One of the most difficult things to understand in Cameroon politics is why any one would support the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Party (CPDM). I had some years back, classed them as a bunch of people who celebrate mediocrity. However, when Biya declared his intention to stand for president – AGAIN, I was shocked to see members of the party supporting this bid. The most disturbing justification given by most of them is that Biya is their natural candidate and that no one can perform the job as good as he does.
This assertion is weird in many ways. First, the fact that Biya is over 86 years old, has been president for 36 years with nothing to show for it. Second is the fact that even if Biya were to win another term, there is no guarantee that he will live above 90 given his constant medical trips to Swticerland. The question that has always plagued my mind is what will happen to this party when nature takes its course and Biya leaves the stage? One thing to note is that Biya currently is the emblem of the party. Every party uniform or publicity material carries a more than 30 years old picture of Biya. It seems however, that like Biya, the militants of this party are happy to see Cameroon sink.
But not one lady who identifies herself as Solange Siret and her residence as Switzerland. In a self-made video that had been making its rounds on social media, Solange has finally decided that enough is enough.
Wearing her party uniform and ensuring that Biya’s picture was in the background, this lady lamented on how bad the situation in Cameroon is. She decries the fact that Biya has decided to run for another term. To her, this is totally unacceptable. Her reason is not that Biya is incompetent, which would be the blatant truth. She makes the logical argument that at Biya’s age, he should be retired and testing at his home in Mvomeka. She explains that given Biya’s age, it is most certain that many decisions of State will be taken by others.
Ms Siret goes on to state categorically that if Biya is a candidate at the 7th October elections, she will be voting another person. She then goes on to call on other militants of her party to do the same.
While I am of the impression that this lady might have seen the handwriting on the wall and is making sure she crosses on the right side of history before doomsday, I cannot help but applaud her actions. Many Cameroonians on social media have expressed the fear that this lady’s life might be in danger, with some cautioning that she should go into hiding. Such sentiments are borne of the fact that over the 36 years of his barren rule, Biya has responded to criticisms by either killing or imprisonment.
Whether other members of the party will hearken to Solange’s plea is a matter of conjecture. I am however of the impression that even if all the members of the party including Biya’s wife were to vote a different candidate, the electoral mechanism in Cameroon is such that Biya will still emerge as a winner.
So, rather than calling on others to vote another candidate, the right call will be for them to pressure Biya to stand down as a candidate before the election date. That is the only way to guarantee that Biya will not come forth as the undeserving winner of an election, organised while a part of the country is embroiled in civil conflict.