“I do so swear”. These words might seem simple but out of the ordinary. As President Paul Biya lifted his right hand in front of the National Assembly on November 6, 2018, and pronounces these words before the Cameroonian people, one could highly deduce the heavy responsibilities that is entrenched in this symbolic oath taking of just four but meaningful words.
It is an instance the holder of the Supreme State Magistracy pledged to absolutely pay loyalty to institutions of the Republic and his personal commitment to perform the duties of the Head of State as spelt out by the Constitution, for the wellbeing of all Cameroonians. November 6, 2018, is very special in the political history of Cameroon; Parliament for the very first time met in Congress, this happens to have accord with the 2018 swearing-in ceremony that in itself coincided with the anniversary of Presidents Biya’s entry into the Supreme State Magistracy in 1982.
Addressing security issues will for sure be one of the main challenges of this seven-year term. Section 8 of the Constitution confers the title and powers of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to the President of the Republic. It is in this capacity that President Paul Biya rooted his strategy in “Popular Defence”. A plan of action that since 1982 confined the Defence Forces to protect and defend the national integrity of the country, ensure the safety of persons and their goods as well as the respect of alliances and treaties to which Cameroon is a signatory. A mission the Defence Forces have unequivocally and relentlessly executed with honour and loyalty.
The contemporary world has brought forth ever changing security challenges, encapsulated in asymmetric threats. In the Far North Region, Cameroon prides itself in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, though still on alert. In the Littoral waters, the country’s security apparatus reduced piracy to its barest minimum, so did it deal with rebels that perpetrated high crime wave in the East Region. At the moment, the Defence Forces are grappling with the fight against terrorism in the restive South West and North West Regions. The security architecture erected by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces since his ascension to power, had enabled the institution to preserve peace and meet up modern challenges. The 2001 reforms engrained in professionalization, rejuvenation and equipping of the Forces, acquisition of up-to-date military paraphernalia and mutual multilateral Military Corporation are ongoing.
Another seven years at the head of the Ministry of Defence, is another episode to encourage his troops to continue to consolidate peace, engage in legitimate combat against terrorism and simultaneously respecting the rules of engagement and International Human Rights. It is another seven years of honour and loyalty, abnegation, and patriotic allegiance to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.