By Adolf Mongo Dipoko and Zachee Nzoh-Ngandembou,
Both critics and admirers alike have usually had one common opinion
about President Paul Biya; that the man is unpredictable and on many
occasions, he has proven to be so. Usually when Cameroonians suspect or
even conclude that their president would go towards a particular
direction, he does the very opposite. But yesterday's announcement of
the long awaited cabinet reshuffle did not as much surprise keen
observers. If it did it was only because speculations about whether
Chief Ephraim Inoni will be retained as Prime Minister, Head of
Government had virtually been exhausted and the President and his
calculations once again made him the political Maradona who succeeds
each time to dribble his countrymen.
So he did that he allowed everyone to feel that Chief Ehpriam Inoni would be maintained until 2011.
it was almost a foregone conclusion that his new choice of Prime
Minister, Head of Government was deliberately brought back from Canada
after 20 years, put in the Presidency for some sort of pupilage to
acquaint himself with the trappings of power in the new Cameroon. But
even as he completed his "internship" at the Presidency, there were
loud rumours that he was the PM in waiting. On this score, Mr.
President, for the first time, confirmed the old adage that there is no
smoke without fire.
But analysts believe that the stage was set
for Yang as a man who has paraded the corridors of power when he became
the youngest minister under Ahidjo in 1975as Deputy Minister of
Territorial Administration and the Minister of Mines and Power in 1979.
are now almost concluding that President Paul Biya had actually made up
his mind long ago to reserve the next Prime Minister for the Bui people.
point to the fact that, the late Christopher Nshalai was publicly
remoured to succeed Inoni in an eventual shake-up of government. Biya
who is not known to allow public opinion to openly sway his thoughts
and deeds, has for the first time confirmed what was largely a rumour.
after Nshalai's death, the usually well-informed rumour machine in
Cameroon did not shift its position that a son of Bui was still a hot
contestant for the coveted job. Yang maintained his cool despite
several negative press reports and a very shaky CPDM party base,
apparently buoyed up by private assurances from his employer. His
journey therefore to the Star Building did not come with the huge
surprise that characterized the appointments of his predecessors-
Achidi Achu, Peter Mafany Musonge and Ephraim Inoni.
But who is
Philemon Yang? The new Prime Minister was born on the 14 of June 1947
in Oku in the Bui Division of what is today the North West Region of
Prime Minister Yang studied law at the University of
Yaoundé and became prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Buea in January
He became one of the youngest members of government as he was
appointed Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration in the
Government of June 30, 1975.
Yang Philemon stayed in government
until the 23 October, 1984. When he was appointed Cameroon's Ambassador
and later the High Commissioner to Canada where he served
uninterruptedly from 1984 to 2004.
For that reason he also served as the Dean of the Diplomatic corps in Canada for about ten years.
still in Canada, several press reports have linked Philemon Yang to the
post of Prime Minister. The time of destiny had not come but he was
kept on the rails with the Appointment as Deputy Secretary General at
the Presidency of the Republic on December 8, 2004 where he was one of
President Paul Biya's favourite collaborators.
It is from that position that Philemon Yang has been appointed Cameroon's fifth Prime Minister since 1990.
His will be a daunting challenge of tackling the effects of the economic meltdown amongst others.
Philemon Yang Reacts
to state-owned radio, Philemon Yang said, "I am very very happy. I
wasn't expecting this and I thank the Head of State very much for this.
Well about my plans, I have none, I will see what work has to be
done and I will learn as I go along. I cannot tell say what I'm going
to do exactly.
However, I am confident that with the whole government and all Cameroonians, we will work together and succeed together.
the task entails a lot of work. This is a developing country so the
task is not going to be easy and I don't think I am going to produce
what is impossible but we are going to work together. This is a
difficult task. If it weren't difficult, I mean it wouldn't be
difficult to make developing countries move forward.
In fact all the countries in the world have a difficult task running themselves and doing things the right way"