Cameroon’s Minister of Communications Issa Tchiroma is living through very anxious moments today.The man known for defending the undefendable, is fighting with his back to the wall thanks to the revelation from Marafa in one of his letters that as Transport Minister he took very serious kickbacks from a South African Company charged with serving CAMAIR Planes. The insinuation from Marafa is that the kickbacks compromised the quality of services rendered by this company and may have had a direct relation to the crash of the Nyong in 1995. Instead of providing hard facts to debunk the charges levied by Marafa, Tchiroma’s strategy has been to cast doubts on the integrity and motives of his erstwhile colleague in government and fellow northerner. To make matters worse for Minister Tchiroma, former CPDM baron Chief Mila Assoute strongly corroborated the charges of Marafa. If Tchiroma is counting on friends and allies to defend him in his hour of need he may not find few. It is a fact that many in the ruling CPDM donot trust him, it is a fact that he has made more enemies than friends within the press corps, within the opposition Tchiroma is a nonentity, and even within his own party, his own militants , known to be a handful have urged him to resign in the wake of the “Marafaleaks” . The Communications Minister is lonely,very “eperviable” and indeed nemesis may be catching up with him.But how did the man get here?
A casualty of the 1984 aborted coup, the cadre of the defunct National Railway Cooperation,Regifercam was in jail until the amnesty granted in the early 90s by President Biya. Tchiroma joined the National Union of Progress and Democracy viewed at the time as a regrouping of former Ahidjo loyalists. With Bello Bouba on exile in Nigeria, Tchiroma was one of the cadres who led the UNDP with then Chairman Samuel Eboua. First major intrigue from Tchiroma, he joined the mutiny that upstaged Samuel Eboua in a most unceremonious fashion. That mutiny took the shine off the enterprising UNDP brand. It cast Bello in bad light, and Tchiroma was one of the leading actors of that show of shame.
Second major intrigue, Tchiroma surreptiously joins the government alongside Hamadou Moustapha without the backing of the party. Appeals from the UNDP rank and file for them to shun the appointment fall on deaf ears and Tchiroma joins the government as Minister of Communication. It turns out that it is while serving as transport minister then that Tchiroma got his share of the loot that is now an open secret and may eventually end his political career. Dismissed from the UNDP, Minister Tchiroma starts the ANDP with Marafa Hamidou Yaya.The party did not do well in the parliamentary elections of 1997.
Booted out of government,Marafa wonders around with dwindling political fortunes till about 2002 or so when he uses the opportunity of the famous memo from the Grand North to stage a come back. The memorandum from the Grand North, listed a number of grievances of the people from that geographical area.It jolted the regime and created a kind of shock wave akin to what the Marafa leaks are doing today.Alongside Antar Gassagay, and Hamadou Moustapha, Tchiroma ever the opportunist exploited the moment and became a leading figure in the coalition of opposition parties that set out to challenge Biya for the 2004 elections.
The Coalition of 2004 turned out to be another pathetic performance by the Cameroon opposition.Rallies were held in all ten provinces by these leaders preaching unity and a new vision for Cameroon, demonstrations were held across the country, and because of egos, the party could not settle on a single candidate to challenge President Biya. Tchiroma who had all along been with his opposition comrades, endorsed Biya. It is in reward of this that Mr Tchiroma was recalled to government as Minister of Communication.This after he left the ANDP and created his own party
He lacks the subtle sophistication of Kounchou Kuomegni. He heas defended the undefendeable for the regime in very crude ways. With tensions high over the death of Journalist Bibi Ngota, Tchiroma declared that he died of Aids. On the theft of Venessa Tchouta’s baby, Tchiroma turned clumsiness to an art. Most recently he tried to dabble in the Marafa saga before one of the letters humbled him.
So where has Minister Marafa belonged?
Where is his political ideology? Is he of the UNDP, the ANDP or the party he created later? Whose vision does he work towards , how comes he defends President Biya with greater vigor than when he was in the opposition?So it is all Tchiroma and not Cameroon? He is the poster child of politicians whose sole aid is a seat at the table. Rain curses when you are out of government and defend it with unbridled zealousness when called to government.
Ever wonder why Cameroonians are so frustrated with politics and its actors? It is in part thanks to folks like Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma . People who have no scruples, people who have no morales, people who will betray militants ,followers or comrades at the drop of a hat when a political appointment comes along. With all the nasty things he said about Biya while he was n the UNDP in the early 90s and later with the memo from the grand North in 2004,Tchiroma should have seen the humiliation coming when he was appointed to be the Chief Praise singer for the President. A man who takes his time to get at real and perceived enemies, will Biya pass by the opportunity to humiliate and humble Tchiroma even further? Should he be booted out, will he ever have the courage to consider himself an opposition figure? Should he go ,it will be nothing but good riddance to bad rubbish. He represents the worse in a generation of leaders that has been more of a curse than a blessing to the country.But for the humor, few will certainly miss Mr Tchiroma