Biya’s curious absence sparks national debate as Kamto’s 7-day ultimatum elapses
African leaders have taken turns to address their citizens on robust measures to halt the spread and to contain the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed hundreds of lives on the continent.
Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya seems to be the only “absentee landlord”. The 87-year-Old leader has gone ‘missing’ since the deadly virus hit the country.
So far the country’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases are 306, amid growing concerns by experts that the figures are likely to witness a steady rise.
Daily tweets from the Public Health Minister, Manaouda Malachie have become the lone information source to the people who bewilder over anti-coronavirus steps to take.
Fear gripped the people of Buea on Thursday after the town which has witnessed persisting bloody battles for over three years, recorded confirmed cases and one death from the coronavirus.
In a bid to boost fight against the disease, President Biya disbursed a whopping FCFA 1Billion days ago (over 1.5million Euros), a controversial move as critics say state funds are wasted on irrelevant events with ” no direct impact on citizens”.
Before the disbursement however, there have been talks of Paul Biya’s demise on social media, where over 60% of Cameroon’s educated class get informed. Bloggers and activists had it that either President Biya’s health was in “bad shape” or he had passed away.
”Mr. Biya went into a comma and plans to evacuate him for better medical attention in Geneva, Switzerland flopped at the last minute as medical doctors found him too weak to sustain the over 6-hour journey by flight” a renowned News Media is quoted to have said.
The regime’s mouthpiece was quick to debunk the allegation. “Paul Biya is alive and kicking, do not be swayed by the fake information you see on the media, ” Communication minister, Rene Emmanuel Sadi said in a communique. But this has not been enough to keep calm wagging tongues.
“Biya as the father of the nation, many expect should be the first to step in and calm tempers as well as lead the fight against the pandemic. His absence at this critical point shows a lack of concern for those he is meant to take care of,” others said as news of his purported death spread unabated.
In a March 27 address, CRM leader, Maurice Kamto said Biya had fallen short of his duty as president, for failing to address the people at this crucial time. The Minister-turned-opposition maintained that Biya had stolen his victory in the October 2018 elections.
“Biya must fully assume by himself the presidential function which he has been usurping since the electoral hold-up of October 2018, or else the Cameroonian people will have to establish his failure and draw all.the political consequences.”
“The questions that Cameroonians of all professions have been asking for at least two weeks are the following: Where has Mr Paul BIYA gone? Is the country governed? If yes, by whom? Is he simply aware of his responsibility as President of the Republic, even though illegal and illegitimate, in preserving the lives of Cameroonians?” Kamto questioned, giving Biya a seven-day ultimatum to address the nation on the pandemic.
“If within seven days, Mr Paul BIYA does not assume the presidential function… via various channels, the course of action to be taken for us to take care of ourselves” Kamto warned.
Professor would later make no comment over threats from his former ally, Eric Paul Kingue who vowed to reveal their secrets after the ultimantum to the President.
Seven days are now over and many are beginning to question how far the CRM leader can go.
But where is Biya?
With the growing spread of the coronavirus in Cameroon, sources say the President is keeping safe in his native Mvomeka’a, Dja-et-Lobo Division in the South Region. Reports say it is in a bid to minimise chances of contracting the virus as staying in Yaounde may require that he gets in contact with more people.
Paul Biya has served as Cameroon’s
President of Cameroon since 1982, a 38-year long reign described by many as ruling with an iron fist. The statesman last February celebrated his 87th birthday amidst a lot of controversy regarding his ability to adequately rule the nation.
Despite his latest moves and statements from members of his government, many hold only a state of Nation address will reveal whether he is still alive or death!
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