By Walter Wilson Nana
Friday, November 6 2009 was twenty-seven years since President Paul Biya of the Republic of Cameroon came to the helm of power.
November 4 1982, Cameroon’s first President, after independence, El
Hadj Ahmadou Ahidjo, took many by surprise and announced his
resignation from power on the national radio. Two days later, November
6 1982, Ahidjo, proclaimed his constitutional successor, Paul Biya,
then Prime Minister of Cameroon, the new President of the country.
Since November 6 1982, President Biya had been at the fore of
constitutional and political power in Cameroon. An attempted coup
d’état in 1984 saw President Biya resurfaced stronger and determined to
hang on to power in Cameroon. He has also won the subsequent
Presidential elections in Cameroon, though opposition leaders claim
they were rigged. President Biya’s party, Cameroon Peoples Democratic
Party, CPDM, have in many occasions dominated the political scene in
Cameroon, especially at the parliamentary and local elections. Some
international observers say the elections were free and fair, though
some lapses were recorded but opposition parties, described some of the
elections as marred with fraud.
As President Biya celebrates 27 years at the pinnacle of power in
Cameroon, some Cameroonians think that it is time for him to quit the
stage. But President Biya, in an unprecedented move and for the first
time, has written a letter for Cameroonians. The Presidential letter,
for strategic move has been published in four private daily newspapers
in Cameroon. These include; Mutations, Le Jour, Nouvelle Expression and
Le Messager. The national bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune, sponsored
by the tax payers in Cameroon, also carried the letter from President
Biya to Cameroonians.
Reading through Mr. Biya’s mail to his compatriots, one gets out with
the conclusion that he is appealing to Cameroonians to give attention
to his candidature come 2011 for the next Presidential elections in
Cameroon. Some private newspapers in Cameroon have seen in the Biya
letter as a launch of his Presidential campaigns, as Cameroonians look
forward to the 2011 Presidential polls.
Across Cameroon are widespread celebrations by militants and
sympathisers of the CPDM party, whom some observers say they have
hijacked the festivities marking President Biya’s 27 years in power.
“The celebrations should be for all Cameroonians and not only for the
CPDM party cohorts. Biya is President for all Cameroonians and not for
the CPDM party or militants,” a Cameroonian commented.