On Thursday July 13th 20178 in an unusual way and in the most unlikely of places, the ageing but social media friendly Biya took to the twitter to announce his candidature for the forthcoming Presidential elections to be held in October 7th 2018
In his announcement, the country’s media shy president pinned his decision on what he describes as “overwhelming calls” from his militants to stand and make the country more “prosperous, stable and united”.
“Dear Compatriots in Cameroon & the Diaspora, Aware of the challenges we must take up together to ensure a more united, stable & prosperous Cameroon, I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as Your Candidate in the upcoming presidential election|” he wrote on his twitter feed.
Dear Compatriots in Cameroon & the Diaspora,
Aware of the challenges we must take up together
to ensure a more united, stable & prosperous Cameroon,
I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls.
I will stand as Your Candidate in the upcoming presidential election pic.twitter.com/6oldKFYWak
— President Paul BIYA (@PR_Paul_BIYA) July 13, 2018
The blistering announcement quickly made headline news on different social media platforms even when critics try to snub the news as no event.
His supporters who have been clamoring for the 86 years old to run again for yet another 7 years mandate despite being in power for since 1982 went to the state of ecstasy as if to say their party cannot simply survive without its founder and national chairman.
Many of his die-hard supporters had issued multiple motions of support in the past, calling on the commander in chief and Cameroon’s second and longest serving President whom they say is their “natural candidate” to run again as they say he holds the key to the country’s stability even though realities on the ground says otherwise.
Changing political landscape
The political landscape in the country is like never before, while Boko Haram terrorists group still struggle albeit with little success to make their impact felt in the far north region of the country with isolated attacks, Anglophone secessionist groups have surge, pickup arms and are engaging the government in multiple fronts in a war many now say the state is losing on the ground and within diplomatic circles.
Many areas in the English speaking regions of Cameroon is simply ungovernable as secessionist promised months back, and even major towns and cities where many had believed where beyond the reach of poorly equipped separatists forces who heavily relied on their mystical bullet proof charms now says it’s now a matter of time as recent gun battles in Buea and other major towns have sent shock and disbelieve in the minds of many.
The government is yet to define a clear strategy as it characteristically looked locked in its confusion and corruption in ways to end the two years old crisis which was started by lawyers and teachers.
The President of the republic is yet to visit any of the affected regions despite the number of deaths recorded, entire villages burnt and historical human rights violations according to Amnesty International.
Right groups have condemned the government’s approach in handling the crisis, with International crisis Group warning of impending civil war should the Biya government not change course while some foreign governments have called for unconditional dialogue to resolve the conflict even though fighting intensifies, and many more continue to die as the clock ticks every second.
No vote in Anglophone regions, no problem
By announcing his candidature, the presidential race is now set and many now wonder if there is need for another election which has always been dominated by the ruling party and with this one sure to be won by the man in charge after having filled the election management board, ELECAM and constitutional council, two bodies charged affairs of the election with his loyalists through decrees
Cameroon’s chief opposition party the SDF is relying on 51 years old Joshua Osih to do what his political godfather and party founder Ni John Fru Ndi failed to do in 18 years which is to topple President Biya from power while Akere Muna, son of former political heavyweight and one time Biya ally is also hoping his intentional recognition and glory can help propel him to wonderland.
But many will call their ambitions wishful thinking as the ruling CPDM is all but sure to win yet another humiliating landslide which makes mockery of Cameroon’s democracy and rubbishes the country opposition.
The opposition best bet is the aggrieved Anglophone regions who have been crying of marginalization and systemic discrimination and government inactions have plunge the regions into a nightmare and the electorates there remain the opposition’s best bet but are unlikely to vote due to security concerns.
The government will assure all of maximum security but how reliable can these security guarantees be when recent spate of events have shown cracks within the state security apparatus to effectively ensure all citizens are protected especially during days like October 7.
Activists have called on opposition party to boycott the race and force the government to dialogue with the people rather than give the President legitimacy by contesting in the forthcoming Presidential election, call which fr now have been snubbed by those running for the supreme office of the land
Secessionist forces who have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they have the means and the resources to stop elections in the entire Anglophone regions have warned of grave consequences should the announced election takes place in “their land” and the months ahead looks troubling for many I these areas who are already suffering due to fighting.
