Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Cameroon: ill fate of the Bamilkés of the Biya regime

According to the Journal Jeune Afrique, the last two presidents of Cameroon had to collaborate with Bamikés executives. The newspaper specifies that those who had to work with Paul Biya are either deceased, or put under the snuffer.

However, all the regimes governed by relying on the Bamileke. A former legal adviser to the Presidency of the Republic under Ahmadou Ahidjo, then under Biya, recalls that the two presidents each had "their" Bamilekes, who were always part of the cream of the elite and the first circle of power. 

He thus remembers the irremovable Minister of the Interior of Ahmadou Ahidjo, Enock Kwayep, in business continuously for several decades. Or his very close shadow adviser Samuel Kame. Reputed to be rude and known for his verbal outrage, he was so devoted to Ahidjo that after the latter's departure he did not wish to join Paul Biya. 

For our adviser, the casting was more prestigious under Ahidjo, with strong personalities like Victor Kamga, Minister of Justice of the first post-independence government in 1960, who will be dismissed from his functions as Minister of Information in 1966, then thrown in jail. 

In comparison, the Bamilekes of Paul Biya seem very pale. Certainly, we have known the bubbling Françoise Foning, businesswoman and mayor of Douala IV, Tchouta Moussa, ex-director general of the National Office of Ports of Cameroon, and Augustin Kontchou Kouomegni, ex-Minister of Communication, ardent defenders of the regime. The first two have died, the third is hardly talked about. 

trial. If the supporters of Marcel Niat Njifenji, second personality of the State, want to believe that he is pulling the strings behind the scenes, his detractors, them, say him "harmless and inaudible" because of his past as general manager of the company Sonel electricity, renamed Eneo (his immense fortune would come from the supply to said Sonel, via his own company, of eucalyptus used as electric poles). The man spends most of his time on his ranch in Nkafeng, about twenty kilometers from Bangangté, settling disputes in neighboring chiefdoms.

AS LONG AS IT LIVE, THE PARTY'S NATIONAL PRESIDENT REMAINS THE NATURAL CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. National Secretary General of the CPDM, Jean Nkueté is not spared either by "his brothers" or by people of the president's ethnic group, who regularly sue him for incompetence. "However, notes the political scientist Manasse Aboya Endong, except for the late Charles Doumba, he is the most influential secretary general that the party has known. Discreet, he remains a highly listened to advisor. Biya and Nkueté have been traveling together for four decades. 

Of all the collaborators of the president at the office of the Prime Minister, he is one of the few still at his side. "Niat and Nkueté consider Biya as a brother and would not betray him to follow a tribal bell," adds Aboya Endong. As long as he lives, the national president of the party remains the natural candidate for the presidential election. A palace revolution is not an option. If pretensions were to arise, it would necessarily be outside the party. " 

In Cameroon, it is sometimes enough to dream of a presidential destiny to find “your Bamis”. This is the case of Joseph Owona, chancellor of the University of Yaoundé in the mid-1980s. He turns to Bernard Fokou, owner of the famous butcher Ben le boucher. He obtains exclusive rights to supply the university restaurant with fresh produce. 

Fokou then embarked on hardware. Inserted into the CPDM, the latter now owns the largest Cameroonian-funded company. His name often appears in the well-known subcommittee on stewardship and logistics, which brings together the most wealthy activists and is responsible for the funding of major events organized by this political party.