wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09YAOUNDE591 2009-07-02 08:43:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Yaounde
Cable title:  

(C) CAMEROON: PM AND CORRUPT MINDEF REMOVED IN

Tags:   CM PGOV PINR PREL KCOR KDEM 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4719
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHYD #0591/01 1830843
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 020843Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0060
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 YAOUNDE 000591 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2019
TAGS: CM PGOV PINR PREL KCOR KDEM
SUBJECT: (C) CAMEROON: PM AND CORRUPT MINDEF REMOVED IN
CABINET SHUFFLE, OTHERWISE SAME OLD, NEW OLD

REF: A. YAOUNDE 431

B. YAOUNDE 370

Classified By: Poloff Heather Watson-Ayala for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (U) Summary. In a June 30 cabinet shuffle, President Biya
appointed Philemon Yang, a senior official in the Presidency
and former diplomat, to be his Prime Minister and dismissed
Defense Minister Remy Ze Meka, whose grand-scale corruption
made him persona non grata in the U.S. Otherwise, the
shuffle was notable for what it was not--a bold move with new
policy direction--as for what it was: a moderate revision of
the cabinet in favor of Biya loyalists, likely in preparation
for upcoming battles, including presidential elections slated
for 2011 and Biya's own succession. Regional diversity was
maintained, and the shuffle was accepted calmly. Para 6
details the changes. Post will transmit more robust analysis
and full biographical data septel. End summary.

Headline: Ze Meka Dismissed
Byline: Status Quo Maintained


--------------------------





2. (C) Political pundits, including senior government
officials, had been speculating for more than 12 months about
Biya's intentions to change his cabinet. President Biya had
told the Ambassador that he intended to reduce the size of
cabinet and clear out problematic ministers, especially
Defense Minister Remy Ze Meka, whose corruption and
mismanagement earned him the distinction of being the first
sitting Minister of Defense to be found ineligible to enter
the U.S. for acts of corruption. In the event, Biya actually
added at least two ministerial portfolios to his cabinet, and
made no changes in the economic and commercial ministries.
Aside from Ze Meka's dismissal and the change of Prime
Minister, the shuffle is noteworthy mainly because it largely
maintained the status quo, and in fact reinforced Biya's team
with time-worn loyalists. Regional diversity in the cabinet
continued, and an additional slot added a female minister.

Out with the Old, In with the Old?


--------------------------





3. (C) Many of the new cabinet members have already served
as Ministers within Biya's government, so the cabinet
includes many old faces. Many observers were surprised to
learn Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, the former Minister of
Communication alleged to have pocketed hundreds of thousands
of dollars during the Pope's Cameroon visit in March, was not
only maintained in government, but promoted to Minister of
Post and Telecommunication, where he will control more
resources. Issa Tchiroma Bakary, a one-time opposition
leader who served as Transport Minister in the 1990s, was
tapped to be the new Minister of Communication. Energy
Minister Sindeu was likely replaced as a result of stalled
progress on the government's development agenda. Martin
Belinga Eboutou, formerly Cameroon's Ambassador to the United
Nations and a fierce defender of Biya's own Beti/Bulu ethnic
group, was appointed Head of the Civil Cabinet.

Comment: Circling the Wagons?


--------------------------





4. (C) Ze Meka's removal augurs well for a host of USG
objectives, especially for regional security and governance.
Cameroonian elites nicknamed Ze Meka "Bad Boy" because of his
brashness, and his corruption was more than simple robbery;
Ze Meka's shenanigans were serious enough to undermine the
nation's security, and Biya's decision to remove him could
not have been taken lightly, not least because Ze Meka hails
from Biya's own Bulu clan, which already feels under siege by
the President's anti-corruption efforts. As relieved as we
are to see Ze Meka depart, we are dismayed by Inoni's
departure. Cognizant of allegations about Inoni's own
corruption, we were nonetheless appreciative of his sincere
and tireless efforts to tackle the Cameroonian bureaucracy
and advocate a progressive political and economic agenda.

Comment (cont): Hope for Improved
Cooperation on Security


--------------------------





5. (C) Biya's decision to replace Re Meka with Edgard Alain
Mebe Ngo,o bodes well for our engagement with Cameroonian
security forces, especially the Batallion D,Intervention
Rapide (BIR). Mebe Ngo'o, who served as Chief of Biya's
Civil Cabinet and more recently as the Chief of the National
Police (DGSN), is also from the Bulu tribe, and he has a

YAOUNDE 00000591 002 OF 002


positive track record with the BIR, who were at dagger's
drawn with Ze Meka, largely over the latter's corruption. As
DGSN, Mebe Ngo,o worked closely with retired Israeli Colonel
Avi Sivan, Biya,s military advisor and the god-father of the
BIR, so there is reason to believe they will collaborate to
foster closer cooperation between the BIR and the regular
Cameroonian Military. End comment.



6. (U) Following is a list of the changes announced on June


30.

Incoming Cabinet Appointees


--------------------------



Philemon Yang, Prime Minister, Head of Government

Bello Bouba Maigari, Minister of State, Minister of Transports

Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo'o, Minister Delegate at the Presidency,
in charge of Defense

Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, Minister of Posts and
Telecommunication

Jean-Baptiste Beleoken, Minister of Government Property and
Land Tenure

Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication

Marie Therese Abena Ondoa nee Obama Marie-Therese, Minister
of Women's Empowerment and the Family

Alim Youddouf nee Adidja Alim, Minister of Basic Education

Michael Ngako Tomdio, Minister of Water and Energy

Michel Zoa, Minister of Sports and Physical Training

Clementine Antoinette Ananga Messina nee Beyene, Minister
Delegate to the Minister of Agriculture

Rene Sadi, Minister in Charge of Special Duties at the
Presidency

Mounouna Foutsou, Secretary of State to the Minister of
Secondary Education


Outgoing Cabinet Appointees


--------------------------



Chief Ephraim Inoni, Prime Minister, Head of Government

Gounoko Haounaye, Minister of State, Minister of Transports

Remy Ze Meka, Minister Delegate at the Presidency, in charge
of Defense

Bello Bouba Maigari, Minister of Posts and Telecommunication
(change of portfolio)

Pascal Anong Adibime, Minister of Government Property and
Land Tenure

Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, Minister of Communication
(change of portfolio)

Suzanne Mbomback, Minister of Women's Empowerment and the
Family

Haman Adama, Minister of Basic Education

Jean Bernard Sindeu, Minister of Water and Energy

Augustin Edjao, Minister of Sports and Physical Training

Philemon Yang, Minister, Assistant Secretary General to the
Presidency (change of portfolio)

Catherine Abena, Secretary of State to the Minister of
Secondary Education
GARVEY