The politicians seem to be betting on the other 8 regions or what is left of it considering Boko haram looming presence in the far North and they are confident they can go along without North west and south West regions.
Editorial: Anglophone crisis is in purgatory
When the government delegate of the crisis-hit Bamenda City Council took the unusual step to beg his population on bended knees to end the crisis yesterday October 22nd, 2019, many saw it as another comic action from a senior government official who knows what to do to end the crisis but chooses a political theater
For keen observers of the now infamous Anglophone crisis, Vincent Ndumu’s action might reflect the reality on the ground-a government basically on its knees but adamant to continue a senseless war for interests far bigger than Yaoundé.
The three year’s war has ravaged the economy of the country not least the two English speaking regions of North West and South West.
More than 3000 billion francs CFA has been lost, hundreds of businesses closed and CDC-Cameroon’s second-largest employer after the state is a mockery of its former self as repeated attacks on its workers by armed groups has forced the corporation to shut down close to 90% of production capacity, sending tens of thousands to the employment world
Cameroon’s economy is on its knees and Bamenda City is the hardest hit. For a city which was already suffering from punitive neglect from the Yaoundé controlled government before the crisis, it was no surprise therefore that one of the immediate courses of the crisis was the protest by Mancho Bibixy over the state of roads in the city back in 2016.
His coffin revolution at the Bamenda City Chemist roundabout sparked a region wide protest which quickly spread across the two regions.
Many have died and many continue to die, in fact we have lost counts of the death but estimates put it at more than three thousands most of whom are civilians.
Hundreds of thousands have been displaced internally and in neighboring Nigeria and more than 200 villages burnt to ashes according the CHRDA.
Cameroon, once an island of peace in a turbulent central African region suddenly looks in tatters as its political leaders snail-walk their way to finding lasting solutions to a historic problem threatening the unity of the nation they swore to uphold.
After resisting calls at home and abroad to end the war which is driving thousands to die in high seas along US Mexico border, radicalizing more youths at home and displacing millions, President Biy finally called for major national dialogue during a rare address to the nation on September 1th 2019
After the 5 days major national dialogue organized by government and boycotted by separatists concluded in Yaoundé on October 4th, 2019, many are even more confused as to the fate of impoverished Anglophones as it is fast becoming clear that even the half-baked solutions and efforts were intended to shrug off international pressure rather than end the conflict,
President Biya quickly jetted out of the country immediately after the summit to brief France-te country’s colonial master about its outcome, brushing calls by US, EU and separatist leaders for yet another more inclusive dialogue out of the country’s borders to find lasting solutions to the crisis.
But as politics play out in Yaoundé and other western capitals, many continue to die and local administrators in the regions are increasingly under attack.
Governor Lele of North West, the New SDO of Bui all came under attack by separatists fighters this week in the North West regions even as government struggles brandish serene Anglophone regions
The Dismissal of about 16 ENAM grads last week by MINAT boss Paul Atanga Nji for refusing to report to work after their appointments in the restive northwest region further reveals the growing discontent even with the ruling class about the security situation in a region government says it’s under control
There have been multiple reports of fighting between government forces and armed Ambazonian fighters across the regions, leaving many dead as the population continues to pray and hope for an end to a crisis they suddenly they have no say about its directions.
National Dialogue: Biya puts Dion Ngute at the crossroads of Cameroon’s history
Many have dubbed him the country’s “luckiest” prime minister as Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute is tasked with the responsibility to find lasting solutions to the Anglophone crisis-a historical problem which now threatens to return the country to pre-independence border.
Brought in during the latest cabinet shakeup earlier this year, the former minister was considered a surprise pick for the job. The South West born premier has been tasked with arguably the toughest and indeed exciting job in history.
Dion Ngute’s fate certainly rests with the success or failure of the planned dialogue but at the same time provides the seasoned diplomat the unique opportunity to create some of the best chapters in the country’s political history.
Prime Minister Dion Ngute has been busy ever since President Biya undercut his ministers and announced a surprise national dialogue. The move has been welcomed by the International community and different political actors at home
In a race against time, the premier who is tasked with chairing the dialogue has been holding different level consultations with opposition leaders, activists and different stakeholder within the contest of preparing the framework of the much-anticipated dialogue
Dialogue like no other
But Dion Ngute will be chairing a dialogue which centers on the survival of the country he now oversees its operations—at least on paper.
