Chaos Looms over Cameroun as Ailing President Feared Dead
Multiple sources within the governing circles in Cameroun have revealed to Timescape Magazine that ailing President Paul Biya is dead. Despite a few contradictions, sources at the Presidency of the Republic say Mr Biya went into a comma and plans to evacuate him for better medical attention in Geneva, Switzerland flopped at the last minute as medical doctors found him too weak to sustain the over 6-hour journey.
A source at the third floor of the Presidency that refused to be named because no authorization has been granted to talk to the press, quoted one of Mr. Biya’s closest guards as saying: “the medical air ambulance that came in from Geneva was indeed intended to ferry the Boss to Geneva, but the doctors had to spend a few days trying to help him regain some strength in order to stand the journey, but he could not make it”.
A director at the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, CCAA who also requested anonymity to discuss such a sensitive issue noted that the Swiss Air Ambulance that landed at the Douala airport and stayed around from March 24 to 26 was actually in the country to pick up the head of state. The source added that the authorization was designed to clear any suspicions of such an occurrence, the reason the authorization document indicated that it was stopping for re-refueling. The source quipped: “An aircraft does not take over two days to refuel”.
Top security operatives in Cameroun have confirmed an unusual mobilization of troops around the country and a recall of some heavy weaponry previously deployed to fight Boko Haram in the Far North and to stop pro-independence uprisings in English speaking Cameroon. They told Timescape Magazine that elite troops are currently being moved back into the main cities of Yaounde and Douala in combat-ready gear. The Police Boss, Mbarga Nguele has also reportedly canceled annual leave for everyone and asked all police operatives to stay at their various stations and get set to move anywhere at any time.
A police commissioner at the Police headquarters said the entire country will soon be closed to any form of traffic. He said border security is being taken more seriously than ever to guard against weapons smuggling by insurgents likely to contest the designation of the son of the “deceased” head of state as successor. The police commissioner noted that as part of the drive, the ministers of defense, Joseph Beti Assomo and of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji will be traveling to Kye-Ossi in the South Region this April 2, 2020, to discuss strategies to make the impending closures effective there, while creating a safety corridor for Frank Emmanuel Biya, eldest son of the “deceased” president to “come back in from Equatorial Guinea once the stage is set”. The senior police official wondered aloud why it would be the ministers of territorial administration and defense going to discuss strategy at the border when it is the police that man the frontiers. The Police Boss is not part of the delegation.
The confusion in the Central African country gets compounded with reports that on Monday, March 30, 2020, the President of the Senate, Marcel Niat Njifenji, himself an octogenarian collapsed during a session of the house and would have crashed to the ground, but for the timely intervention of his bodyguard. Some senators who witnessed the scene told Timescape Magazine that in the absence of a standby medical team that would have provided a stretcher, the Senate President was “carried out into his car like a log of wood”. At the same time, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Cavaye Gibril is quarantined after testing positive to the novel Coronavirus.
The social media is today awash with calls for mobilization and counter mobilization for and against a monarchical style succession in Cameroun. The traditional ruler of Bamendjou in the West region is among some national dignitaries expressing worries that president Biya would maintain “such uneasy silence at a time the entire world is burning from the scotch of the coronavirus and all leaders are working daily to reassure their people”.
One-time celebrated Television news Anchor at the state broadcaster, Cameroon Radio Television- CRTV, Eric Chinje warned that no monarchical arrangements will be accepted in the country. Eric wrote on his Facebook page that: “A local newspaper in Cameroon has put out information suggesting that Mr. Paul Biya has passed on and that his son Frank is being put up to succeed him. I lend no credibility to either report, but my reaction is based on the fact that this may be a trial balloon. The paper ‘Sud Info Plus’, has access to some authorities in the South Region, and should not be dismissed readily. So, if this is a trial balloon, let it be known that this Cameroonian will accept nothing short of the provisions of the constitution for replacing an incapacitated or dead president. I hope other voices will be raised across the country to send this message to all who seek the destruction of Cameroon”.
Mr. Biya employed the divide and rule tactic for over 38 years as a means of perpetuating his grip over the country. In the process, he pitted one ethnic group over the other, elites from various regions against each other and even members of his government and the ruling party against each other. “It became Mr. Biya’s preferred sport to see top members of his administration at each other’s throat for his sake”, a member of the CPDM political bureau, the highest instant of the country’s governing mafia told Timescape Magazine. This posture had long been made public by a one-time regime baron now in jail, Marafa Hamidou Yaya.
As it stands, the mainly Muslim Northern population, made up of the Far North, North and Adamawa are expecting Mr. Biya to show ‘gratitude’ to late President Ahmadou Ahidjo by returning power to one of them. In the meantime, the Betis made up of the Center, South and East regions think it is their right to keep power within their ranks to avoid payback from all the other ethnic that felt marginalized during Mr. Biya’s almost 40-year rule. The Betis do not also trust the mainly Muslim northerners to forgive them for the ruthlessness with which the April 1984 failed coup was quelled. Several Muslims lost their lives along with property and others. In the end, both the northerners and the Betis appeared agreed on the notion that “No Bamileke from the West of the country” should ever have access to power in Cameroun. The leader of the opposition MRC Party, Maurice Kamto who claims to have won the 2018 presidential poll is a Bamileke indigene. He recently issued a 7-day ultimatum for Mr. Biya to show proof of life and address the nation on COVID-19 or he will be forced to “take my responsibilities”.
Story by John Akuroh, editing by Benjamin Ngah.