By Yerima Kini Nsom
Waiting for President Paul Biya to appoint a new government has become the main preoccupation of many politicians and some ordinary citizens in Cameroon. Thus, hardly does a month pass by without strong rumours about the gestation of a new government. When President Biya stayed in Europe recently for a circa one month, it was rumoured that he was preparing for a new government.
Talk that he was going to make a new government last weekend rocked through Yaounde like a wild storm. The anxiety for a cabinet reshuffle climaxes on a regular basis with people making telephone calls, telling friends and relatives to listen to what would be a very newsy 5pm news on CRTV radio. This scenario has been sustained since the 2020 twin elections. It peaked again after the last Senate election.
At one time, it didn’t sound like it was just empty rumours. Sources at the state broadcaster, CRTV, had testified that journalists and technicians were ordered to be on a red alert waiting for important texts from the Presidency. CRTV management was reported to have told all senior journalists, technicians and other officials in the house to wait for very important texts that border on ministerial appointments from the presidency.
“We left our offices very late on Saturday night after having waited in vain. We don’t know what happened,” he complained. It is not known what happened, but observers speculate that the President might have changed his mind following certain pressures. It was reported that conservative forces and those of radical insistences were at each other’s neck in subterranean battles struggling to activate a new government or stop the appointments. When the new government failed to come out on that Saturday, it was clear that the forces of conservative resistance had triumphed. But many people were still whispering tongue-in-ear that there will be a sweeping cabinet reshuffle the following week. It never came to pass.
Since the recent Senate elections, many people who have lobbied to be appointed are weary and impatient. They even blame the President for procrastinating on naming a new government against a back drop of heightened national anxiety. After the elections, there were speculations of a new government almost on a daily basis. Some local tabloids have even gone amok in speculation by naming Ministers who will be sacked and those who will be appointed.
Observers of Cameroon’s political scene hold that Biya would have respected the tradition and the political jurisprudence by naming the government in order to compensate those who fought and secured the victory of the ruling CPDM party in the twin elections. Many people who take credit for the CPDM victory in the different constituencies, are waiting to be compensated with lucrative appointments.
Many hold that the appointment will soon come because it is likely that the President is obliged to reshuffle the cabinet to pump new blood into the government. For one thing, some Ministers have made this current look like a league of embezzlers and a crime syndicate. Recently when the Martinez Zogo affair took the centre stage of national discourse, it was rumoured that President Biya was preparing for a new government in order to sack some ministers who were allegedly involved in the killing of the journalist.
For one thing, the country’s economy has continued to wallow in the doldrums because of such financial scams. And talk is rife that the Ministerial team has not fully delivered the expected goods according to Presidential prescription.
Many scandals have continued to rock the present government, including the covid-19, the Olembe Stadium, the Glencore corruption scandals. There is also the budgetary lines 57, 65 and 94 embezzlements scandals that involved a good number of ministers. For one thing, the country’s economy has continued to wallow in the doldrums because of such financial scams. And talk is rife that the Ministerial team has not fully delivered the expected goods according to Presidential prescription. For one thing, the country’s economy has continued to walk in the decline. Many people insist that government needs to be reshuffled in order to weed out certain bad seeds. For, there are many aspects of national life that are in the doldrums as far as service delivery is concerned. Good roads, portable water and access to many other social amenities are still luxury to a majority of Cameroonians.
Despite the high expectation about a change of government, the man who has the knife and the yam to make it happen seems not to be bothering much about that. Some people in the ruling party have argued that the President, has his time which like that of his Maker is the best. They go further to say that his priorities have nothing to do with the priorities of those who are waiting to be appointed. If one listens to the sycophants of the ruling party, one will be tempted to go away with the impression that there is a yawning gulf between the time and priorities of the President and those of the people. If that were to be the case, it would be unfortunate because the President did not election himself. Did he? Normally, he was elected by the Cameroonian people to marshal their aspirations and not pursue his personal agenda. In that logic, his time and priorities should be in tandem with the aspirations of the Cameroonian people. Right now, the clamour of the people is that some alleged embezzlers and suspected criminals should be weeded out of government to dance to the rhythms of justice.