Event of firsts, déjà vus
The new Prime Minister, Joseph Dione Ngute appointed on January 4, 2019 shook the hands of the Head of State, yesterday, at Unity Palace for the first time since he became head of government.
Similarly it was the first time the new members of government were wishing President Paul Biya New Year in the traditional annual ceremony. For others, it was a repeat and reply of last year.
Joseph Dione Ngute, also deputy Secretary of Economic Affairs at the Central Committee and the new tenant of the star building clad in a dark blue suit, with a white shirt, navy tie and a pocket square, firmly shook Paul Biya’s hand, who appointed him on January 4, as his 8th prime minister since he took power in 1982. His boss, dressed in a double breasted suit, a white shirt and a sliver tie, smiled at the traditional ruler of the Barombi people in the South West region as he shook hands with the new PM. Dione Ngute who headed the government delegation.
It was a ritual to others and baptism to others. In the past years, Célestine Ketcha Courtés, the former Mayor of Banganté, came in her capacity as a business owner. Today, she came in a radiant pink gown as the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, appointed on January 4, 2018. In the queue of 64 ministers, the new Minister of Health, the young Manaouda Malachie, 45 years old, although a former Secretary General in the Ministry of Trade, had the chance to visit the Unity Palace last year on May 20. But, yesterday, he was part of the ‘big boys league’.
The new Secretary of State in the Ministry of Basic Education, tailed the line of government ministers. Asheri Vivian Kilo, before now technical adviser in the Ministry of Arts and Culture adorned in a traditional pink embroidered gown, otherwise known as ‘kaba’ and black clotch, walked majestically to wish the Head of State, a happy New Year.
Before her, all eyes were fixed on the new Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Justice Jean de Dieux Momo, termed an ‘outsider’ in the January 4, 2018 government. Towering above all the ministers, the ‘unexpected’ choice of the Head of State, dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, reverently greeted the President of the Republic. But he did not bend double like the new Minister of Arts and Culture Bidong Mpkatt, moved from the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education.
Apart from the new faces, the habitual members of the constituted corps were present. The Scribe of the Central Committee Jean Nkuété led the delegation of its members; resident in Yaoundé. It was a long line; a show of strength of the party in power that emerged victorious at the October 7, 2018 presidential race. A win which secured the mandate of “great opportunities” for the National President of the party, Paul Biya.
After shaking hands with the constituted corps, he had exchanges with dignitaries. Jean Nkuété was among the privileged. In less than a minute, the SG kept nodding his head in accordance as words flew from President Biya’s mouth.