Message to President Biya: It is better for you to resign now than later.
The resignation of a leader of Cameroon is nothing new. The first Prime Minister, Mr. Andre Marie Mbida and the second Prime Minister/First President, Mr. Amadou Ahidjo, also resigned.
The challenges facing Cameroon today necessitate your resignation. Each year, the separatist project in West Cameroon gains more sympathy among our people. The centralized government machinery, marred by corruption, cannot function. You neglected your presidential duties during COVID and are directly responsible for the loose distribution of IMF funds that have now resulted in a scandal.
It was said in 2018 that you intend to win re-election and then resign after organizing a dialogue and reconciliation of separatist West Cameroon. If true, this is a sign of how profoundly misled you are about the war of secession. You cannot resolve this problem within this presidential term. In fact, your presence at the helm of state, combined with extreme delegation of power and the corruption in the military, can actually be said to be promoting the separatist cause. Your help to preserve a united Cameroon at this juncture is to resign.
Having pacified corrupt diplomats and the international community, you may be mistaken to celebrate the reduction of external pressure. The separatists now fully understand that asymmetric war is their best approach to separation. Working to their advantage is the fact that as the years go by, the ordinary people get more comfortable with the idea of decades of war if this can free them from their Eastern brothers and sisters, whose political culture they find nauseating.
Resignation is the right thing for you to do and it can win you praise from those who are less critical of your decades of destruction. In fact, opinions about Mr. Mbida’s resignation today are divied, with some seeing him as a hero and others, such as our group, as a foretaste of the problems of France-Afrique.
Fans of Mr. Mbida said he fought against French control of our national politics and against the one-party state of Mr. Ahidjo. These sound positive in all ears. But we know that he had a fragile coalition in government and he was not receptive to the strategic change of French policy for Cameroon as championed by Jean Ramadier. Mr. Ramadier embraced UPC’s politics of reunification of the two Cameroons and immediate independence. Mr. Mbida was opposed to both; he thought we were too immature for independence. Even when he rushed to France to have Mr. Ramadier removed and his policies reversed, he met with support from the Catholic right wing but ultimately failed to change the policies, eventhough he succeeded to have Mr. Ramadier transferred. Mr. Mbida had then resigned, replaced by Mr. Ahidjo.
With respect to Mr. Ahidjo’s resignation, we know from Mrs. Germaine Ahidjo that he was depressed. From your presidency, one can surmise that in his place, you would delegated power to a competent Secretary General at the Presidency, Mr. Eboua, and gone to relax at the InterContinental Hotel. This hotel was built in 1964; so it was already available in 1982. But Mr. Ahidjo chose to resign formally and follow the constitution which Jacques Foccart had already modified in your favor, to bar the anglophone S.T. Muna from constitutional succession even for a few days. When Mr. Ahidjo resigned, many cried and those who hated your demeanor felt betrayed. He encouraged them to work with you.
So you see that when a Cameroonian leader resigns, there is a section of the population that retains good memories of them. The situation is different if you allow yourself to be pressured into resignation through street protests such as in Algeria and Mali. The resignation in Mali was induced by popular protests; the coup d’etat was an opportunist power grab from the unsuspecting civil society and opposition because France-Afrique does not vigorously defend the constitution. ECOWAS will prevail on France-Afrique Mali and there will be a civilian government within a year. But Mr. Bouteflika and the Malian Mr. Keita will be remembered as having been pushed out by popular protests.
Having rigged so many elections, you can also rig your exit. If you willingly announce your resignation and kick start the constitutional process to replace you, you can claim the honor of “having brought democracy to Cameroon”. In fact, some of us will give you fake tears to make your 71% victory appear feasible. You can have Crtv conduct a month long laudatory exposition of your failures.
The truth is that our polls consistently show that about 80% of Cameroonians disapprove of your governance and would want you to resign now. This truth will explode into action one day. That is before 2025. They will soon realize that they ought to do that because as Ambazonians strengthen their resistance, many more families are going to lose family members in the civil war in West Cameroon.
The precedence is there to make your exit more dignified than a popular uprising would bring to you. Follow the example of Mr. Andre Marie Mbida and Mr. Amadou Ahidjo and resign. Each of you would have different reasons but also enjoy the admiration of some Cameroonians who will have a more charitable reading of your time in office.
The best time resign was long ago. The next best time is now. Take advantage of it and resign before it will be too late and too humiliating for you and your family.
English Cameroon for a united Cameroon
June 1st, 2021