really president biya, really?

Paul Biya, a man who has been president of Cameroon since the 6th of November 1982, keeps giving hints that he plans to amend the constitution of Cameroon to remove a clause limiting the president’s term in office. Although the next elections are not due till 2011, Biya has been dropping hints that he wants the law changed in order to guarantee himself another SEVEN YEAR term in 2011.

Cameroon currently faces violent protests over a recent increase in fuel prices – forget that Cameroon is a petroleum producer, albeit a modest one. Although the prices were lowered after the first wave of protests, the protesters have now extended their demand to include a reduction in the price of not just fuel but food and other items as well. The opposition has promised to keep up with the mass protests if Biya goes ahead with the constitutional amendment.

The 75 year old has had over 25 years to make the lives of Cameroonians better but failed miserably. Over 40% of his country people still live below the poverty line. Official unemployment figures show that about 30% of the labor force is unemployed. Real figures are much higher than this (knowing how incompetent African statistics bureaus are). One wonders what more this old man has to offer to his country after he gives himself another seven years in office in 2011.

Whatever happened to basic decency? Why is it that our leaders feel that they can do whatever they want and get away with it? Do these people have any shame?

If anyone close to Biya reads this please tell him that third term amendments are kind of last-century. Obasanjo ought to have been the last shameful attempt at this. Africa will not claim the 21st century and indeed not even the fourth millennium if we keep up with this third term amendment nonsense. So get real President Biya. Competition breeds excellence, so let competition thrive.

kenya braces for more protests

Kenya seems to be headed for more protests after the opposition refused to follow a government directive banning all political protests in the country following last month’s disputed elections.

Just yesterday the opposition in a show of strength forced through the election of Kenneth Marende over the government’s preferred candidate for the position of speaker of the national assembly, the third most powerful office in the land.

In anticipation of possible violence and looting, many shops are expected to remain closed on Wednesday and police have been deployed throughout the country to ensure that peace prevails and possibly to break-up any opposition marches.

Many analysts, activists and lawyers have asked the government to lift the ban it has imposed on the media and against political rallies as these bans are in clear violation of Kenyans’ freedom of speech and assembly.

Any reasonable person, from either side of the political divide, must find it very disturbing that the same people who less than a decade ago were fighting for free press and freedom of assembly are the ones who now issue statements banning rallies and live broadcasts with abandon. Things never really change. Just people.