The failure of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) flagbearer to the October 7 Presidential election to honour his campaign rally promises to the population of the Southwest Region at the Buea Independence Square on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, have left many people in the Region wondering why Biya backed out of his proposed visit to the Region at the eleventh hour.
Before the October 3 failed visit, all local radio stations, pro-Biya social media platforms and surrogates of the regime were drumming Biya’s coming to the crisis-plagued Region. This, to them, was going to demonstrate that their Presidential candidate is still in charge of the Anglophone Regions despite the upheavals.
There was huge mobilisation from local CPDM supporters in the Region and elite of the Region, who have been on self-imposed exile in Yaounde, since the escalation of the Anglophone Crisis.
Evidence of Biya’s visit to Buea could be seen in the renovation works on the Buea Independence Square Grandstand and the redeployment of the Presidential guards to the Region.
However, Biya’s failure to show up on October 3 have left many local CPDM supporters wondering whether they were fooled by the South West CPDM elite or by the party Chairman himself.
According to some local party militants, who have been at daggers-drawn with the party’s elite, the announcement made concerning the visit of their Presidential candidate was a strategy by the elite to publicly campaign for Biya.
According to them, the elite took the decision after Mayor Patrick Ekema Esunge and probably the party hierarchy mocked the elite for launching the party’s campaign on September 23, 2018, in a hotel room. They added that a party like the CPDM cannot launch its campaigns in hiding.
“It was in other to disprove their critics that the elite were forced to deceive militants that President Paul Biya will be in the South West Region. This also gave them the opportunity to organise a public campaign for the party,” one of the disgruntled local supporters, who could see their party Chairman told the press.
Others are of the opinion that announcing the coming of the Head of State to the Region was the only strategy the South West CPDM elite had to pull a huge crowd together and pose for the cameras to show Biya that the Region was still with him, despite the Crisis.
“I think this was the main reason why our elite lied to us. They even hired some supporters from the other Regions just to show the President that people are still in Buea, which is a lie. These our people have refused to repent,” another young militant told The National Times.
His point was further corroborated by the South West Regional Chairman of the Campaign Committee, Peter Mafany Musonge, when he said during his speech that: “our party is the first to hold a public campaign rally in the Region. This is an indication that the other eight contestants have no vote in the Region”.
To some party supporters, the CPDM Presidential candidate deliberately cancelled his campaign visit to the South West Region.
According to them, infighting among the CPDM elite in the Region is among the reasons why the CPDM flagbearer had to cancel his visit. Cases of infighting were identified during the launch of the campaigns at Buea Mountain Hotel on September 23, where militants openly insulted themselves.
Also, the recent outing of the Mayor of Buea, Patrick Ekema Esunge, blaming South West CPDM elite for masterminding his attempted assassination at Sawa Hotel, Douala is one of the evidence of disunity among CPDM elite in the Region. These, among others, were some of the reasons, the party militants said, why their Presidential candidate could not gamble coming to Buea for fear of a poor reception.
Whether President Biya deliberately cancelled his campaign rally in Buea or the announcement of his supposed visit was a campaign strategy hatched by the South West CPDM bigwigs, the Buea campaign is now history, and the October 7 Presidential election is now starring the actors in the face.