By Mua Patrick Mughe in Yaounde –
French leader, Emmanuel Macron, has publicly boasted he ordered President Paul Biya to release opposition figure, Prof Maurice Kamto, and scores of his supporters from detention.
Caught on camera in a video which has since been making the rounds on social media platforms, the French leader openly bragged he had instructed Biya to release the frontline supporters of Cameroon Renaissance Movement, MRC, before a meeting he had with Biya in Lyon, France last year. The French ‘strongman’ gave to understanding that the release of Kamto and Co was a condition for Biya to visit France.
Responding to questions from one of the leaders of the anti-movement, Brigade Anti-Sardinard, BAS on the sidelines of the just ended Paris Agriculture Fair, President Emmanuel Macron literally announced he will this week proceed to ‘horse whipping’ Biya to take urgent actions in resolving the ongoing crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
But as Macron’s outing continues to preoccupy group discussions and TV debates across the country and beyond, pro-Biya regime supporters appear not to have taken the French leader’s words kindly.
Through social media and other formal outings, the regime barons have been describing Macron’s utterances as reckless, undiplomatic and an affront to a president democratically elected by his people.
The pro-regime supporters have been picking holes in his audacious utterances, saying it is nothing short of France’s attempts to continuously maintain a grip on its former colonies.
The Biya supporters say for a president to go public in 2020 and boast he has been giving orders to his peer on how he should run his own country affairs, is not only shocking but an attack on a country’s sovereignty.
But what exactly did Macron say?
Accosted by Francophone activist, Calibri Calibro, in France Saturday, French president, Macron, was ‘raw’ in his utterances
He openly boasted: “I put pressure on Paul Biya to deal with the subject of the English-speaking area and its opponents. I told him that I did not want to receive him in Lyon until Maurice Kamto was not released. And he was released because we put pressure. But the situation continues to deteriorate”.
He then announced: “I will call President Biya next week and I we will put the maximum pressure to end this situation. I am fully aware and fully involved in the violence in Cameroon which is intolerable. I’m doing my maximum best”.
France, he said, is still caught in a complicated role-playing game in Africa.
“We are a State of law and we defend the rule of law everywhere. But when in Africa, a French President says: ‘Such a leader is not democratically elected, Africans say, why are you getting into, you have no lessons to give us’”, he said.
He continued that: “Everywhere, I want democratically elected leaders and where the Presidents are not democratically elected, I will work with civil society. I work with the African Union and international organizations to put pressure”.
“When President Kabila was there, there were oppositions like you in that country. We put the pressure on. We worked with several other Presidents and we managed to get a political alternation to have President Tshisekedi,” Macron added, before stating “On President Biya, I told him that he must open the game. He must decentralise. He must liberate political opponents. He must uphold the rule of law”.
“I will do everything in my power to do so. I really want you to know, but it is not for France to make democracy in Cameroon in the place of Cameroonians” he concluded.
It appears to have been the first time the French president was speaking at length on the Anglophone crisis.
However, in 2018 following Biya’s reelection as president, Macron had briefly mentioned the crisis in a congratulatory letter but didn’t talk further on the issue.
Macron in the congratulatory letter to Biya outlined what he considered then to be the major challenges in Cameroon. He had cited the situation of Cameroon’s youth, the crisis in the Anglophone regions, and the fight against Boko Haram.