By Eric Tataw – Washington DC, USA – Tuesday November 26, 2019.
Apart from the raging war in English-speaking Cameroon, the withdrawal of Prof. Maurice Kamto’s party on November 25, 2019 from the February 9, 2020 parliamentary and council elections has sent shock waves through the spines of the oligarchs in Yaounde. Thereby adding more pressure on President Paul Biya to urgently resolve his country’s sticking conflicts.
The heat is now on Cameroon’s long-term leader, Paul Biya. Some members of his CPDM party were rather naïve on November 25, 2019 to celebrate the announcement by opposition politician, Prof. Maurice Kamto that his MRC party which officially came second in the October 2018 presidential election will not be participating in the parliamentary and council elections of February 9, 2020.
Kamto advanced as reasons the raging war in the North West and South West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North Region; lack of electoral reforms. Over and above the consequences of this tactful move, the Cameroonian oligarch is facing additional intense pressure from the international community to quickly resolve his country’s problems.
It is for this reason that three important international personalities are due to meet Paul Biya in Yaounde on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. They are African Union Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahammat; Commonwealth Secretary General, the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, and La Francophonie Secretary General, Louise Mushikiwabo.
As at the time of going to press at 11 am local time, Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute had already left for the Nsimalen-Yaounde International Airport to welcome the African Union Commission Chair. The others are due in the Cameroonian capital later in the day or early in the morning of Wednesday, National Telegraph has confirmed.
Observers say it is unprecedented for such significant personalities to travel to a country to meet the leader at the same time. If not for the unresolved atrocious war in the English-speaking regions of North West and South West; and the flagrant refusal by the Biya regime to open up the electoral playing field.
According to a source, Kamto’s party could only register 17 lists out of 180 Members of Parliament, and 36 councilorship lists out of 360 councils in the country. But he did not advance his candidates’ frustrations with getting their election registration papers signed by administrative authorities as one of the reasons for boycotting the forthcoming polls.
Is Biya going to cave in to the pressure to be mounted on him during Wednesday’s summit meeting? For how long can he continue to disregard the repeated concerns of the international community to settle his country’s problems?
After the recent withdrawal by the US of AGOA trade privileges from Cameroon, the coming of Moussa Faki Mahammat, Patricia Scotland and Louise Mushikiwabo is further evidence that the international community is growing impatient with his antics.
The message of the guests might simply that Biya’s time is almost up. He has had all opportunities to peacefully resolve his country’s conflicts, but there is nothing yet to show. Mention even the much-trumpeted Major National Dialogue of last October that was supposed to help resolve the Anglophone liberation war.
Almost two months after, Biya’s take on the recommendations by participants remains a mystery. Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions have an armed conflict with a demand by majority of Anglophones in the North West and South West for a separate state called Ambazonia.
This crisis has led to thousands of deaths, torching of hundreds of villages, millions of displaced people and thousands of political prisoners as armed groups battle regular government forces.