Paul Biya Plotting Another Seven Year Mandate

Unlike in 2011 when it was abundantly made clear that Mr. Biya was standing for another mandate, with the so called “peoples call” here and there, the 2018 presidential ambitions of the head of state has been largely muted, with even his die-hard stooges unwilling to voice the idea. The echoes for his reelection have only been murmured by the likes of Gregoire Owona, Mr. “Computer” in his ambitious overtones in the PB hev project and Atanga Nji Paul who openly called announced in Bamenda on November 6, 2017 that Paul Biya remains the only choice for Cameroon.

But the man in question seems to have other ideas. The Enquirer has been informed that he has contacted a French political communication firm to sell his image to Cameroonians ahead of the 2018 Presidential Election. Mr. Biya sought after this same firm in 2011. PB Com International, an international political-Communication consulting firm would have the responsibility to cleanse the president’s image, design his election campaigns messages, control his e-image (social media) and formulate strategies to retain him in Etoudi. To this light, the firm is said to have reportedly bought the internet domain name expected to be mad public soon.

This is not the first time that the  French journalist Patricia Balme, director of PB Com International is marketing Paul Biya’s image.  Her firm has been managing Paul Biya's marketing since 1999, managed his 2011 presidential run which was successful.  Patricia Balme successful led Nicolas Sarkozy to the Elysee in 2007 and is also closely working with Macky Sall, President of Senegal.

If Mr. Biya who has never officially lost an election in Cameroon runs for another term in office, he would be expected to rule Cameroon for a total of 43 years by the time his mandate ends in 2025, approximately 20 years after he told Cameroonians in June 2004 when he responded to rumours of his date that his distracters should take the rendezvous in 20 years.

There have been silent voices for the president not to run for another term in office. Amongst these voices is the lone courageous voice of  the Arch Bishop of the Douala Arch Diocese and president of the National Episcopal Council of Cameroon, Arch Bishop  Samuel Kleda who recently advised the the Head of State Paul Biya to step aside in 2018 if he truly loves Cameroon. The Prelate made the statement in an interview with the French Paper, La Nouvelle Expression published on Tuesday December 5, 2018 saying,

“If President Paul Biya really loves this country, he would rather think of a peaceful transition by passing power to another person, either within his party, the CPDM, or within a party of the opposition” he said adding  “I am convinced that if there are free and democratic elections in Cameroon, the truth will be surprising.

Some members of the all powerful ruling CPDM have in private circles revolted the notion of another mandate for the head of State but lack balls to publicly say it, breeding ground for fear to persist and fertilizes the ambitions of the president. I have even met senior administrators who strongly resent the idea but say their position does not require them to act.

The opposition in Cameroon still remains fragile and fragmented, with the authorities making sure it stays this way. Recently, two 2018 presidential hopefuls, Maurice Kamto of the MRC and Ben Muna, an independent candidate and former President of the Cameroon Bar Association met in Douala to work out the possibilities of building a united opposition front to confront the Lion Man. How many other political leaders will be willing to join this initiative and if the main opposition party the SDF would like to move into such a coalition remains to be seen.

By Abongwa Fozo

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