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Biya’s Government Shake-up Humiliates Ministers 

By Basil Afoni

Minister of External Affairs Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo

External Relations Minister Peirre Moukoko Mbonjo was stopped from making a speech at the United Nations after being fired while on official duty


President Paul Biya’s October 2 government reshuffle is considered to have humiliated at least two ministers, who were sacked while performing official duties.

Sacked Minister of External Relations Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo was preparing to deliver a speech at the 70th UN General Assembly in New York, while Adoum Garoua, the fired Minister of Sports was preparing to donate a trophy to the winners of an international tournament in the country when news of the government shake-up landed like a bombshell. Both men were stopped from completing their duties that were already in progress.

Moukoko Mbonjo, head of Cameroon’s delegation to the UN General Assembly was participating at a session dubbed the Concert of Democratic Nations and was stopped from making a speech he had already prepared.

He was planning to present the overall inventory of abuses of the Islamist Boko Haram group, against which his country has launched a war, and the progress made in the fight against the extremists. But the speech was eventually read by the President of the UN session, Mogens Lykketoft, who is not a Cameroonian.

News of the sacking of Adoum Garoua as Minister of Sports broke just as he was preparing to hand over the Afrobasket Women Championship trophy to the winners, Senegal. The trophy was later presented by Grégoire Owona and Issa Bakary Tchiroma, ministers of Labour and Communications, respectively.

This is not the first time that a Cameroonian minister has been fired while performing official duties. Edouard Akame Mfoumou, Minister of Economy and Finance (19 September 1996 to 27 April 2001) was sacked while leading discussions with the IMF. He was asked to leave the negotiating table by the delegation of the international financial institution.