By NOELA EBOB BISONG
Cameroon’s head of state, President Paul Biya, has returned home, after a brief private stay in Switzerland. His arrival at the Yaounde Nsimalen Airport last Friday, July 5, 2019, was met with a euphoric celebration by some die-hard supporters of his party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM party), some close aides and other loyalists. Their high-level emotion was expressed in songs and dance, as they showed their unflinching support to the country’s leader.
This of course may not be surprising, especially considering the hard times the president faced in Geneva, Switzerland, which has made many to conclude that his visit to the European country, though described as brief from its onset, was briefer than programmed.
Outright disrespect was shown to Biya while in Switzerland, as some disgruntled Cameroonians based in Europe, immediately started planning on how to make his visit a living hell, once he set foot on European soil. Not being the first ever public-show of dislike for Biya, this latest anti-Biya protest, many hold is the worst-ever, affirming that it will surely affect the psyche of the statesman for a long time.
Biya’s Geneva private stay, which some allege was for health reasons, was characterized by an invasion of his hotel, the Intercontinental Hotel, by some Cameroonians who wanted to get a hold of him: this however was met by a stiff opposition from his body guards, later resulting in the suspension of six of the president’s body guards, having been accused of intimidating a Swiss (RTS) Journalist, Adrien Krause.
A major protest was planned and staged against the president on June 29, 2019, when about 250 persons of the Brigard Anti Sardinard group tried to storm the Intercontinental hotel where the Cameroon Presidential couple lodged. However, they were intercepted by elements of the Swiss Police, in an encounter which turned violent, as tear-gas and water cannons were used to disperse the protesters. The atmosphere was chaotic as some CPDM loyalists had equally answered present to support their chairman. The protesters during the later part of June 29, released a statement, urging the Swiss government to ask President Biya and his entourage to leave the Federation in three days, promising to continue the protest if their demand was not met. The SUN gathered that Swiss Parliamentarians had also requested for Biya to leave their country. Swiss MP, Sylvan Thevoz who is said to have led the MPs to release a memo to that effect, accused President Biya of wasting tax payer’s money on foreign trips.
However, Cameroon’s Minister Delegate at the ministry of Justice, Jean De Dieu Momo has lashed out bitterly at the Swiss MP, stating that “A budget is voted by Parliament and made available to the president of the Republic for spending and this budget covers all the costs of his travel and stay in your country, which is an immense honour”.
Minister Momo also reacts that “Our president works tirelessly and has been sacrificing himself for Cameroon and Cameroonians. Thanks to our president, Cameroon is on the path of emergence.
The foundation of the industrialisation of our country has been laid in such a way that we hope to reduce unemployment in the near future. Recruitment of thousands of young Cameroonians is underway, both to teach in our universities and the new water deep sea port of Kribi, the third in Africa”
Biya back home after turbulent Geneva visit
By NOELA EBOB BISONG