have not realized that when pressed to bring about political and economic reforms, Biya has no choice than to sacrifice them. Many have been caught unawares by the new politics in which through sacrificing them, Paul Biya is making a case for his own political relevance and a justification why he must seek another mandate in the evening of his life to clear the mess and supposedly save an unstable polity from collapse.
The war against Boko Haram and in the Central Africa Republic have come like manna from heaven to support why Paul Biya should not yet abandon a sinking ship which is approaching an iceberg in a turbulent sub region. When a country is at war, it is in a defacto emergency situation. This atmosphere makes the potential for egregious violations for the purpose of maintaining law and order real. The prosecution of the war on two fronts, a dire economic and politics of poverty and corruption, the next circle of elections and potential tinkering of the constitution may spell doom for a significantly fragmented nation. This is the reason why the real patriots need to seriously debate, dialogue and provide solutions on how to save Cameroon from itself.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
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