On the fiftieth anniversary of the end of federalism, on Friday, May 20, Cameroonian Prime Minister Paul Biya led a civilian and military parade in the capital, Yaoundé. This traditional parade, which had not taken place in three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lasted only an hour and a half.
With our special correspondent in Yaoundé, Amelie Tulet
Paul Biya, 89, was present at the ceremonies on May 20. Cameroon’s president and commander of the army for almost 40 years attended its first public event since the end of African Cup of Nations, in early February. He returned to the country this week after five days in Europe“for a short private stay” according to the official terms.
From the Etoudi Palace to the Boulevard du 20 mai, in Yaoundé, the journey of the president’s car procession from the sky was filmed and broadcast on national television. The car driving Paul Biya was escorted by an impressive collection of presidential guards.
Standing in front of the flag, the head of state then climbed back into the car with an open roof for a tour of the troops, before settling down on the official platform with the first lady. While the couple watched the military parade standing, Chantal Biya, flamboyant hairstyle and pink dress, repeatedly placed her hand on her husband’s forearm.
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The parade was opened by a division of the Congo-Brazzaville Army. This is the fourth time that a contingent from this neighboring country has participated in the parade on 20 May. After the soldiers, it was the civilian population’s turn to take the boulevard, in the pouring rain of the season. Among the parties represented in the assembly, on the opposition side, members of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) marched with their hands on their heads, in protest. As for the CPDM, the majority party, its activists sang in honor of Paul Biya.
The parade for this fiftieth anniversary of National Unity Day ended in less than an hour and a half. The president returned to his vehicle, this time with his wife. The president’s car procession went and the pressure subsided. The soldiers, happy to have paraded, stepped back into the covered vehicles and sang.