During his recent vacation in France, President Paul Biya might have in one night spent nearly twice what the US president spent for a similar purpose in a week, the Standard Tribune can show.
The comparison is likely to make the support for the president on the issue difficult and should stun those turning the debate into a question of patriotism and national pride.
It comes as, more than two weeks after, motions of support continued to pour in for Biya following uproar over what critics called the outrageousness of the cost of the vacation in La Baule.
Supporters countrywide have picked up a line dropped by the communication minister describing critics and unfriendly media reporting on the issue unpatriotic and alleging that shadowy political hawks were stirring the controversy.
In the meantime, there has still been no rebuttal of French media reports that Biya spent a whooping 27.5 million francs a night on hotel bills for himself and about 40 companions - minus other expenses.
US president Barrack Obama's bill for a similar vacation at about the same time puts the issue in perspective and appears to help critics in their arguments that Cameroon cannot afford the president's lavishness.
Out for only a week, the US president stayed in a private estate rented at about 15.5 million francs a week. That makes the entire vacation cost 10 million francs less than Biya's daily lodging bill of 27.5 million francs a night for three weeks.
Obama was accompanied on the trip by his family and a few close relatives and friends, but the Obamas were paying for their share of the estate from their pocket while the US government paid only for security and White House Staff, according to US media reports. Biya's suit was made up of 40 people.
While the cost of the US president's holiday and most other expenses is public information, everything about Biya is top secret and even supporters now singing his praise cannot say for sure how much Biya costs Cameroon annually.
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|Last Updated on Sunday, 22 November 2009 18:13|