Cameroon made headlines on the international scene as anti-Biya protesters put up a show to remember in Geneva, Switzerland over the weekend.
The protests were announced barely hours after the president left home for a “private stay” in the Alpine country, after close to two years at home.
Biya who in previous years could spend over half a year cumulatively, touring and residing in other nations, was held home by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even back at home, he remained largely absent from public view, leaving Cameroonians with nothing but old memories of the long-term ruler.
Shortly after arriving Switzerland last week, Cameroonians showed up at the Intercontinental Hotel where he usually resides, demanding that he returned home. They further booked a protest on Saturday.
Regime barons back home much like their president in Geneva, were getting no sleep.
In a press conference in Yaounde on the eve of the Geneva protest, Hon Louis Henri Ngantcha, President of he Parliamentary Network on the Diaspora, REP-COD said the protests were tantamount to disobedience and recalcitrance. “The President is an institution…” and should not be tampered with.
His assistant, Senator Ote Mofa said “we will find solutions to our problems only internally in Cameroon…”.
It is the same regime however that has continually cracked down on pressmen and anti regime advocates for decades now, earning it the reputation of one of the continent’s worst jailers.
Many won’t be quick to forget the lives lost in 2012 and more recently, 2017 when popular uprisings sought to call the regime’s attention to it’s neglect of the citizenry.
Compromising state institutions
“We are calling on our brothers and sisters abroad to come back to their senses and out up responsible moral Republican behavior in a constructive manner…” Sen Ote pressed on at the media meetup.
Ironically, the same institutions through which the MPs preached change, others say, have been tuned to the whims and caprices of the Biya regime.
Among them is the National Assembly where MPs of the ruling CPDM party have for five years today, ensured the armed conflict in the North West and South West regions remains muted. Even the death of thousands has been unable to move the body to discuss the longstanding political conflict.
In addition to REPCOD’s controversial outing, Hon Cavaye Yeguie, speaker of the National Assembly in a similar outing, remarked that protesters planning to March against the president were bringing shame to the nation.
His rhetoric was re-echoed by several regime barons, who have u til now also maintained loud silence over the continuous human rights abuses in the Far North, North West and South West regions for years now.
When the media chooses not to see
The National broadcaster, was not left out, as it championed a herd of media outlets seeking to portray the protests as a failed and meaningless mission orchestrated by a handful of unpatriotic Cameroonians in the diaspora.
The same campaign fronted by the broadcaster, bright back to mind former Minister Kontchou’s “Zero morts” tales.
The same manner of stories have been told over the years through use of the state and some private media as tools of propaganda. It is on the same media that officials and journalists often spend time massaging the president’s ego, ignoring the plight of the downtrodden and calls of the population for sanity to reign.
The same media operations also reflect earlier outings by top military brass and government officials to deny any wrongdoings by they and the military in the country’s conflict-plagues zones even in the face of glaring evidence.
Such was the point blank gunning down of women and kids by soldiers in the Far North and more recently, the killing of kids and pregnant women in Ngarbuh on February 14, 2020.
Many have expressed the desire that the same vigour and efforts employed by the Biya regime to make nonsense of Saturday’s Geneva protests be utilised to resolve key issues including the Anglophone crisis.
Till the nail is hit on the head, they opine, cosmetic solutions and frequent trips to European countries will amount to nothing but chasing shadows – steps in the opposite direction of peace.
Mimi Mefo Info