Yaoundé: Biya celebrates 29 years of ‘blissful’ marriage!
Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, has just celebrated 29 years of ‘blissful’ marriage to his wife, Chantal Biya, who is noted for her flaming red hair.
The pictures of the event, which have been trending online, were designed to demonstrate how powerful the couple is but feedback from many observers leaves much to be desired.
Supporters of the dictator have been trying to demonstrate that the 90-year-old was still strong and energetic, a reason for him to run again in 2025 in the presidential election.
But pictures do not always lie. Paul Biya, the man who was much loved by Cameroonians in 1982, is today a shadow of his former self. He is more of a bag of bones than the athletic person he was in the 80s. His physical attraction is today something of the past as violent molds threaten to take over his entire face.
In recent times, the ailing, aged and disoriented president has been a massive liability and embarrassment to his country and there are doubts even within his ruling and corrupt party, the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) about his ability to represent the party.
Mr. Biya, who has never really won any presidential election since 1992, has vowed to die in power with the support of the military and his fellow corrupt party members are doing their best to keep him in power so that they can continue to loot the system.
It is obvious that Mr. Biya is not in control of things in Yaoundé. His closest collaborators, including his wife, have created a ring of fire around him and they are running the show however they want and anybody suspected of not following their marching orders is immediately arrested on trumped up charges and sent to the Yaoundé Maximum Security Prison.
Biya really has a reason to celebrate that marriage of his which has been tested on many occasions and the results of the scrutiny point to something which keeps the 90-year-old president worried and awake at night.
Some of his own ministers have been looking at Chantal with the eyes of love but the fear of spending their whole lives in Kondengui has served as a restraint on those ministers with roving eyes.
The first lady herself has been the subject of some unpleasant rumor and it is alleged that a former minister of public health, Urbain Olengena Awono, is languishing in jail today even when he has been absolved of most of the charges against him, because the first lady needed him in more ways than one, some of which were not work-related.
Though not loved by Cameroonians, the 90-year-old president is incontestably part and parcel of Cameroon’s political story and during the wedding anniversary, Biya and his flamboyant wife were cheered by family members who are all members of the ruling CPDM crime syndicate which has taken control of the country’s treasury.
As far as democracy is concerned, the problem is that Biya and his cohort of kleptocrats and kakistocrats are determined to hang on to power even after the next presidential election.
He has been in office for 40 years, but his decision to continue holding on to power is indeed unwise. Ever since he was forced to reintroduce democracy in the country in 1990, elections have been about vote rigging, calls for boycott and abstention.
For a man who has always insisted that he was the president of all Cameroonians – even as those same Cameroonians particularly those from the English-speaking part of the country are constantly being slaughtered by his Francophone dominated security forces – Biya has, over the last two years, not ventured beyond his stronghold of Yaoundé.
There is a very obvious reason for that: a significant proportion of Cameroonians see him as a man without legitimacy. Many hold that a Biya-free Cameroon will be an El-dorado and that after 40 years of political and economic chaos, it is time for him to yield the floor.
Biya’s appearances in Etoudi in 2023 are politically intriguing and are all aimed at seeking to send a message to Cameroonians. His recent wedding anniversary ceremony was also meant to show strength but that too only proved that he clearly belongs to the past and if he harbors any thoughts of running again, he should shelve those plan as most Cameroonians are looking forward to a change in political personalities and approaches.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai