On November 6 2018 President Paul Biya of Cameroon, will celebrate his 36 years of presidency.
According to his website Général Valsero “sees himself as a political rapper, who attacks and denounces the way the president Paul Biya runs his country, Cameroon”. This description is accurate when analyzing the lyrics and the video of rap song “Motion de soutien”.
In his protest song, “Motion de soutien” released in 2016, Général Valsero does an assessment of 33 years of presidency of Cameroon second president since independence in 1960, Paul Biya.
The title of the song plays with the word “motion”, which usually refers to motion of censure when an assembly does not approve a new elected official. Yet “Motion de soutien” is an ironic title since Valsero is using his art to voice the disappointment of the Cameroonian population regarding the politics of the president in office.
It is not the first time that Général Valsero attacks the government in power. In his 2012 song “Rends-moi Mes Droits”, the young rapper already expressed his frustration about the denial of human rights in Cameroon. In “Motion de soutien” Valsero appears as more pessimistic and hopeless about possible change. He is also more daring as he is calling the president by “tu” a familiar way to speak to the State representative in French. He is repeating the number of years, 33, since president Biya has constantly “drowned young Cameroonians’ ambitions” and has repeatedly “assaulted and raped” his people. The rapper addresses the issue of economic corruption, with Chinese investors arriving in the country, and the issue of luxurious life of a president when his people are living in misery. He is also referring to the question of migration by young disillusioned Cameroonians.
The same disenchantment can be heard in a very sad chorus where the rapper gives up and hands the country to the president. There is no more hope. He rather leaves and migrate to Europe, which he knows is a dangerous escapade but it’s better to be in the “middle of the ocean full of sharks”.
“Tu veux garder le Cameroun pour toi, Ok on te le laisse
Oui vas-y prends-le et si tu veux, étouffe-toi avec
On préfère prendre la mer et mourir parmi les poissons
Y’a plus de chance de s’en sortir, au milieu des requins”
“You can keep Cameroon for yourself, We give it to you
Take it if you want, choke on with your country
We better sail away and die among fishes
There is more chance to get through this, in the middle of sharks”
The video translates the same sadness with images of slums, of young people trying to cross borders and to migrate in dangerous conditions, as well as images of strikes and scenes of bloody repressions.
One thing is certain, Valsero also knows that Biya will fall one day. One day will come that the stranglehold of the president will stop and Paul Biya will “pay his bill”.
Waiting for this day, Général Valsero continues to highlight consciences about authoritarian regime in Cameroon.