President Biya and his wife Chantal returned to Cameroon on April 13, more than 20 days after an official visit to Italy.
Some citizens say the presidential couple and their entourage only returned to the country to avert an embarrassment a Cameroonian diaspora pressure prepared for them at the luxurious Intercontinental Hotel in Switzerland. Others argue President Biya and his wife who visited the Pope at the Vatican on March 23, returned to celebrate Easter Sunday at home.
They left Yaounde since Sunday March 19 for a state visit to Italy. They were hosted by the Italian president from Monday March 20 to Wednesday March 22. At the end of the official visit, the Head of State, his wife and children travelled to the Vatican on Thursday March 23 to visit Pope Francis.
The presidential family left Italy same Thursday to an unannounced destination. Cameroonians only learnt about the President’s whereabouts after the Movement of Democratic Organizations and the Cameroonian Diaspora, commonly known by the acronym CODE, began mounting pressure on him to return to Cameroon. The pressure group issued an ultimatum on April 4, for the president and his suite to leave the Intercontinental Hotel in Switzerland within seven days.
The Ultimatum was signed by Brice Nintcheu, leader of the Movement and other members. They accused the president of spending colossal amounts of money on his private stay, at a time players of the National Football team on official business are being denied food in Brussels for unpaid hotel bills.
They also asked the president to “stop wasting taxpayers’ money, return home and solve the Anglophone problem and handle the protest of teachers who have not been paid salaries for 60 months.
Worthy of note is the fact that the CODE has, on more than one occasion, prevented Biya from enjoying himself in Europe. The leaders have stormed the hotel on different occasions, with loud speakers, coffins, and honking cars to demand the Cameroonian Head of State be thrown out of the Hotel. To them, the president runs away from the misery “he has created in Cameroon” and seeks comfort in a foreign land.
This time around, they promised to carry out actions both inside and outside the hotel if the President continued to stay therein after the deadline of the Ultimatum. The President left the Hotel on the deadline set by the pressure group.