Paul Biya and the virus: Cameroon’s absentee leader in a crisis 0

French Cameroun’s war on Southern Cameroons is the murkiest stain on Biya’s hard-earned, blood-spattered and blemished reputation. For sure, he will go down in history as a man who inherited a peaceful and progressive nation but conspired to leave it in disarray and divided. It’s impossible for the people of French Cameroun not to feel disillusioned about his leadership. They are facing the worst political and public health emergency to hit them in generations, but are led by a calamity of a leader. Combing through the history of the great continent of Africa, it’s hard to find a political failure that rivals Paul Biya.

If there is a sluggish leader at the head of any organisation, it spells problems but Paul Biya of French Cameroun is a calamity. In the midst of a global pandemic, all heads of states are busy setting structures, policy and building makeshift hospitals to keep their populations safe, the butcher of Mvomeka is in political reclusiveness. Reclusiveness is his natural political habitat and somehow his nation has learned to accept it. There was a remarkable video last night of the Nigerian government building a makeshift hospital in Lagos with hundreds of beds in anticipation of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic over the next few weeks. In French Cameroun, no such preparation is being made. Cameroon Concord News Group understands that the country’s understaffed, ill-equipped and under-resourced health sector has already collapsed after ninety-one people tested positive for the coronavirus. We, of this media outlet consider it criminal that a government could be so negligent about the lives of its citizens. 

The political ineptitude from Yaoundé is loud and obvious with a Prime Minster who is woefully out of his depth leading the government’s lackadaisical efforts. The messages from the government are mixed, confusing and inadequate. The streets of French Cameroun are filled with bike-taxis and hawkers with little or no public health messages. There are little or no state resources available to fight the pandemic as the embezzlement epidemic has crippled the economy. Cameroon Concord News Group considers last week’s decision to shut all borders and ground flights without proper consultations, preparation and professional advice as an attempt by the government to take its begging bowl to the WHO and IMF. Unfortunately, these organisations have wised up to the old man’s tricks.

French Cameroonians are paying the price for their lack of vision and courage which has kept Biya in power for thirty-eight years. Many of his citizens believed erroneously that his lack of compassion was only extended to the Southern Cameroons. They thought his capacity to be unmoved by the loss of others was only confined to Ambazonians but they are about to find out that they were sadly mistaken. They are about to experience this silent killer which will ravage and kill many innocent souls as their government does nothing to prevent or contain its spread. They are at the mercy of this invincible and potent killer due to a lack of preparedness, a culture of underinvestment in public services and a philosophy of exaggerated theft of public funds under the leadership of Paul Biya. All this is about to happen with an absentee head of state, who himself at 87 years of age is petrified of this invincible killer.

Cameroon Concord News Group believes that Mr Biya’s government isn’t taking the threat of this coronavirus seriously and the responsibility lies at the helm. Mr Biya has demonstrated over the years that he is ruthless when dealing with political opponents but the time has come when his compatriots need him to show this trait in dealing with this pandemic. His legacy as a political failure is unblemished but he could at least do it some good if he enacts any policy that saves some lives in his desperate and anxious nation.

Isong Asu, London Bureau Chief, Cameroon Concord News Group