A celebratory parade to mark Cameroon’s 44th National Day quickly turned into an embarrassing situation for President Paul Biya on Friday when his official car broke down.
Following a rendition of the national anthem, 83-year-old Biya, who was said to have made a grand entrance onto the ceremonial ground guarded by numerous fierce-looking presidential guards, was about to embark on a motorised review the troops when the incident occurred.
The open-top luxury vehicle, which only minutes earlier had reportedly conveyed the president to the venue, refused to move.
All efforts to restart the car were said to have failed. Amid the embarrassment, the president was then forced to alight to board another limousine.
A 10-second YouTube video and several photographs online, shot by spectators at the event in Yaoundé, the nation’s capital, showed several security operatives sprinting to the black vintage car, which bore the Cameroonian flags, before pushing the car off the parade ground.
Our correspondent observed spectators looking on amusedly as the voice of a military operative continued calling out orders to members of the armed forces who were on parade.
The Cameroon Journal reports that the incident was the second National Day embarrassment Biya had suffered.
According to the online medium, during a state banquet at the Unity Palace on May 20, 1994, while descending the steps leading to the main banquet hall, Biya’s wife, Chantal, in company with the president, missed her steps and crumbled before the attendees and live cameras.
Chantal was making her first public appearance after becoming the First Lady the previous month.