The visiting Secretary-General of the international organisation of La Francophonie, Michaeumllle Jean held talks at State House yesterday, marking the high point of her four-day stay in Yaounde.
Remarks about the warmth of her welcome to Cameroon and the friendliness of the Cameroonian people were very manifest yesterday at State House beginning with the clement weather. The unusual daily rains that have hit Yaounde lately gave way to a bright afternoon, giving the grounds of the presidential facility very special setting for a festive day as yesterday’s. The waterworks at their best, flashing fresh water high into the air while tens of Francophonie white flags with their central ring of five equal strings of blue, green, pink, red and yellow and Cameroon’s green-red-yellow fluttered in the accompanying friendly breeze.
It is in this beautiful setting that Michaeumllle Jean arrived at State House grounds at about 11.50 am. As she stepped out of her limousine, she was greeted by the Chief of State Protocol Simon Pierre Bikele who led her to the Minister-Director of the Civil Cabinet of the President who had taken up position at the entrance to State House. The guest was then led to the third floor office of the President of the Republic for talks which lasted one hour.
After the talks, the Head of State decorated the Number One Francophonie official with the medal of Grand Officer of the National Order of Valour. Then came the State Luncheon two storeys below the President’s office where several guests including the Senate President Marcel Niat Njifenji and the Prime Minister Philemon Yang as well as the Chief Justice and Procureur of the Supreme Court , members of government and of the diplomatic corps, notably from French-speaking countries.
Before the 85 select guests at the luncheon discovered the diversity of the Cameroonian cuisine proposed for the luncheon, President Paul Biya moved a toast in which he acknowledged the sterling qualities of the Francophonie SG as manifested by her track record in the media and later in politics and in humanitarian actions. This, President Biya said had worked favourably for her to be elected as Secretary General by consensus at the November 30, 2014 Francophonie summit of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, Senegal. The President suggested that the Francophonie should not remain locked up, reminding the SG of Cameroon’s membership of other bodies pursuing the same objectives as the Francophonie.
Michaeumllle Jean began her response to the toast with “Mbolo”, a greeting in the President’s Bulu ethnic language, drawing applause from the floor then she went on to thank the President for her medal, insisting on the fact that there was mention of Valour in the citation. She said following a first visit in October 2013, she had now built a firm conviction about the friendliness of the Cameroonian people, particularly citing the warmth of her welcome at Yaounde-Nsimalen and in all the other places she had been to before the State House meeting.
“I am happy to be back in Yaounde… it is a real friend of Cameroon talking to you,” she said in her toast. She also talked of her determination to accompany Cameroon and all other countries in the fight against terrorism and more especially the Boko Haram threat. Before ending her toast, she reserved some kind words for First Lady Chantal, recalling that they first met at the Quebec City Francophonie summit when she was Governor General of Canada. Even from far, she said, she has been following up the activities of Mrs Biya, notably in the fields of female emancipation and the fight against suffering.
She left State House grounds at about 3.30 pm with George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” dominating the air as if to say all was well that ends well.
Source : Cameroon Tribune