The worse blunder or marriage of an African leader to a second wife is that of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya to Chantal Vigoroux. Contrary to leaders such as Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Mathew Olusegun Obasanjo, Albert Bernard Bongo Odimba or Laurent Gbagbo, Paul Biya is not charismatic. But like any other new leader, when he came to power on the 4th of November 1982, he raised a lot of hope in the minds of many Cameroonians. On his side was an exceptionally intelligent, beautiful and humane lady, late Irene Biya. When Irene died, Biya had to remarry the one who is the first lady of Cameroon today. She is by name Chantal Biya nee Chantal Vigoroux. But in other to perceive how and why the first lady that Biya has taken as wife is a blunder, it is important to know that, the lady who now looks as though she has been force fed, had a very miserable record and background. Hence she wants to revenge and in her sinister adventure, any person who does not dance to her tune has to lie down or run for his/her dear life.
However to many Cameroonian lovers of Tele novellas or Latin American movies, beamed into the country via satellite, courtesy the Moroccan kingdom’s Satellite TV channel 2M, what has happened in the Unity Palace(name of the official resident and office of the President) called marriage is/ was like a déjà vu or a deja lu. This is so because, it resembles the story lines of movies that only Latin Americans are known be best at writing and also putting them on screen . Born in 1970 in Yaoundé to a Lebanese father and a Cameroonian mother, Chantal Vigoroux got married to Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon on the 23rd of April 1994.
Like most Cameroonian Christians, Paul Biya got married in the church and did that in strict respect to biblical norms. The bible, it should be recalled, doesn’t encourage divorce or is strongly against it. Nevertheless, the only instance where the bible tolerates remarriage is when there is cheating or adultery or fornication, but the one seeking divorce, is normally not required to remarry. The other situation where in a second marriage is accepted, is only when a partner dies. Hence, when Jeanne Irene Atyam Biya died, Biya had the leeway to get married or remain a widower. It is not as though this author has anything against the current first lady of Cameroon. In fact, she is a gem and will make any real man turn on his seat, if he was seated or be confused, if she (Chantal Biya) is passing by. But since the beautiful creature got married to Mr Biya, she has transformed the man completely. He doesn’t stay in his official residence and office any more or he comes by only when there are envoys. In addition, he seems to have forgotten all his friends, in particular those who dared complained about the young lady.
She uses every flimsy excuses to destroy and assassinate the character of the late former first lady of Cameroon. Chantal’s other problem is that, she wants to become or has already become the Vice President of Cameroon, just like Grace Mugabe, the second wife of the dictator of Harare has done in Zimbabwe. She has created her own foundation and its bears her name and that of her president of a husband. The aim of the foundation, we hear is to fight against HIV/AIDS. That is a noble course, but as it seems to be norm with second wives of African head of states, she has deliberately taken upon herself, to destroy all the representations of the former first lady, the late Jeanne Irene Atyam Biya. At the Yaoundé Central hospital, there is or was a pavilion named after the late former first lady, but the current one has not only brought them down, she has smashed any references of the former first lady. And strangely, her Communications advisers and image makers, amongst them Professor Jacque Fame Ndongo, former minister of Communications and current minister of Higher Education, has seen nothing bad in the actions of his boss or perhaps he does not have the strength to tell her the truth .
The promoter of a Communications theory in Cameroon known in French as le renoveau communicationelle is demonstrating all what that theory means at the Chantal Biya foundation. Perhaps the Communications theory of the grand former minister of Communications and current minister of Higher education of Paul Biya is focused more on how to develop ways and means of memorial destructions, as Chantal Biya is currently doing with the memories of the late former first lady at the Yaoundé Central hospital and elsewhere in the country. If she was destroying the photographs of Irene (the first name of the former first lady) at the presidency as she seems to relish, it would have been another case, even though it is unacceptable as an act. However, she has taken the madness she demonstrates within the presidency to the public and it is a monumental calamity and disgrace to the President. Chantal Biya has to be stopped by all means. For failure to stop her excesses, the famous former night club goer and lover of American gang star rap, will soon start confusing and even start confiscating the lone commercial plane owned by the state, for her shopping spree in trendy boutiques in Paris as does Grace Mugabe.
