Cameroon after Biya, Who?




President Paul Biya

President Paul Biya



I spent most of my day yesterday pondering over this question, and when I finally went to bed, I immediately plunged into wonderland over it. The luxury of wonderland is that I was on a flying carpet and literally above the law. I could read into minds, visit the actors where ever they were and invincibly attend any meeting I got wind of and above all could go back in time to do just all these. But unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury to visit the future though I could use what I have to predict somehow.

If I am left mulling over this, it’s because events of late have fired up this question. Mr. Omnipotent recently choose who he thinks should paddle the canoe in case of any eventuality. Was I surprise with this? No I wasn’t. It had become crystal clear that the second authority of the land was likely going to came from the West or Littoral region (the fourth political block) for the simple fact that the president of the National Assembly is from the grand North, and an Anglophone is a pawn of government, did I saw head or pawn, any way you know what I mean. And then I don’t need to tell you those that occupy state house, do I?

And if this would not convince you enough, then know that no man born of a woman is immortal. Mr. Biya will turn 85 by the time his present mandate expires and I don’t need to remind you what that means even if he told Cameroonians in June 2004 that he still have another 20 years to live.

By 2018, the Central –South would have been in power for 36 years, beating the record of the Grand North that stands at 24 years under Ahmadou Ahidjo. Which political block is next in line in our political relay? You response is good as mine. However one thing stands clear, Mr. Biya would definitely choose his successor by hook or crook. Let us take the following paragraphs to examine some possibilities as I say in wonderland.

The Grand North, never underestimate (Adamawa, North, Far North)

As my flying carpet circled over Etoudi, the aura of the man inside was too strong for me to enter uninvited so I resorted to eavesdropping from above. It’s written in bold on the walls that the Grand North (Adamawa, North and Far North Regions) wants back what they think is rightfully theirs. They gave power to the Central-South (Center, South and East regions) and as a reciprocal favour, Paul Biya should do same.

For so long, the speaker of the national Assembly, Cavaye Yengui Djibril was that constitutional successor to Mr. Biya, and from what I gathered up here, it was clear he could not run for office after ‘Pablo’, but northern fraternity can never be underestimated. Considering the 1984 coup d’état, you will not want to go any further. Even if that privileged position has been snatched from their hands, the grand North still stand a remote chance. The First vice president of the Senate, Abdoulaye Abbubakary is from the Grand North and above all epitomized the true image of all that it encompasses. Both Biya and Marcel Niat Njefenji are age pals and who knows who take the exit first.

Besides, there exists a North-South power axis as testify by one of the wikileak’s document on Cameroon, citing Vice PM Amadou Ali. And if truly such and axis exist, then we all are mere spectators, and there is nothing we can do, except invade the pitch.

The Grand North holds such a huge political influence in this country that they forced the president’s hand to create the University of Maroua, and then accept all students from that part of the country who applied into ENS Maroua. Their share political force can be measured from the number of ministers and other top ranking position in government. There are 17 members of government from the Grand North, 9 from the Far North, 5 from North and 3 from Adamawa. The North still holds the presidency of Economic and Social Council (Ayang Luc), GM of Sonara (Ibrahim Talba Malla Oumaté) and there is the first Vice president of the Senate too. 51 of the 180 MPs are from this region as opposed to 35 from the Anglophone block, 50 from the Beti-Bulu and 44 from the Sawa-Bami group.

If this is a game of card, then the man in the glass house has his cards right to his chest, and when it is revealed, trust me it would not be Marafa Ahmidou, or Iya Mohammed, and Amadou Ali, Issa Tchiroma or Belo Bouba are off the grid by default, it would be a surprise as in 1982. If you want to guess, be my guest.

Over the years Mr. Biya has shown how unpredictable he is about the choice of people he select to carry out different tasks (check out his appointments to top positions) and this is a big liability for the Grand North. For so many years political kingpins from this part of the country have greedily nursed hopes of succeeding Biya through a peaceful transition and are alleged to have pledged all their political capital and weight behind Biya as long as he would return power to them after his reign (Cameroon:Wikileaks Cable 18)

The Northerners way of thinking, which makes them feel more Cameroonian than any other is a potential powder keg which can ignite Cameroon into an inferno, something which the master chess player has already seen and would not want to nuture it in any form.

The rise of Sawa-Bami power (West, Littoral)

This new political block was born into the public sphere with the emergence of Marcel Niat Njifenji as president of the senate on June 12, 2013. They have always been there but relegated to the background. The sawas have always had a stake in the Judiciary one way or the other. The present president of the Supreme Court is Alexis Dipanda Mouelle, with the wildcards to reign for as long as he wishes. Jean Nkuete a native of Menoua division is currently Secretary General of Central Committee of the CPDM since 2011, a position more power than many ministerial portfolios.

The sudden emergence of this block is not an indication that they are being prepared for the post Biya era. Rather it’s easier to see it as a smart means to keep their hands off it.  In Wikileaks Cable 18, Amadou Ali Says an Anglo-Bamileke Can Never Succeed Biya. The deep distrust of this group is widely reported in the cable from one that is considered a power baron. This is not to be blushed aside as nonsense. The Bamis will such colossal economic power in Cameroon that many fear their hold on political power would make them more powerful beyond control.

