Biya Ranked Amongst World Worst Tyrants
By Bouddih Adams
President Paul Biya has Paulbiya_1been ranked one of the four worst dictators in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the world's worst 20, by an author and commentator for the United States TV network, NBC.
The ranking appears in David Wallechnisky's new book; Tyrants, The World's 20 Worst Living Dictators (Regan Press) launched Friday, November 17. Wallechinsky, a historian, has worked as a commentator for the American television network, the NBC, and is author of several reference books.
The story, carried on cameroononline.org has been floated around the world.According to the story, since 2003, Wallechnisky has been writing an annual article for Parade Magazine, ranking the 10 worst dictators currently in power. He has now expanded the list and written a book on the subject.
Biya is ranked with only two others in sub-Saharan Africa: Robert Mugabe and King Mswati III of Swaziland.The author comments: "Every few years, Biya stages an election to justify his continuing reign, but these elections have no credibility. In fact, Biya is credited with a creative innovation in the world of phoney elections."
Wallechnisky writes about Cameroon's electoral process: "In 2004, annoyed by the criticisms of international vote-monitoring groups, he (Biya) paid for his own set of international observers, six ex-US congressmen, who certified his election as free and fair."
Biya Regime's Traditional Reaction
The tradition of the Biya regime has been to react bitterly whenever it has been rated at the bottom of the virtues of governance and transparency. When Transparency International, TI, ranked the government two years successively as topping the chart in corruption, government ministers were very vocal on missions, castigating the international NGO as lacking the knowledge and authority to carry on its Corruption Perception Index.
They argued that Cameroon could not come before Nigeria in corruption. A lot of effort was employed in this direction, instead of going the whole hog to fight corruption, eradicate bad governance and improve on its human rights records, issues that always earn the government a poor ranking.
Meantime, Nigeria engaged a fierce fight against corruption. Since then, ministers and governors in Nigeria have either been forced to resign or have been sacked.
But when the same TI ranked Cameroon sixth after Nigeria, every government official was impressed and while making a speech anywhere, slipped in the ranking and proudly pronounced TI to impress well-wishers.
President Biya, thereafter, started a fight against embezzlement and corruption but abandoned it as very few of generally known corrupt officials have been brought to book. The rest of lot are working freely and living comfortably.
The tyranny and dictatorship ranking comes in the wake of another publication ranking Cameroon among the five worst countries in the world in terms of governance. The others in this rank are: Iraq, Chad, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Romania.
The information is contained in a Governance Perception Index, a survey carried out at Harvard University led by Professor Robert Rotberg, of Kennedy School of Government, and President of World Peace Foundation. Government apologists have swung into action condemning the ranking and questioning the authenticity of the Harvard Professor's findings.
It should be noted that Harvard is one of the world's best universities.
No Guarantee For Fair 2007 Elections
Sarli Sardou Nana, a Cameroonian pro-democracy campaigner holds that: "As Cameroon prepares for local elections in 2007, it is worth pointing out that until the government allows for free and fair elections, the country will never get out of poverty."
Nana states: "Free and fair elections can only come about through an independent electoral management process in accordance with the Durban Declaration."
He cautions that: "The government has to realise that Cameroon's present image of a badly governed state means it will always be difficult to attract appropriate and substantial external investment to create jobs and eradicate poverty".
But the government of Cameroon, in spite of undertakings signed with international organisations like the Commonwealth and others, on the score of pro-democracy and transparency, is reluctant to create an independent electoral commission as demanded by the people ahead of next year's local elections.
Born in 1933, Biya has been in power since November 1982, following the resignation of his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo.Since 1992, during the first multiparty elections, when Biya is generally believed to have lost to SDF Chairman John Fru Ndi, elections have been hugely frauded.
Monday, 20 November 2006 at 02
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