Monday, December 16, 2019

You see, I survived- Paul Biya

The journalist Fanny Figeaud in the work "In Cameroon by Paul Biya" from which we offer some extracts, tells how Paul Biya managed to stay in power against all odds.

When he came to power, few observers imagined that Biya would last a long time: he seemed shy, uncomfortable, his hoarse voice made him pass for a weak one. “At first, I was only given six months to survive and, basically, we were not wrong. All the security had been put in place by my predecessor and was devoted to him. “How dare you sleep here!” Worried my friends. You see, I survived, "he confided in 1999. The way he managed his first ten years in power ultimately left Cameroonians to see a Biya very different from the idea they had of it. beginning of his presidency. As the years have gone by, it has become more and more distant, more and more enigmatic: the time is long gone when we saw him cycling in Yaoundé. 

Since 1984, Biya has taken refuge in its fortress, gradually becoming almost invisible to its fellow citizens and even to most of its collaborators. The press conferences he has held and the interviews he has given, in almost thirty years of presidency, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. He rarely shows himself in public: in general, Cameroonians raise the military defense that on the 20th of May, a national holiday, and from time to time in the front page of the daily newspaper Cameroon Tribune during an audience granted to an ambassador or a foreign industrialist passing through. They can hear him every year on three occasions: during his traditional speeches, delivered at the end of the year, at the time of the "youth festival" on February 11, and on the anniversary of his arrival at the power, November 6. But, 

It has amazing expressions like “I see that”, “it seems to me that”. These formulations are very revealing: they show that he does not feel concerned. It looks like he is Zimbabwean and he talks about China. ” The president never travels within the country, except to go to his native village of Mvomeka'a or stealthily during the presidential campaigns. In 2010, for example, he made only one official visit: they went to Bamenda to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the army but also to prepare the ground for the presidential election in 2011.

He had not been to this important city in the North West since 1991. Bamenda is however the city that has seen it most often: in almost 30 years, Biya has been there five times (1983, 1984, 1985 , 1991 and 2010). He has not been to Douala, the economic capital and largest metropolis of the country, since 1991. However, he passed in October 2010 by his airport, located at the exit of the city, on the road which leads to Yaoundé: his plane , unable to land in Yaoundé, had to make a forced landing there. Biya and his wife had to reach the capital overnight in the vehicle of the governor of the Littoral region, on which Douala depends. On this occasion, they took the “heavy axis” connecting the port city to Yaoundé, the road the most used and incidentally the deadliest in the country because of the incivism of motorists but also because no investment has been made to adapt it to the level of traffic. "Unpublished: Paul Biya discovers the heavy axis", headlined the daily newspaper Mutations, explaining that this return made at night was probably due to the poor condition of the presidential residence in Douala. 

In ordinary times, the only exits from Biya are to Nsimalen international airport, about twenty kilometers from the Presidential Palace of Etoudi, or Mvomeka'a where he developed a pineapple farm and built a golf course and where he often stays. It happens regularly that his fellow citizens do not know where he is for more days, even weeks. "Where has Biya gone?" Asked the daily Mutations in October 2009, six days after the departure of the Head of State from the UN General Assembly in New York "for an unknown destination". End of July 2010, the private newspaper Le Messager titled in turn: "But where has Paul Biya gone?" ”, No news having been given of the president since his participation in the official ceremonies of July 14 in Paris. In November 2010, same scenario: "Where did Paul Biya go? »Asked Mutations again. Most of the time, the president is actually in Switzerland, at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva. A private daily has calculated that he had resided there with his wife for three of the last six months of 2008. It often remains up to 44 days in a row outside Cameroon, the legal limit provided for by the Constitution before a declaration of vacancy in power. His long Swiss stays led his compatriots to nickname him "the vacationer", "the lazy king" or to mock the official formula used to announce his departures "for a short private stay in Europe": on his return, his critics say thus "in short private stay in Cameroon". asked Mutations again. Most of the time, the president is actually in Switzerland, at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva. A private daily has calculated that he had resided there with his wife for three of the last six months of 2008. It often remains up to 44 days in a row outside Cameroon, the legal limit provided for by the Constitution before a declaration of vacancy in power. His long Swiss stays led his compatriots to nickname him "the vacationer", "the lazy king" or to mock the official formula used to announce his departures "for a short private stay in Europe": on his return, his critics say thus "in short private stay in Cameroon". asked Mutations again. Most of the time, the president is actually in Switzerland, at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva. A private daily has calculated that he had resided there with his wife for three of the last six months of 2008. It often remains up to 44 days in a row outside Cameroon, the legal limit provided for by the Constitution before a declaration of vacancy in power. His long Swiss stays led his compatriots to nickname him "the vacationer", "the lazy king" or to mock the official formula used to announce his departures "for a short private stay in Europe": on his return, his critics say thus "in short private stay in Cameroon". A private daily has calculated that he had resided there with his wife for three of the last six months of 2008. It often remains up to 44 days in a row outside Cameroon, the legal limit provided for by the Constitution before a declaration of vacancy in power. His long Swiss stays led his compatriots to nickname him "the vacationer", "the lazy king" or to mock the official formula used to announce his departures "for a short private stay in Europe": on his return, his critics say thus "in short private stay in Cameroon". A private daily has calculated that he had resided there with his wife for three of the last six months of 2008. It often remains up to 44 days in a row outside Cameroon, the legal limit provided for by the Constitution before a declaration of vacancy in power. His long Swiss stays led his compatriots to nickname him "the vacationer", "the lazy king" or to mock the official formula used to announce his departures "for a short private stay in Europe": on his return, his critics say thus "in short private stay in Cameroon".


Source: Cameroonweb.com