Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, generally called the 'Absentee Captain' by western media, has been ranked one of the four worst dictators in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the world’s worst 20. Biya is ranked with only two others in sub-Saharan Africa: Robert Mugabe and King Mswati III of Swaziland. The ranking appears in David Wallechnisky new book launched yesterday: "Tyrants, the world's 20 worst living dictators"(Regan Press). Wallechinsky a historian has worked as a commentator for the America television network, the NBC and is author of several reference books.
According to the release received by AND, 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 phony elections. In 2004, annoyed by the criticisms of international vote-monitoring groups, he paid for his own set of international observers, six ex-U.S. congressmen, who certified his election as free and fair.”, writes Wallechnisky about the Cameroon's electoral process.
Since 2003, Wallechnisky has been writing an annual article for Parade magazine, ranking the 10 worst dictators currently in power. Now he has expanded the list and written a book on the subject, referred to above. This classification comes in the wake of another publication ranking Cameroon among the five worst countries in the world in terms of governance, the other countries being 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 also President, World Peace Foundation. Harvard is of the world’s best Universities.
Transparency International has ranked Cameroon one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The latest ranking puts Cameroon at number 138 out of 163 countries. Other credible reports by United Nations agencies, US State Department, Amnesty International and others carry similar evidence of the abysmal state of governance and human rights in Cameroon. Instead of dismissing all this evidence as fallacy or burying our heads in the sand in the hope that things will change, all those with a stake in the country need to wake up to reality and do something about it.
"As Cameroon prepares for local elections in March, 2007, it is worth pointing out that, until the government allows for free and fair elections, the country will never get out of poverty", Sarli Sardou Nana, a Cameroonian pro-democracy campaigner told AND. "Free and fair elections can only come about through an independent electoral management process in accordance with the Durban Declaration". He added: "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".
Born in 1933, Biya is the ruling power since November 1982, following the resignation of his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo. In October, 1992, during the first multi-party elections, he would have lost the presidential elections vis-à-vis John Fru Ndi, but would have been maintained with the massive frauds according to some political observers.
Many organizations, like Amnesty International, often criticize the Biya’s regime, to restrict fundamental freedoms of the Cameroonians. That includes in particular the control of the media (newspapers, radio and television) and of the violations of the human rights.
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