The Anglophone crisis which has gone violent for three years now has been a historical problem of the country ever since independence.
The Anglophones have systematically complained of marginalization and discrimination in the dominant French-speaking union. Independence fathers west of the Mungo have tried and failed in the past.
This is not the first time the country will be converging under the umbrella of the Anglophone problem to chart a common course.
But previous meetings by Fonchas, Munas, and others have failed to resonate within political elites of the country at that time had to prioritize national unity over bi-cultural values of the two people who agreed to reunite in 1961.
But despite the warning shots from independence fighters about the cracks emerging from our unity, the government has failed to implement most of the measures many believed would have gone a long way to avert the crisis.
But a three years crisis which has drawn the attention of the International community killed thousands displaced hundreds of thousands and seen many villages razed has forced the government to reconsider its position as the pressure keeps mounting at home and abroad.
Dion Ngute will be chairing a meeting, many say should be the bedrock of the future of one and unified Cameroon, strengthened by its diversity and people.
Dion Ngute has been given one of the most difficult job description ever handed to any of his predecessors in recent memory, it is left the “nyanga boy” as he is fondly called to decide how he would love to be remembered by history.
Editorial: Biya flashes Amba light…..at last.
In a highly awaited speech announced for September 10th 2019, the President of the republic Paul Biya has shocked many.
In one of his longest speeches as president since he took over office more than 36 years ago, the 86 years old focused on the Anglophone crisis ravaging the North West and South West regions
In his introductory note, the president regrets the killing by armed separatists, kidnaps and torture in the three years crisis.
For the first time since the crisis started, the commander in chief also gave his heart felt condolences to all the families affected during the crisis which he said has forced “thousands of our population to live in other regions and neighboring countries”
The President who has been blamed for the poor handling of the crisis moved to familiar territory, enumerating numerous measures he believes his government has taken to resolve the crisis which began as strike led by teachers and lawyers in 2016
In his long list of measures reminiscent to a campaign speech, he mentioned the discontinuance of judicial proceedings to over 200 persons, his offer for armed groups to lay down arms and the creation of national disarmament and rehabilitation committee among other achievements.
“We will continue to make the necessary efforts to fully materialize these efforts” he adds
But in a speech were many where pregnant with expectations of a big announcement, the president in all honesty failed to deliver once again on the national stage
Opposition leader Maurice kamto and all political prisoners arrested and incarcerated were ignored entirely in the speech
President Biya refutes any claims of marginalization within his government, touting the appointment of prime ministers from Anglophone regions for close to a generation now
Grand dialogue announced
In what could have been a glimmer of hope for the long night, the president announced a massive dialogue which has been describe as panacea to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
President Biya says all sons and daughters of the republic will be called upon to participate in the dialogue to find lasting solutions in the country. The dialogue according to him will be chaired by the prime minister, rallying lawmakers, business leaders, security forces, armed groups and victims of the crisis among others.
Why the dialogue will be seen as a welcome move by many back in the Anglophone regions who have long clamored for any dialogue of this kind, the terms of the dialogue will certainly fail to please hardliners who say any such dialogue must take place out of the borders of the country and chaired by a third party.
Long speech, nothing new
In all, the president said nothing new in the highly awaited speech, touting regular phrases and achievements many believed was meant for International audience and CPDM supporters.
President Biya also failed to grant the much clamored amnesty to prisoners involved in the crisis, and rather intensifies his advocacy for a one and indivisible Cameroon, a statement critics perceives as a provocation to the separatists
For those who were expecting general amnesty, the President was clear, no one should be deceived that criminal acts would be pardon just to advance dialogue, he said, and made it sufficiently clear that perpetrators of violence abroad will face justice in no time as he slaps the wrong people and embrace the right ones
He however says that after the grand dialogue, a presidential pardon might be rollout to those incarcerated on certain conditions, while insisting that any such dialogue must take place within the constitution of the republic and the country.
Speaking to CRTV after the speech, the revered Catholic cardinal, Christian Cardinal Tumi who has been a vocal critic of the regime says he is positive with the announced dialogue, urging the prime minister to take all measures to ensure it’s a success
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