27, July 2021
More details on the health of Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, are gradually emerging.
The 88-year-old is in a very bad shape. Sources close to the Yaoundé dictator have informed the Cameroon Concord News Group correspondent in Geneva that it will be a miracle if the ailing president emerges from his multiple and complicated health challenges.
According to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Mr. Biya arrived Geneva almost dead. He was very tired and could not even walk. He was put on oxygen upon arrival to enable him breathe. His condition was already concerning before he arrived in Geneva.
“Even during the flights, there were concerns that he might die mid air. The pictures that were sent to the media about the head of state and his wife leaving the country were designed to give the impression that Mr. Biya was in good health,” the sources said.
“The president could not go into the airplane all by himself. He was carried into the plane. He was tired. He had been down for weeks. Members of his entourage were scared that he might give up the ghost even before the plane landed in Switzerland,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, there is total panic in Yaoundé. Many people are gradually coming to terms with the new reality. Many are already seeing the end of an era that has brought more pain than prosperity to millions of Cameroonians.
The Cameroon Concord News Group’s correspondent in Yaoundé, Rita Akana, has been speaking with some CPDM stalwarts and most of them are not hiding their fears and concerns.
“Mr. Biya’s death will not come as a surprise to many of us. He has been in reclusion for most of last year. The Coronavirus and domestic problems made it hard for him to go out for any real medical check-up. He knew that with his age, he was vulnerable. This time around, things are really falling apart. There is no other way to hide the truth. The cat is really out of the bag,” a CPDM militant told Ms. Akana.
“Many people are already dead because of the terrible things they have done. They know Mr. Biya’s demise will bring about radical change in the country and many of them might end up in jail. Things will never be the same again in this country,” the senior CPDM militant said.
“The falsehood in which we have lived over the last four decades is gradually catching up with us. In Cameroon, political language is designed to make lies sound like the truth and murder made to be respectable. This is the tragedy that falsehood can deliver to a people. Even the press releases that were issued that the Head of State would return last Sunday were just designed to fool the people. The authors of those releases knew that Mr. Biya’s crowd of diseases had pinned him down in a Geneva clinic. We are now hearing that he might not make it, given his age,” the sources added.
Meanwhile, within the government, there is infighting with some indicating that a vacancy should be declared, while others are reluctant to go down that path not because Mr. Biya might stage a comeback, but because his constitutional replacement is in worse shape than Mr. Biya.
Sources close to the Etoudi Palace say Chantal is now the person giving instructions to the Secretary General on the day-to-day running of government affairs. Since she is the only person who is allowed to be around the president, she is using her privileged position to run the country and Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, the Secretary General, who owes his position to Chantal Biya, is obliged to play ball with her.
But the frustration within the ruling party with the way Chantal is running the show might soon boil over. Many party stalwarts know that the game is over and they want a change in direction.
Some have indicated that when and if the old man kicks the bucket, the Anglophone crisis must be given the pride of place among the problems that need to be addressed urgently.
They argue that many people have been killed, especially as some two thousand army soldiers have been sent to an early grave, and thousands maimed. They understand that dialogue with the separatists will reduce the pressure on the soldiers.
Some CPDM stalwarts are already calling for a commencement of talks with Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, the poster boy of the high-level insurgency that has caused the economy to haemorrage money and jobs, so that the fighters on the ground can know that things are going in the right direction.
The need for some form of talks comes as the country’s air force has refused to obey the Minister of Defense’s instruction that the air force be deployed in Manyu Division. The air force has argued that Manyu remains a rough terrain to its officers and that its deployment will not change much in terms of results, a source at the defense ministry has hinted Cameroon Intelligence Report.
Manyu has been a nightmare to the soldiers and behind the scenes, many CPDM stalwarts are laying the blame of the orgy of killings that is playing out in Southern Cameroons at the door steps of the dying Biya.
Many accuse him of extreme arrogance and intolerance. Some claim that his arrogance and dictatorial tendencies have ruined his health and left the country on the brink of a major implosion.
“We are sure that if we engage with Mr. Ayuk Tabe and his colleagues in jail, a few things will change. We must demonstrate to the fighters on the ground that the government is now serious and willing to make concessions. The fighters’ change of strategy has sent many of our soldiers to an early grave and this is demoralizing,” a government official said on Monday.
Over the last two months, many army soldiers have been slaughtered like pigs in the two English-speaking regions of the country, prompting the Minister of Defense to hold a security meeting with senior security officials in the West Region.
The Minister of Defense, Joseph Beti Assomo, who at the beginning of the war arrogantly declared that his soldiers would implement the president’s decision without batting an eyelid, has been very disappointed with the results posted by his soldiers.
Many have been killed, thousands maimed and Ambazonian Defense forces are now controlling large swaths of land in the two English-speaking regions of the country.
Though the crisis in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon is on every mind in the country, Boko Haram’s brazen attacks and atrocities are causing government officials to lose sleep.
More than fifteen soldiers have been killed over the last three days, but the most gruesome incident is the killing and burning of the bodies of some five soldiers in Zigue in the Far North region of the country.
Government officials also believe that if the awful attacks will stop, then they must seek ways to talk with the religious sect that is striking fear in every mind in that region of the country.
Cameroon is going through challenging times. Many people hold that Biya is to blame for all the wars the country is engaged in. Millions hold that a better Cameroon will only emerge if Mr. Biya dies and many really want him to return home, but in an expensive coffin.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai