Would Paul Biya Heed To Trump’s Advice To Step Down

President Paul Biya and Ambassador Peter Henry Balerin at the Unity Palace (May 17)

In what could be seen as the greatest pressure to bear on the “L’homme Lion” of Etoundi after the advent of Multi-party democracy and the launched of the SDF in 1990, the most powerful country in the world, the US has subtly told the man at the heart of Cameroon politics for the past 43 years to think about how he would be remembered in history.

Peter Henry Balerin, US Ambassador to Cameroon after an audience with President Paul Biya on May 17 at the Unity Palace told the press that “  ‎I suggested to the President that he should be thinking about his legacy and how he wants to be remembered in the history books to be read by generations to come” adding that  he had  “proposed that George Washington and Nelson Mandela‎ were excellent models”  for him to follow.

This is undoubtedly a strong signal from the US to Mr. Biya, barely months to the next presidential elections in Cameroon due for October.  Unlike ahead of the 2004 and 2011 election, there is no indication yet that Mr. Biya would announce his candidacy for the presidential election. His ruling CPDM party has remained largely muted with calls for him to run (the people calls) So far echoes of that have been heard mainly from party cells in the Centre region and from some of his close collaborators and kinsmen.

 Ambassador’s Balerin’s advice follows that of Arch Bishop Samuel Kleda of Douala and President of the National Episcopal Council in an Interview he granted the French Paper, La Nouvelle Expression,  published on Tuesday December 5, 2018 where he said  “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.

But President Paul Biya has not been known to give in easily to pressure. He survived the 1984 coup, the 1990 multi party onslaught and weaver the economic crisis of the late 80s and early 90s.

Beside Government Spokesman, Issa Tchiroma has been quick to come to his defense, saying Cameroon is a sovereign nation and that Mr. Biya has more love for Cameroon than any other and would leave the scene through the front door.

2018 could be a difficult year for Cameroon whose fragile unity is threatened on several fronts, most especially by Anglophone separatist who want a new country for the English speaking regions of Cameroon.  Beside, Cameroon is still expected to hold parliamentary, council and general elections before the close of 2018.

By Abongwa Fozo

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