When Chantal set foot at the Unity Palace, a building, built with monies of Cameroonian tax payers, she immediately began behaving like the famous West African story of rain water and palm wine in a calabash. Those she suspected of despising her, were removed and replaced by her own praise singers. Her first casualty was Laurent Esso and that was in 1996. Before his dismissal from the presidency, he was the head of civil cabinet at the Presidency of the republic.
He was lucky because, as he lost his post, he began a petty merry go round of ministries, to land finally at the ministry of Foreign affairs as minister. What was the crime of Laurent? He did nothing at all. The first lady just suspected the very calm civil servant of being snobbish or was not one of her praise singer. The next person to leave the presidency was the gallant, elegant and flamboyant chief of presidential protocol, Mr Martin Belinga Eboutou. He too was driven out of the presidency in December 1997 and send as Cameroon’s representative at the UN in New York. One year later, it was the turn of the erstwhile influential Divisional Police superintendent, Mr. Pierre Minlo Medjo to be driven out of the post of head of presidential security.
Well, his crime was that, he could no longer stomach Chantal’s vagaries and had to give her a reprimand. Some sources claim that, he even had to slap the first lady in one of the many corridors of the presidency, because he did not see why she should be roving about them like a dejected cat. However, Mr Medjo has since be re- appointed in March 2000 as Delegate General for National Security. Although Medjo has been given a ministerial post, Chantal has succeeded her macabre tour de force against all those she imagined, despised her or were not her praise singers.
Her game plan
After driving away all those she deemed not submissive from the presidency of the Republic, her stratagem was to replace them with her own cronies. Amongst them was a certain playboy called Jean Stephane Biatcha. A man also suspected in passing of being one of her many former or current sweat hearts. Mr Biatcha who was already pacing the lobbies of the Unity Palace was Chantal’s replacement for Belinga Eboutou. But hardliners of the regime said, the institutionalised manage a trios could go on, but an intruder of the caliber of Biatcha won’t have a place at the Presidency of the Republic. The winners in that battle for the selection of a new chief of presidential protocol were the ideologues of the regime and he was Mr Awono Essama. Chantal being good at concocting vicious plots and all sorts of conspiracies was not abated by her failure to bring into the presidency her alleged former boy friend, in order for him to get a precious post at the Presidency. Anyway, it is also claimed that, as early as in 1996, the year when she drove away Laurent Esso from the Presidency of the Republic, she wanted him replaced by one of her protégé, in the person of Mr. Antoine Zanga, but she failed. Nevertheless, as a Spartan, she seldom gives up. As I wrote in part one of this series, since these second wives of African leaders know what they want, they are always ready and preparing constantly for rainy days. As the Chinese saying goes: an intelligent man or in this case, an intelligent woman or women, will always keep their swords by their sides in time of peace or enjoyments.
Chantal Biya has a well furnished bank account at the French Banks: BNP, the Bank of African dictators, their wives and entourage. She also has a well supplied account with another French bank, Credit Lyonais. This bank is also where the petroleum monies of Cameroon were deposited by late Antoine Assoumos under an alias. But now there is a problem between Mr. Adolphe Moudiki the current chair of SNH (National Hydro Carbon Corporation of Cameroon) and professional rogues in the name of Adham and his friend Ndahimi Auchi.
They are battling to claim the loot. The former claims that, he wants the monies because it was that of the company that he is now managing, while the second team (for they are two), also claim that, the lump sum is payment for services rendered to the late manager and the state of Cameroon. If like me, you are angry with the excesses of the second wives of African leaders come and joint the club of protesters.