Cameroon News - We Are All Slaves Of Paul says Fame Ndongo

Aged 85, of whom nearly 36 in power, Paul Biya, “invincible” president of Cameroon who is seeking Sunday a seventh term, reigns supreme on his country yet faces significant security challenges.

“Just a quick whim, and you are not anything at all”: thus speaking to a star reporter of the Cameroonian state television who interviews him in 1986, four years after his accession in power, Paul Biya wanted to display his omnipotence.

Since 1982, he has been raining and shining in Cameroon, building and breaking careers according to his moods and his personal aspirations.

He locked everything up to keep him at the head of the country, relying on the administration and a party-state, the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (CPDM) he created in 1985. His opponents accuse him to want to die in power and he has never shown any willingness to want to do without it.

Sunday’s presidential elections took place in a climate of violence in the English-speaking regions, where the army, in force, fought separatist groups, while the president stressed the need to “handle both firmness and dialogue”.
Cameroon News - We Are All Slaves Of Paul says Fame Ndongo
“The Sphinx” as it is nicknamed in Cameroon because of his cynicism and his taste for secrecy, is an erased and absent leader who controls everything.

“Little complicit clan”

In a recent book, Titus Edzoa, former close collaborator of President Biya, describes him as a leader locked up “in a sanitized bubble, protected by a small accomplice clan, fierce and insatiable”, which “constitutes a screen hermetic between him and the people “.

A former Catholic seminarian and student at Sciences-Po in Paris, he seldom travels to his own country, but regularly to Switzerland. At the end of September, he officially launched his campaign in Maroua (north), his first visit to the province for 6 years.

The crowd-pleasures to which he devoted himself to joy at the beginning of his presidency are a distant memory. The 1984 coup attempt he faced, just two years after he came to power, seems to have traumatized him.
“The events of 1984 changed his way of being. Before, he went out in Yaoundé, he was close to people. But imagine, he stayed dozens of hours in the bunker, there were bullet marks when he came out. It marks, “says a security manager in Yaoundé.

Feared, “the lion man” as he had been called in the presidential election of 1997, is adulated and even deified by some caciques of his regime. “We are all creatures or creations of President Paul Biya (…). We are only his servants, better, his slaves, “said in 2011 his Minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo.

He plays “violence and terror, according to his moods and rumors, to enslave his employees and submit the entire population,” according to Titus Edzoa.

“Paul loves Chantal”

Biya is the third in a family of nine children.Catechist, his father had paved the way for him to become a priest, but he had, against all odds, left the seminary for high school.

After the death of his first wife, Jeanne Irène, Paul Biya married in 1994 Chantal, nearly 40 years younger than him, made famous by his extravagant hairstyles and high heels.

“Paul loves Chantal, Chantal loves him”, ignites in a recent book Oswald Baboké, deputy director of the civil cabinet, in charge of the communication of the presidency.

It was on her alone that “the gentleman-president” had flashed, after rejecting all year 1993 “moult propositions”, writes Mr. Baboké.

With this former restaurant waitress and model who now deals with humanitarian work, the president, amateur of alpaca suits and silk ties, had two children, Junior and Brenda Biya, admitted to the National School Judiciary (Enam) of Yaounde.

Paul Biya already had another son, Franck, a discreet businessman who has particular interests in the wood sector.

Of peasant origin, the president owns a poultry farm in his native region of the south, but also pineapple plantations.
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