By Kini Nsom
A decision by President Paul Biya to convene an extraordinary congress of the ruling CPDM party for July 21 has made nonsense of the party's deputy scribe's argument that the Chairman's mandate had been renewed during a politburo meeting.
Gregoire Owona scolded journalists for dabbling with an issue they did not master following press reports last week that the mandate of President Biya as Chairman of the ruling CPDM party has expired.
In an interview granted the state audiovisual broadcaster, CRTV, Owona said the press reports were erroneous. He fidgeted with the issue of the party congress, claiming that it was not obvious that it would hold. But shortly after Owona's statement was broadcast on radio and television, The Post learnt, Biya billed the CPDM extraordinary congress for Friday, July 21.
CPDM insiders told The Post that Owona felt ridiculed when Biya convened the extraordinary congress. As a follow-up to Biya's announcement, on Friday, July 7, the Secretary General of CPDM, Joseph Charles Doumba, reiterated that the congress would hold on July 21.
Many observers interpreted the situation to mean that Owona ridiculed himself by trying to make press statements about a situation he was not fully in charge of.Biya's announcement was clearly in tandem with press reports that his mandate at the helm of the party had expired. It equally put an end to the uncertainty and speculations that had shrouded the CPDM congress.
Stakes Of The Congress
Reacting to the announcement, one of the main resource persons for the CPDM and Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency, Prof. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, said Biya took the decision within the legal bounds of the statutes of the party. According to Prof. Ngolle Ngolle, the stakes that belie the extraordinary congress are high in that they border on the integrity of the party and that of its Chairman who is also Head of State.
He said as a ruling party, the CPDM must emerge with good decisions on July 21, so as to put the nation in good health."The party must be doing things in the right way. In the CPDM, power is seen as something that has a moral substance. When you are in power and managing people, you must show exemplary conduct," Ngolle Ngolle told The Post in an exclusive interview over the weekend.
He predicted that the CPDM extraordinary congress would come out with decisions that would right some of the wrongs ailing the nation.Given that it is the ruling party, he said the CPDM couldn't afford to be sick because that would imply that Cameroon is sick, too.
The Minister, who has been a CPDM resource person for over 15 years, said the extraordinary congress, by its very definition, has a short agenda because of the shortness of its time frame that is limited only to one day.
He said the agenda of the congress could be limited to re-election of the Chairman, but did not rule out the possibility of the congress discussing other issues that border on the life of the party and the nation. In this light, the congress could renew its organs. He said many Central Committee members have died and need to be replaced while some of them who have been detained will no longer be qualified.
In the wake of the anti-corruption onslaught by its Chairman, the party could use the extraordinary congress to reiterate its stance not to tolerate militants who abuse the values of the society and violate the laws of the state. "President Biya will be more committed to fight corruption in his capacity as Head of State and Chairman of the CPDM," Ngolle Ngolle stated.
Asked whether it is clear that Biya will be re-elected Chairman of the party, Ngolle Ngolle said militants might not have any other choice because Biya has a successful policy record at the helm of the party. Enumerating Biya's achievements, Ngolle Ngolle said he has not only brought multiparty politics to Cameroon, but has also initiated partnership with the opposition that has made it possible for inter-party dialogue to reign.
Ngolle Ngolle, who was a member of the tripartite talks in 1990 and later a member of the CPDM-SDF talks, said because of President Biya's spirit of democracy, Cameroonians are today discussing their differences in civility.