Almost every noon, the former university professor goes through the same ritual. Jean-Claude Ayem leaves the office he occupies in the building of the general secretariat of the presidency, a stone’s throw from the Etoudi palace, on the hill from same name. Past the security checkpoints of the presidential security department and the presidential guard, he takes the road to the Mont-Fébé hotel. A few minutes later, after walking the path leading to the establishment and its municipal golf course, he is seated at his lunch table, in the company of a close friend.
President Paul Biya’s technical adviser can sometimes come across illustrious state clerks in activity or at the retirement, who have also kept their habits in this high place of Cameroonian politics. Some greet him, but few allow themselves to interrupt him. Jean-Claude Ayem likes to have peaceful lunches before heading back to Etoudi and plunging back into the country’s major economic issues. The ritual is immutable and the man cannot be ignored. The president even “authorized” this almost septuagenarian to override the official retirement age, now set at 60 ans.
Cameroon: Mont-Fébé, the other hill of power