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Biya’s 35 Years Of Sloganeering & Failed Promises 

By Bouddih Adams

On November 4, 1982, President Ahmadou Ahidjo took the Cameroonian nation by storm when he announced his resignation. Two days after, on November 6, he handed power to his Prime Minister and constitutional successor, Paul Bartholomew Biya Bi-Mvondo.

There were protests from all over against such a decision, for Ahidjo, then known as ‘Father of the Nation’ to resign. For instance, in Nkambe in Donga Mantung Division, an articulate ex-service man, the famous Jacob Tanya Tangem, led a march from main town Nkambe to the administrative quarters in Binju.

However, when the news got to Yaounde, the then Minister of Agriculture from Donga Mantung, Reverend Dr. Solomon Nforgwe, changed the story into a tale of the people having marched in support of the new President. Biya then assumed office promising to give Cameroonians a new deal.
Sloganeering & Failed Promises

Biya’s 35-year reign is replete with sloganeering and scars of false promises. The moment he took over, he announced his New Deal Policy. Cameroonians yearning for a break with the past under the Ahidjo administration looked up to him for the new deal package of democracy, right and freedoms, economic and social development, among others.

But as we speak, Cameroonians have continued to wallow in something worse than what can be termed the ‘old deal’ under Ahidjo. For instance, Biya took over a land over-flowing with milk and honey. But today, a majority of Cameroonians barely eke a living.

The new deal was closely followed by Rigour and Moralisation. Yet, under Ahidjo, embezzlement was fought ruthlessly. But one thing that the Biya regime stands out for is embezzlement, coupled with corruption, mostly by members of his CPDM party who he appoints into positions of responsibility.

But he has selected a few and put behind bars, whereas all of them have dirtied their hands, one way or the other, while in Government service.

Following his changing the name of the lone political party from the Cameroon National Union, CNU, to Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, CPDM, President Biya claimed he wanted to usher in democracy.

After having been arm-twisted into accepting multipartism in 1990, Biya declared that he wanted to be remembered as the ‘One Who Brought Democracy To Cameroon.’

But it is generally believed that his arch challenger, Ni John Fru Ndi, whose Social Democratic Front, SDF, was virtually born by force against military forces deployed by the Biya regime to prevent its launching, won the Presidential election of 1992, but the Biya regime hijacked the victory.

Biya is on record as the one person who does not go out for campaigns but sends other people to campaign for him, and his victory is arranged by election managers.

In one of the elections with the then Prime Minister, Simon Achidi Achu, as Campaign Manager, Biya promised to build the Victoria (Limbe) Deep Seaport in the Southwest Region.

After a lot of protests over the years, the project commenced, but before the population could finish heaving a sigh of relief, it was abandoned and a similar project started in Kribi in Mr. Biya’s South Region of origin on the other side of the Mungo, and it is almost complete today.

Yet in another occasion while drumming support from the Northwest Region, Biya said he would personally supervise the tarring of the Bamenda Ring Road in the Northwest Region. Today, almost three decades after, the people are still waiting for him to supervise, even remotely, the tarring of the Ring Road which remains a nightmare to travellers.

Following complaints about political competition and corruption under his regime, the sharing of the national cake, marginalisation and the clamour for a national conference, President Biya convened the tripartite talks whose resolutions never saw the light of day.

At one point, he convened a Grand Debate and when it was evident that the recommendations and expectations from such a forum made him uncomfortable, he brought in polemics to say he had recommended for a Large Debate and not Grand Debate.

Besides the plethora of slogans and promises like: Grand Realisations; leading Cameroon in his ‘Vision Of Emergence In 2035’ among others, is that of “One And Indivisible Cameroon’.

But his action on the ground, like the Deep Seaport issue and the Mega Projects (none of the West of the Mungo) that would lead to the far-fetched emergence, plus crushing protest against his shortcomings and failures, is the is the force behind the ever-widening chasm between the Cameroons. That is evident in the images of September 22 and October 1, 2017.

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