What happened yesterday, Friday, May 20, 2016, to the President of the Republic at the 20th May Boulevard in Yaounde is not an unprecedented event for the one who presides over the destinies of Cameroon for 34 years.
The news site Cameroon-Info.Net documented at least five cases of car accidents and aircraft that transported the Head of State. If we had to establish a track record, the accident of the official car of Paul Biya that occurred in the afternoon of Sunday, December 17, 2000 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium would be ranked first. That day, the vehicle of Paul Biya failed when he appeared before 50 thousand spectators for the final of the Cup of Cameroon (Victory of Kumbo strickers against Unisport du Haut-Nkam on the score of a goal to nil).
At the handrail, while Paul Biya had focused attention on the awards ceremony, the public from the stands, were gazing with amazement, the elements of the presidential guard push the car to the parking lot of the stadium. But this incredible scene did not make any buzz because internet access was very limited and the use of social networks by Cameroonians was almost nonexistent.
On the contrary, the incident at the 20th May Boulevard in Yaounde, before less than 5 thousand people, is at the top of the charts because, through the magic of the internet, it was broadcasted live. Video and photos of the presidential car are extensively shared on the web.
Between 2000 and 2016, and, apart from two incidents described above, Paul Biya was forced to change cars three times for various reasons. On Sunday, July 12 2015, the Mercedes Maybach S600, in which were the Head of State and his wife, suffered a flat tire in the Mvog Mbi neighborhood in Yaounde, while the presidential couple was en route to Mvomeka’a in the Southern Region. The men in charge of security organized themselves to install Chantal and Biya in another car.
Still on the road to Mvomeka’a (the birthplace of Paul Biya) the presidential car was immobilized one day in February 2010. But the incident that presented the greatest danger to the life of the Head of State is that recorded on April 25, 2004 at the inaugural flight of the albatross, the new aircraft purchased for presidential trips.
Left from Yaounde to Paris, the plane carrying the President and his entourage was forced to turn back and an emergency landing at the Douala International Airport because of a “serious” technical failure. Traumatized by this incident, Paul Biya has never boarded that particular plane again!.