Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Critical Judgment Analysis of President Biya's 30 Years in Power (The Good)

 By Baweson Ndi
 Paul Biya is 30 years old as President of the Republic of Cameroon while the CPDM is 27 years old, three years younger. The 30 years of President Paul Biya as Head of State does not only calls for celebrations, it also a moment that Biya supporters have to reflect on the thunderous path he took when on November 6, 1982 he took the famous oath of “I do so Swear”.  Before being sworn in on November 6, 1982, Paul Biya had served as Prime Minister to late President Ahidjo for seven years. The Eye moves beyond the ordinary to examine the positive vistas of President Biya’s 30 years in power.
The preliminary ideologies of President Paul Biya were presented in a roadmap known as the New Deal policy which was imbued in the virtues of rigour and moralization, and communal liberalism. To understand the vision Paul Biya had for Cameroon is to identify the cornerstones of Rigour and Moralization and or Communal Liberalism. With it was a policy that opted for the reintroduction of multiparty politics, a free society and democracy. Unfortunately, the ingredients with which the policies were engraved touched the interest of some conservationists within. The dissenting voices finally exploded like volcano in a coupe plot. And on April 6, 1984, some of his detractors stage an attempt to remove him from power through the barrel of the gun. Regrettably for the coupe plotters, evil could not triumph over the truth. By the time that Cameroonians wanted to refocus their energy and support Biya to set Cameroon towards achieving his New Deal political programme, another disaster hit the country. It wasn’t man made anyway but a natural disaster that took place at Nyos claiming thousands of lives. When the storm was over, Cameroon was caught in the wrap of the economic crisis. The world economic crisis affected almost every sector, even though Paul Biya managed to sustain the economy from collapsing into th doldrums, Cameroon’s five years development plan that had been guiding development process in the country shrunken. The civil service was like in a jungle, while the rich became richer, the poor became poorer. President Biya was then obliged to go in for structural adjustment. Salaries of civil servants were cut-down, and President Biya called on Cameroonians to tighten their sleeves.
The Modernizer
Between 1982 and 1985, Paul Biya’s mindset geared towards economic recovery and setting the pace for democracy. In 1985 he decided to introduce a political platform that could accompany his aspirations for Cameroon. That is how the CPDM in Bamenda to match those aspirations while the CNU died a natural death. As if to say he was seeing tomorrow, President Biya told radio Monte Carlos in France that he would be remembered as the man who brought democracy to Cameroon. In December 1990, the anti democratic laws of 1962 were scraped off by the National Assembly to usher in new laws that give room for democracy, freedom expression, freedom of associations and liberty. Thus, the law harmonizing the freedom of association, speech, political parties and religious groups brought democratic process. To accompany these measures, the issue of regional balance and national integration was not just in principle but was put to practice. Whether multiparty politics was forced into his throat or not is an issue because if he had said no to it, no matter the wind that was blowing it would have passed, bookmakers observed. But Biya accepted and granted Cameroonians even though some of his colleagues moved to the street claiming Cameroonian were not prepared for such a process. The revision of the constitution of 18, January 1996, aided President Biya to refocus his policies. The introduction of the Senate, Constitutional Council and the regions to replace the provinces was another innovative mark of the head of state to accompany democratic process. The Criminal Procedure Code of 2005 added value to guarantee the liberty of Cameroonians. The creation of the national Human Rights Commission could not be emphasized as it was added impetus to the issue of freedom in the country. To concretized it by signing a decree creating an election observatory known as the National Election Observatory –NEO.  Though with limited powers, it set the pace for the creation of the independent election body, Elections Cameroon.
The Achiever
As President Biya clocks 30 on November 6, 2012, Cameroonians will be celebrating some of his outstanding achievements. It is a fact that Cameroon has made giant strides under the leadership of President Paul Biya both socially, economically and politically. The greatest achievement that Cameroonians have enjoyed is the peace that has ensued for the past 30 years. Even though there had been little raptures here and there, Cameroon has been politically stable and thus scoring high standard diplomatic goals. With over 260 political parties in the country, Biya has proven himself as the most flexible President in the African continent. He introduced the National Program on Good Governance in the year 2000 and later revised it in 2005 to suit present realities. His open diplomacy has been achieved through peaceful resolution of conflict and the preservation of Cameroon’s boundary integrally.
