Cameroon’s main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) has described as mere window dressing President Paul Biya’s attempts to fight corruption. This follows the arrest yesterday of two former senior cabinet ministers over allegations of corruption. The SDF says that on several occasions, it has pointed out to President Biya some corrupt ministers in his administration. But the president refuses to listen to calls for a probe of the allegations against the ministers. The government dismisses the SDF claims, saying all is being done to weed out graft.
From Wum in Cameroon’s countryside, National Chairman John Fru-Ndi of the opposition SDF tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Biya’s graft fight is too little too late.
“Mr. Biya is taking the steps a little too late because it’s over two years now that they started sounding this drum that they were going to arrest people. And about the arrest, we are waiting eagerly to know how much money has been recovered from those people. When the SDF formed their party, we said that there were capital flights from the country. There was terrible embezzlement, but Mr. Biya said they wanted proof. Even one of his ministers said some ministers were carrying monies in briefcases abroad. He (Biya) didn’t quite believe it until so much has been squandered, he is arresting the people now,” Fru-Ndi noted.
He said President should take a cue from Ivorian founding President Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
“Personally, I want him to take the approach of the late president of Ivory Coast, President Houphouët-Boigny, who, when they gave him a list of embezzlers, he called the people, showed them their account numbers, and he used the monies so collected to build the Basilica in Yamoussoukro, which though he is dead and gone, is not forgotten because Yamoussoukro has become a big tourist center in Ivory Coast,” he said.
Fru-Ndi described President Biya’s graft fight as non-existent, relative to the enormity of corrupt practices prevailing in the country.
“I will say that he is biting and blowing because he has not taken it to the full swing, to the full turn, where we expected from him. But, well, suffice it to say that he has tried. Let us give the devil his due,” Fru-Ndi said.
He accused President Biya of rigging previous elections.
“He is slow because he organized elections and sent his ministers to rig these elections. So the parliament of Cameroon is not very effective and debative as it should be. So the SDF with about 15 parliamentarians can shout on top of their voices. The ruling people will vote for what their party wants them to vote for, under what they call party discipline. So, the parliamentarians don’t have a free conscience to do what they want to do to serve the people,” he pointed out.