No fewer than 50,000 Cameroonians showed up to watch the Indomitable Lions beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso 2-1 at the Olembe Omnisport Stadium.
While they wished the Lions well in one breath, others in another breath wished that President Paul Biya should collapse and die.
Shortly after addressing the thousands present at the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON2021 opening ceremony, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya appeared to have passed out for a few seconds.
The Head of State is seen briefly losing his balance before regaining his seat as the cameras were taken off him.
Despite the emergence of fresh video evidence to suggest that Biya neither missed his seat, step nor collapsed, many are those who wish he did.
In fact, celebrated human rights lawyers like Tamfu Richard believe that President Biya actually collapsed.
“After watching a video on social media where the President of the Republic of Cameroon was collapsing while watching a football match in a stadium, I felt very disturbed/sorry for him and humiliated as a Cameroonian,” said Tamfu, even after the emergence of another video which suggests that Biya did not fall.
Tamfu, a member of the opposition, furthered: “In a month’s time President Paul Biya will be 89 years old and it’s a grace for humanity to reach that age. I don’t think God will give me that favor.”
Tamfu says Biya should step down and rest. He says those pushing Biya to stay on are evil.
“Those who keep encouraging him to withstand the pressure of the Office of President of the Republic of Cameroon are violating his fundamental right to life and are enemies of the Republic,” Barrister Tamfu said. “They want to kill him alive! For God’s sake and in my capacity as a Human Rights Advocate, I have decided to defend the rights of President PAUL BIYA anywhere possible I can. He deserves to rest and care at this age and his life is sacred. We should be grateful and proud to still have him and consider it a grace.”
Tamfu calls on Cameroonians to join him “in advocating for the resignation of President Paul Biya”.
The fearless lawyer has launched a hashtag campaign insisting that “resignation is not a taboo”, “there is still life after the presidency”, “defend Paul Biya”.
If a learned lawyer like Tamfu believes that Biya collapsed at the AFCON opening ceremony, then the common man must be wishing that he had collapsed and died to pay for the pain he’s put the country through.
President Paul Biya who has ruled Cameroon since 1982 will clock 89 on February 13, 2022.
Since independence from France in 1960, Cameroon has been ruled by one party and two presidents. Biya, who “won” his seventh term with more than 70% in 2018, has been in power since 1982 before 75% of the population was even born. His current mandate will expire in 2025 when he’ll be 92. He is planning to run again.
The ongoing AFCON is taking place in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic as well as a local separatist war that has, according to Barrister Agbor Nkongho’s Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, killed more than 4,000 people and internally displaced a further 500,000.
In 2017, the longstanding tensions between Biya’s Paris-backed regime and the English-speaking regions morphed into an all separatist conflict. The English-speaking regions want to succeed from Cameroon.
Biya has turned Cameroon into a highly authoritarian and fascinatingly corrupt country. It actually earned Transparency International’s No 1 ranking as “the world corruption champion” two years in a row, in 1998 and 1999.
Many Cameroonians live in dire poverty. Inflation is at an all-time high and Cameroonians may soon take to the streets. According to the World Food Programme, 40% live below the poverty line. Another estimated 6.2 million need humanitarian assistance. That’s 25% of the population. The renewed escalation of violence by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region is adding to the suffering, plus days of inter-communal classes in Kousseri.
Cameroon’s stabilization should have started in 1992 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the cold war when Biya reluctantly adopted a multiparty system. But his greed and obsession with power have rendered this impossible. So long as Biya is in power the violence or corruption will not stop soon.
Cameroon will continue on the downward trajectory that has characterized it for almost 40 years. Just how many more lives and dreams must a dictator like Biya destroy before France stops supporting him and his ploy? Isn’t this enough for Cameroonians to wish him doom?
In any case, the AFCON got to a glistening start on Sunday, January 9, 2022, despite claims that Biya collapsed. Cameroonians are celebrating the Lions’ triumph over Burkina Faso and the appointment is taken for Thursday when Cameroon will face bottom-placed Ethiopia.
Mimi Mefo Info Editorial