The Beti-Bulu claim (Center, South and East)

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." the historian and moralist John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834–1902) wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887. This is an apt assertion of those that currently hold power in Cameroon.  And if great men are almost always bad men, why would they want to relinquish it-power.

Some hold that most of those behind bars today are there because they had an eye for the throne. An assertion an ambitious friend of mine, a graduate from ENAM affirms to. He once told me “there, we are told to aspire for any position in this land except to occupy Etoundi, for that is worst than treason” if you doubt this ask Titus Edzoa.

The struggle amongst this group has been silent. At one time the was the rise of G11, a group of top government officials that were positioning themselves for power after 2011, because they knew he would not run, but much to their dismay, he got heed of this and turn the table around. Today most of them are behind bar albeit for other offences they are accused of. Jean Marie Atagana Mebera, Urbain Olanguena Awono, Desired Engo Pierre, Gilles Roger Belinga, Polycarpe Abah Abah, Gerard Ondo Dong amongst many others.

But this is a group the man himself can never put aside for they are his blood and kindred. Despite the mistrust, one of his most trusted aide is still Emmanuel Rene Sadi, a kindred he appointed following the advice of Marafa as exposed in one of his letters.


The Anglophone right (Northwest, Southwest)

The greatest threat to the Northerners return to power is from this political block. An active political force since the days of reunification, the Anglophones have never gone beyond the constitutional second in command which is more on paper than in reality. Just before the coming of Mr, Biya to power in 1982, this constitutional prerogative was carefully played against them and since then, Anglophones whether they admit it or not, have failed to win from the ballot box, assert their constitutional right or see clearly. When an Anglophone is PM, it’s the speaker of the assembly (now senate) that constitutionally takes over from the president in case of any eventuality and vice versa. After all “they are enemies in the house”

It’s a common saying that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” The present regime has applied this Machiavellian approach to divide and rule this country for this long. Despite several statements by the CPDM regime to avow that peace in this triangle is the handy work of one super genius, in-house discussions state otherwise, the Anglophones are credited for this but the political capital they get in return is derisory compared to their input.

The 2005 housing and population census put the population of the two region just above 3.3 million inhabitants (that is 17% of the total population) making it the smallest of all the political blocks in terms of population, though this census took into account only the actual resident at the time of the census, its known that the Anglophone population in and out of the region and country is well above that number.

This country was founded on the basis of equality by two equal entities, the former West and East Cameroon, and secretly enshrined into the blood pact was how power was to rotate, even though time has proven this otherwise. But nemesis has it reckoning, and seems to bear its karma heavily on our politics.

I had earlier said my present powers don’t permit me to see tomorrow any clearer, but from the past here comes a man who does not want to leave the house on fire. Paul Biya wants to leave a legacy, and who to cement that destiny has been a pain in the ass for the past 7 or 8 years. How do you tame the ambitions of the south easterly winds that harbinger the dry season, or capture the vapours of the boiling equatorial water, or quench the thirst of a weary trader and middleman after a long and exhausting journey? At best the prodigal son could just be the answer.

The preamble of our constitution clearly states that we are all equal, and a legal mind as Mr. Biya may just turn back into his years of studying for an answer. Beside Simon Achidi Achu and Peter Mafany Musonge were highly tipped to be president of the senate, but were pushed aside for some unknown reasons. Could this be the grooming in the making? Is it not time for an Anglophone to take over after 70 plus years of French rule and domination? The answer to these questions could just be the key to unlock the code.

Recently the SDF has gone to close to the regime of Mr. Biya, much to the dislike of many Anglophones. Many have labelled Fru Ndi as a traitor and sell-out, but like Jomo Kenyatta, the Giraffe of the savannah, he is able to see beyond the horizon of most animals and can spot not only enemies but fertile grounds. Mr. Biya most trusted aide; Emmanuel Rene Sadi even took a delegation of belligerent CPDM militants from the Northwest region to the chairman’s resident where he held in-camera discussion with the regime most vocal critic and opposition leader for over 30 minutes. The question in many minds today, is what actually transpired between both men? Recently the president seems to put so much trust on this man, who headed a delegation instead of the sports minister to Zurich to plead Cameroon’s case against FIFA suspension. Ni John Fru Ndi since meeting with Paul Biya in Bamenda in December 2010 has held several similar meetings with him. I still vividly remember Mr Fru Ndi telling Cameroonians during several political rallies in the past that the day he would meet Mr. Biya one-on-one, Cameroon would change. Is this the change he was referring too?

The fact still remains, no matter how close you are to the president, this decision remains his own, and he carries the heavy burden of keeping it close to himself and himself alone. That is the irony of the man Biya, many think they can influence him which indeed they do, but he has always risen above these influences on several occasions.  His picking as successor to Ahidjo took even the late president by surprise. This is Cameroon. Let me rest my case








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