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« Mboua Massok Awarded the First Felix Moumie Prize for Democracy & Human Rights | Main | In their Own Words: Franz Fanon on the Assassination of Felix Moumi »

October 30, 2007

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Akoson

Is it only in France that this demon can entertain an interview? This man has never ever had a press conference in say any of the Sate owned universities in Cameroon.

Mousa

President Biya Opens Up To The World Press

Nkendem FORBINAKE - Cameroon Tribune
[31/10/2007]

No issue of current political interest in Cameroon was avoided in the 40-minute interview with France 24 yesterday.

In a rare media outing last evening on France’s round-the-clock news channel France 24, the President of the Republic talked on the major issues on the political agenda in Cameroon and, even beyond.

For Interviewer Ulysse Gosset, the host of the channel’s Talk de Paris show which regularly brings on the main moves of world very much à la Larry King Live of CNN fame, there was no taboo subject: the fight against corruption, the role of the First Lady, the condescending attitude towards intellectuals, the repatriation of the remains of former President Ahmadou Ahidjo, national reconciliation, direct dialogue with opposition leader John Fru Ndi, the third Presidential term palaver, succession at the helm of State et al.

France 24 started the 40-minute interview with a question which many Cameroonian journalists would have loved to ask; by recalling that it was the second interview President Biya was granting to the French press, and implicitly highlighting the paucity of the President’s encounters with the press. The President acknowledged the importance of communication in the political process today, arguing that he makes lots of speeches which, in his view, make up for the deficit. And what of apprehensions engendered by President Sarkozy’s resolve to overturn the apple cart, as it were, in his approach to relations between France and African countries. Here, President Biya showed no real signs of worry. “I think it is simply a problem of style and approach… the substance will remain very much the same,” Biya told France 24, specifying that he saw in President Sarkozy’s move, a desire to promote a new partnership… a system in which Africa will talk resolutely about its needs. “By my reckoning, he seems to be saying that time is out for unilateralism.”

In the sequential organization of the interview, three Paris-based Cameroonians were invited to ask questions through the internet. The renowned writer Calixthe Beyala questioned why Cameroon treats its artists and intellectuals with so much disdain and wondered why the Yaounde authorities were so downbeat about supporting Cameroonian candidacies for international jobs. The President recognized that the culture Ministry, under Ferdinand Leopold Oyono had a lacklustre posture when it came to doing its job, hoping that things will change. With regard to international jobs, the President spoke of the necessity of going about it calmly. “We should not be too self-centred; other countries too fight for those jobs.”

Louis Keumayou, a Cameroonian journalist and President of the Paris-based Association de la Presse panafricaine sought to know the President’s real intentions with regard to the 2011 expiry of his term. “It is certain the 2011 elections will hold but, for me, they are still very far away... I am just midway my term and there are other priorities to be addressed now... When the moment comes, there will be candidates,” was his answer. And what if he is preparing a successor? “If I told you we are preparing a successor, it will be as if we were in a monarchy.”

To Jean Paul Tchokoté, leader of the opposition SDF organisation in France who wanted to know why President Biya avoids physically meeting Mr John Fru Ndi, the President made a startling revelation: “I do not avoid Fru Ndi, in fact we once took an appointment to meet in my village, not far from Yaounde but at the last minute, it was the SDF leader who absconded.”

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that former President Ahidjo’s remains should not be brought back to the country, the President stated. “It is his family to work that out; I am not opposed to it” Biya told France 24.

This interview, rare and important as it is, is most compelling to read.

The southwesterner

This guy got nothing new to offer. He should go and go if possible today. He is disaster for Cameroon. An absentee chief executive . Is he even in control?. He lacks the guts to talk freely to Cameroonians in Cameroon. Come 2011,the gates of Yaounde will be stormed. His choices are pretty clear, go on retirement or handover in the most of ceremonous of manners.

Ma Mary

"the constitution is not etched in stone"–very revealing indeed.. How many constitutions has la republique 's honchos unilaterally made and scrapped since 1960? Constitutions figuratively speaking must be etched in stone in order to be taken seriously. Despots may not be allowed to change constitutions nilly willy to suit their power-hungry aspirations du jour.

La republique could learn from Nigeria, where where Obasanjo tried to mess with tthe constitution to give himself a third term. . There was a huge uproar, and he backed down.

Arnold

"..at a time when we are witnessing the linguistic imperialism of certain languages, it is worthwhile preserving a space where French is spoken"

That coming from the Head of State of a supposedly bilingual counttry. Anglophones take note of this statement!!!!!!!

JPTanyong

Possible meeting between Biya and Fru Ndi.

Biya speaks no English; Fru Ndi speaks no French.

Interesting to see two Cameroonian leaders talking to each other through translators

JPTanyong

Biya is really a French stooge; no independence of mind or original thought. Do you notice how he takes all the care in the world not to contradict or disagree with any of Sarkozy's utterances.

