The Ambassador of the United States to Cameroon, HE Peter Henry Balerin has come under fire for telling Cameroon’s President Paul Biya to think about his legacy ahead of the 2018 Presidential elections.
Several government officials including top brass of the Cameroon’s People Democratic Movement, the CPDM have described the Ambassador’s statement as misplaced and an attempt to interfere into the affairs of a sovereign state like Cameroon.
Cameroon’s Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the statement for the US diplomat is an attempt to infantilise the Cameroonian nation.
“We do not accept the infantilisation of the Cameroonian nation. It is with full knowledge of the facts that they (Cameroonians) put their ballot in the ballot box,” Issa Tchiroma told Africanews.
On his part, Higher Education Minister and Communication Secretary of the ruling CPDM party said only the Cameroonian people can decide what is best for them and it is in the interest of the ambassador to respect the people’s choice.
After meeting the Head of State Paul Biya on May 18 to present President Donald Trump’s message to the Cameroonian people ahead of the National Day celebrations, the US Ambassador “suggested to President Biya that he should reflect on his legacy and how he wants to be remembered in the history books to be read by generations to come, and proposed that George Washington and Nelson Mandela? were excellent models.”
The upcoming months will be crucial for Cameroon that is expected to hold Municipal, Legislative and Presidential elections amidst widespread violence in the two English-speaking regions.
At least five opposition leaders have already announced their intentions to run for the Presidential election though Paul Biya, 83, who has been in power since 1983 has still not made it clear if he will stand re-election for another seven-year mandate.