Biya breaks tradition, announces home-coming

Paul Biya

Paul Biya

Never before has the President’s return from a private or official visit abroad been given such extraordinary publicity on CRTV as was done in the early hours of Friday March 27, 2015.

Analysts said the President acted bravely to limit the damage that had been done to his image and prestige by the unprecedented Le Monde allegation.

It worked like magic. The affirmation by authoritative French Newspaper, Le Monde, that President Biya’s health is in jeopardy was denied.

President Biya took the first opportunity to hasten home to prove to Cameroonians and the world at large that far from what Le Monde claimed, he was in fact, healthy and strong.

The president alighted from the chartered plane that brought him home looking apparently in excellent health. He wore a broad smile and remained spritely as he greeted his aides.

Observers said it was a brave and expedient attempt to limit the damage that had been done to his image and pride by the unprecedented attack of the French Newspaper.

Analysts said Le Monde’s claims must have had a devastating effect on President Biya, who as commander-in-chief of the armed forces should stay at home and boost the morale of his troops that are defending the territorial integrity of the country from recurrent attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.

But what surprised everyone even more was the unusual publicity that was given the President’s home-coming by state broadcaster, CRTV.

CRTV took every opportunity on Friday to announce the imminent arrival of the President and his wife, Chantal Biya. It called on Yaounde residents and CPDM supporters in particular, to converge on the Nsimalen Airport and along the streets of the capital city to give the presidential couple a triumphal and hilarious welcome.

However and much to the chagrin of Biya apologists, the mobilization effort did not produce the expected effect, perhaps because of the heavy downpour that washed the capital city that afternoon.

Analysts were quick to note that by letting his countrymen to know, that he was home-bound, the president had broken with his long old tradition. Many remarked that President Biya has hardly ever made his itinerary known to Cameroonians.

Usually, the president’s displacements are only made public after he has left or after he has arrived. Informed observers say most often even some of the president's close aides were not informed about his itinerary.

The highly advertised and dramatized return notwithstanding, commentators say President Biya must waste no time in repairing the damage that has been done to his image by the hostile allegations of the French Newspaper.

It should be recalled that several years ago, French Newspapers took on President Biya, when he chose the quite confines of the sea-side town of La Baule, France as base for his private stay in Europe. French Press said the President Biya’s life-style was too wasteful and lavish for a President of a Highly Indebted and Poor Country like Cameroon.

Even though those managing the President’s communication made frantic efforts to limit the damage, the message had already gone through. And Biya learnt his less: he has since avoided staying in French whenever he is on a visit in Europe.

The Median Newspaper