Cameroun is a neo-colony. When Britain chose to rule the Southern Cameroons through Nigeria, our fathers fought against being a colony of a colony. Today we're still a colony of a colony as La Reublique is independent from France only in name.

No iniative from its head of state; all he can do is beg for assistance, continuance of special relationship etc

paulo laurent

SOME ONE MENTION THAT QUESTIONS WERE SEND FROM EVERY ONE AND THAT ALL QUESTION OERTAINING TO THE CAMEROUNS WERE ASKED
WELL THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF ALL THE EXISTENCE OF THE CAMEROONS WASNT ASKED/

THE QUESTION OF THE STATE OF SOUTHERN CAMEROONS.

WHY HAVE HE BIYA COLONIZED THE AFRICAN PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN CAMEROONS?
AND IS HE INTENDING TO WITHDRAW HIS ILLEGAL ADMINISTRATION AND MILITARY FROM SOUTHERN CAMEROONS OR HE INTENT TO GO TO WAR TO PRSERVE 7 M SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS STATELESS AS A PROVINCE FOR HIS FRENCH-NEGROES POLITICIANS FOREVER?

JPTanyong

Paul Biya, thank you for being the best lawyer for the SCNC:

"nous assistons à l’impérialisme linguistique de certaines langues, il n’est pas inutile de préserver un espace où l’on parle français"

You guys should should remember that Chirac stormed out of an EU meeting some years back, upset that a French delegate spoke in English. Paul biya is just following in his master's footsteps.

Chirac proteste contre un discours prononcé en anglais

Bruxelles -- Le Président de la République a quitté la salle du Conseil européen, jeudi après-midi, parce que le patron des patrons européens, le Français Ernest-Antoine Seillière, ancien dirigeant du Medef, a choisi de s’exprimer en anglais devant les vingt-cinq chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement !

Le président français a provoqué la surprise de ses partenaires de l'Union jeudi soir en se levant au début du discours de l'ancien président du MEDEF, qui avait choisi de s'exprimer en anglais, «la langue des affaires».

«C'est simplement parce qu'il s'est exprimé en anglais», a assuré le chef de l'État lors d'une conférence de presse à l'issue du sommet européen à Bruxelles.

«On ne va pas fonder le monde de demain sur une seule langue et donc une seule culture, ce serait une régression dramatique», s'est indigné Jacques Chirac.

«Nous nous battons pour notre langue», mais «ce n'est pas seulement l'intérêt national, c'est l'intérêt de la culture, c'est l'intérêt du dialogue des cultures», a-t-il souligné.

«Face à tous ces efforts que nous faisons constamment, notamment au sein de l'Union, en raison des difficultés qu'il y a à maintenir la place de chacune [des langues européennes], je dois dire que j'ai été profondément choqué de voir un Français s'exprimer à la table du Conseil en anglais. C'est la raison pour laquelle la délégation française et moi-même sommes sortis plutôt que d'avoir à écouter cela», a dit le président français.

Après ce geste de désapprobation, Jacques Chirac, qui était sorti accompagné des ministres français de l'Économie et des Affaires étrangères, est revenu à la table des discussions une fois terminée l'allocution d'Ernest-Antoine Seillière.

Jacques

Il faut qu'on se prepare pour une revolte.

Elvis

Whaoo!
finally Biya speaks.i wish he could expressed himself in cameroon the way he did in France eventhough he sound like they were forcing him to answer questions he didn't like.he should know that come 2011 if he doesn't step down,cameroonian will step him down in a very very disgraceful way.
watch
ET

Ebulle

Is it not funny to see that The President of Cameroon can only offer an interview in a foreign country? Worst of all, he is very evasive in answering questions.If I want to write, my pen will not stop. In Ayi kwei Armah's "the beautiful ones are not yet born" Sister Manan seats by the sea shore playing with sand ans saying all is mixed up. Cameroon has been badly mixed up...There is agony in the minds of the youth. When thieves are apprehended in Yaounde, and it is found out that one of them is a soldier, and others working right in the presidency, It tells you what is going on in this country of ours...Do I need to write more to make you understand that all is not well... The pain at heart is just too much for those who have eyes to see, and those who have minds to understand!

Muna Muto

With the current politcal dispensation, I believe Biya was right to give a vague answer with regards to succession. It will be political suicide for him to openly admit he will not run for elections in 2011 at this point in time. Loyalties will change, infighting will cripple the gov't which is already in its knees, and frankly, I won't be suprised if there was a coup to overthrow him. Strategically, he gave a very wise answer to this question. However, whenever he is "removed" from power, justice should prevail. The death penalty still exists in Cameroon. His family should be held accountable, kids locked up untill all the stolen goods are returned, property seized etc etc.
Muna

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