Uncertain future of Cameroon after forty years of reign of Paul Biya

The omnipotent Cameroonian president has just celebrated four decades in power. Still at the center of the game, the quasi-noisegenaire Paul Biya deliberately leaves the question of his succession in the fog.

by Cyril Bensimon

Analysis. After forty years to the Presidency of Cameroon, Paul Biya could, at 89, devote his forces to teaching his science of longevity in power. The school would certainly have its headquarters in Central Africa, where four other leaders, some replaced by their son, cumulate with him more than two centuries at the controls of their country (Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad).

Paul Biya has left his fellow citizens time to dissect his mode of governance. A discreet existence, a withdrawal of political life which allowed him to occupy his function such as a spectrum, aware of everything but responsible for nothing, and finally an outstanding know-how to eliminate all those who, among his opponents and Even more his lieutenants, had the assertive ambition, presumed or suspected of taking her place at the presidential palace of Etoudi.

The ex-secretary general of the presidency, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, has been “arbitrary detention”, according to the United Nations, for more than ten years; Edgar Alain Mébé Ngo’o, former all-powerful Minister of Defense, has been waiting for more than three years to be tried for corruption and diversion of public funds; The opponent Maurice Kamto, who dared to contest the re -election of Paul Biya in 2018, also stayed in prison and his relatives continue to fill the cells of the Kondengui remand center in Yaoundé. Thirty years ago, John Fru Ndi, then “the candidate of change”, had known more or less the same fate, assigned to house for almost two months after decreed his “stolen” victory.

The succession at the heart of concerns

Avare of his words, Paul Biya discovers himself through a few small ironic sentences – “does not last in power who wants, but which can”, he launched in 2015 during a visit by François Hollande – and s ‘amuses questions about his future. “When this mandate will expire, you will be informed about to know if I stay or go to the village,” he announced in a chevant voice in July, alongside Emmanuel Macron, to a RFI journalist who questioned him about his intentions for 2025.

The question of his succession has however been, for years, at the center of the concerns of Cameroonians. “What will happen next day? This is the only subject of discussion, even if everyone is paying attention to the words he uses, relates Stéphane Akoa, political scientist and researcher at the Paul Ango Foundation Ela in Yaoundé. This situation creates a lot of apprehension because no one believes in a strict application of the Constitution and no clear scenario is taking shape. We are today in a vegetative state. We do not know who decides. The energies are absorbed by this deadline and no one takes any initiative for fear of losing everything. “

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/Media reports cited above.