In the economic sphere, Paul Biya brought in the concept of privatization of public companies in order to encourage foreign investments in the country as well as reduce the rate at which state funds were been squandered. Besides, Cameroon also qualified for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative-HIPC. Getting to the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative enabled he country gain over FCFA 225 billion FCFA. Socially, the country has also registered a lot of accomplishments ranging from the recruitment of 2500 health workers, the overture of the Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as the building of reference hospitals in the country. The creation of state universities, Buea, Garoua, Bamenda and the separation of the Yaounde University to I & II set the credence of the educational sector. In the education sector, it is clear that every village in the country has at least a government primary school and the slightest is that an agglomeration of villages is given a high school. Technical education for example also registered the creation of Higher Technical Teachers Training College-ENSIET. Even though the national team, the Indomitable Lion recorded very poor performances recently, the beginning years of Biya were extremely glorious as in 1984 Roger Milla, Abega and co made the country proud by winning the African Cup of Nation. Repeatedly Cameroon won the trophy in 1988, 2000, and in 2002.  In the domain of infrastructure development, the Mvele Dam, Lome Mpanga dam, Lagdo, Bamenjim Dam embed in the greater accomplishment program justifies why his supporters have to celebrate. The Kribi deep Sea port project and the Cameroon-Chad pipeline project are also the cornerstones of the 30 years of Biya’s leadership qualities. The development of the mining sector and revamping of the agricultural sector with the reintroduction of the National Agropastoral show is also indicative. The ease and tact in Cameroon use it diplomatic prowess in winning Bakassi back to Cameroon and other villages along the border line almost guaranteed him a Noble Peace Prize.
Fight against Corruption
When President Biya promised that Cameroon was going to change, many of those whom he called up to help stir the ship of the country thought it was a joking statement. He said corruption and embezzlement of public funds must become a thing of the past. He started by launching “operation antelope” that scraped off ghost government workers from enjoying taxpayers money. Over 15.000 ghost workers were trapped and the pay roll was cleansed. He further strengthened the actions by launching “operation sparrow hawk” which has sent to prison many government officials. Actually, corrupt officials are languishing in jail for siphoning public funds. Amongst the high profile personalities arrested for corrupt practices, one could cite, Former Prime Minister Chief Ephraim Inoni, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, Polycarp Abah Abah, Urbain Olengana Owona, Atangana Mebara,  Haman Adama, Mouchipou Seidou, Catherine Abena, Titus Edoa, all former ministers. Amongst directors and general managers of state corporations are Ondong Ndong Gerald, Forjidam, Edouard Ekoto, Nguini Effa, etc etc….
The political Maradona
President Biya according to bookmakers has been a political Maradona for 30 years. How he dribbles the opposition has been remarkable and fascinating too. In a bid to neutralize the opposition, Biya has not only been using force but the tactics of diversion to divide the opposition parties. He has always been apt to divert public opinion on government shortcomings. And the opposition has always fall prey to his political game plans. When he discovered that Cameroonians were sucked in the idea of the National Conference advocated by the opposition, he proposed the Tripartite. When the Tripartite finally took place in Yaounde on October 11, 1991, what followed was the collapsed of the group of the coordination of political parties and civil society. When some political parties decided to sign and others like the SDF rejected, there was division and the coordination ended in shambles. In the 1992 Presidential when the Northwest refused that he had won, he imposed a state of emergency. To divert public attention, he introduced the “grande debate”  and then used Kontchou Komengni as the parroted public speaker to change the minds of Cameroonians. In 1997, he introduced dialogue and the talks between the CPDM and the SDF that never yielded any fruits but calmed flaring tempers. When the SDF asked for an independent electoral commission, Paul Biya created NEO, an elections observatory in response. He used the same trick for Daikoli to join the government and it was the trick that brought on board NUDP of Bello Bouba Maigari to enter government. A similar trick divided the UPC into fractions thus weakening it. One of the headaches of Biya has been Hon. Adama Modi, who was like an opposition in the CPDM.


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