Cameroon: Unity Place - Ceremony Full of Symbolism

Cameroon President Paul Biya and his wife Chantal return to Yaounde after an election campaign visit to Maroua on 29 September 2018.

Heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations in Cameroon and members of the national dignitaries honoured President Biya yesterday.

Precision, brevity, and solemnity marked the event at the Unity Palace yesterday 6 November, 2018 that saw the Head of State, Paul Biya presented with the insignia of the Grand Master of the National Orders, honours from the diplomatic corps and national dignitaries. Taking place at the Ambassador's Hall, the event started with officials received at 1:50 p.m. while the Head of State and wife Chantal Biya, just back from taking the oath of office at the National Assembly, appeared at the Unity Palace Hall at 2 p.m. to kick-start the ceremony.

Speaking in front of the members of the Parliamentary Bureau, led by the Speaker of the National Assembly Cavaye Yengui Djibril and the Senior Vice President of the Senate, Senator Boubakari Abdoulaye, members of the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Court under the leadership of Clement Atangana and Daniel Mekobe Sone respectively as well as Cabinet Ministers led by Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, the Grand Chancellor of the National Orders, Peter Mafany Musonge took the floor. In a short phrase he said how elated he was to present to President Biya the insignia of the Grand Master of the National Orders.

In all seriousness, Mr Biya put on the insignia to the admiration of First Lady, Chantal Biya who could not resist congratulating the Head of State once the national symbol was well in place on her husband. A unanimous applause from the dignitaries present marked a sign of approval to the Head of State, Paul Biya as he begins the seventh seven-year term. His brief departure from the hall gave room for heads of diplomatic missions in Cameroon and international organizations to take their place for the presentation of honours to the newly sworn-in President of the Republic of Cameroon.

Just a few minutes before 3 p.m. the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Cameroon, Gabonese Ambassador, Jean Pierre Biffot led the foreign diplomats present at the Presidency to have a handshake with President Paul Biya as a sign of recognition for the renewed confidence bestowed in him by Cameroonians through the institutions of the Republic. As the diplomats filed past, they could be seen wishing the Head of State success and congratulations in his new mandate. Some took time off to have a few words of discussion with their host before quickly leaving the Unity Palace to return for the evening banquet.

The same serenity was evident when the various segments of national dignitaries came up for the same ritual. Besides those who hold high posts of responsibility, there were national icons represented by ace footballer, Samuel Eto'o Fils. He joined the hundreds of officials grouped in some 33 delegations to shake hands with the Head of State and by exactly 15:56 p.m. all guests at the Unity Palace had to look for their way home as the ceremony ended with the departure of President Paul Biya.

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