The New Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Jean Nkuete is not coming into government for the first time. He was the first Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic when President Biya came to power.
Before his appointment, he was the Executive Secretary of CEMAC. He walks into a portfolio that has a lot of stakes in terms of rural development.
In the same vein, Badel Ndinga Ndanga who was appointed Secretary of State in the Ministry of Transport was one time Secretary of State in the Ministry of Plan and Regional Development.
In another perspective, only Prof. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle and Emmanuel Bonde were sort of promoted in Friday's cabinet shake-up. Ngolle Ngolle who was the Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency, now assumes the functions of a full-fledged Minister in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife where another Southwest Elite, Hillman Achuo Egbe was thrown out.
Why Biya Sacked Some Ministers
The cabinet reshuffle of September 22 saw the departure of some hitherto powerful Ministers from government. Although it is difficult to say exactly what motivated President Biya to show such Ministers the door, some observers hold that the pig-headedness of the Ministers rocked the very boat of government solidarity, thereby pushing the President to the wall.
In this light, the departure of the former Minister of public service is not unconnected with his total disregard of instructions from hierarchy. Benjamin Amana Amama may now be regretting why he took a controversial stand against integrating over 300 graduates from the National School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM in to the Public Service.
Amama Amama who had earlier violated instructions from the Prime Minister when he was Director of ENAM, had earlier complained that the present Director of the school, Ndong Soumet refused to take instructions from him. Many observers wondered where Amama's audacity was coming from.
But he told everybody who cared to listen that he did not care a damn in taking any decision that he believed was right. It is such boldness that spurred him to flout instructions from Chief Ephraim Inoni, Prime Minister and Head of Government.
The Prime Minister had instructed Amama Amama to integrate the ENAM graduates, but he argued that he would not integrate people he claimed were fraudulently recruited. He claimed that he was respecting Presidential prescriptions, but at the same time violating a Presidential circular in which Biya urged the Ministers to respect hierarchy and ensure government solidarity.
Many people say the sacking of Pierre Moukoko, as Minister of Communications is not unconnected to the fact that he reacted illogically to newspaper stories on alleged homosexuals. As if to vent his anger on newspapers that alleged that he is a homosexual, he tabled a controversial bill in Parliament that was aimed at muzzling the press by reintroducing administrative censorship.
The controversial bill was later withdrawn, allegedly on the instructions of the Head of State, following complaints by the diplomatic community in Yaounde. But Moukoko later re-emerged with the bill, claiming that he consulted journalists before drawing it up.
Besides, Pierre Moukoko is alleged to be one of the hidden actors in the crisis rocking the Cameroon Radio and Television, CRTV, of which he is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors.
It is even alleged that he was always disagreeing with the CRTV's General Manager's policies in one way or the other. Thus, Biya might have just sacked Pierre Moukoko for harmony to reign in the country's communication family.
The Presidential decree of the cabinet shake-up at 5 PM on that fateful Friday came to Moukoko like a bombshell. He was presiding over a working session with the CRTV Directors at Mballa II in Yaounde. The meeting ended in disarray, as the sacked Minister walked out in low spirits. Prof. Moukoko was later seen congratulating his successor at his Bastos residence.
As Minister of Sports and Physical Education, those who know that football is the one thing that Cameroon holds as the ultimate religion could easily predict Phillippe Mbarga Mboa's exit from government.
His reign that began in December 2004 was chequered by the poor performance of the national football team. More so, he remained in a power struggle or conflict with authorities of the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, while the country's football went down the drain.
Besides, he was accused of stoking the fires of a conspiracy to unseat the FECAFOOT boss, Iya Mohammed, instead of seeking ways of solving problems. For one thing, the former Coach of the Indomitable Lions, Artur Jorge went for many months without a salary.
It is difficult to say why Biya took away Lekene Donfack from his Minister of State shell. But it can be observed that the great ambition policy in urban development was yet to be felt. Biya decided to let Clobert Tchatat face the challenge.
The erstwhile Minister of Forestry and Wildlife was never openly involved in any controversy, although the Ministry remains a sensitive and slippery ground. It is alleged that petition writing against Mr. Hillman Achuo Egbe by other Manyu elite, certainly helped President Biya to compensate its long time loyal and faithful servant, Prof. Ngolle Ngolle and tilt the balance of power in favour of Kupe Manenguba Division in the Southwest geopolitical setting.
Thus, Ngolle Ngolle walks into Achuo Egbe's shoes while the latter gets into a Ministerial limbo for now. At the helm of the Public Works Ministry, Biya simply nodded Martin Okouda away to give Messengue Avom the chance to wield power in the award of road construction contracts.
The President equally sent away Justin Ndioro from the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to give Bernard Sindeu, the Deputy Mayor of Bana in Upper Nkam Division the chance to become a Minister.
Presidential Majority Untouchable
Despite the controversial issues in which some of them are involved, President Biya did not sack any Minister from the Presidential majority parties. The Minister of Planning, Programming and Regional Development, Augustin Frederic Kodock who is also the Secretary General of the UPC spent time granting press conferences to run down Colbert Tchatat.
Besides, one NGO, Citizen Association for the Defense of Collective Interests ACDIC, recently published the results of an audit, indicating that during that during Kodock's reign as Minister of Agriculture in 2004, half of the budget of that Ministry went into private pockets through acts of corruption.
President Biya overlooked these issues and maintained him. Transport Minister Dakole Daisala, whose reign is characterized by many road accidents, was maintained. His trump card could be that he is the leader of the Movement for the Defense of the Republic MDR, which is an ally of the ruling CPDM party.
Another ally, Bello Bouba Maigari, Chairman of the National Union for Democracy and Progress, NUDP, was maintained as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. Amadou Moustapha, of ANDP, was equally maintained as Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency.
The changes that were made did not perturb the status quo in the North/South alliance that the Biya government is hinged on. The traditional marginalisation of the Anglophones was maintained in the new cabinet.
Only Ngolle Ngolle was made full-fledged Minister. Victor Arrey-Nkongho Mengot, succeeded the former as the Minister of Special Duties at the Presidency. Again, President Biya did not touch the posts of Secretary of State, Minister Delegate, and Deputy Secretary General at the Presidency that "belong" to the Northwest.