Sit-Tight Leadership: President Paul Biya Of Cameroon Set To Extend His 36-Year Rule
President of Cameroon Paul Biya who has been in power since 6 November 1982 is seeking his seventh term in office.
Cameroon’s electoral body, ELECAM, had on Tuesday cleared the 85-year-old and eight other candidates to run for the presidential polls slated for October 7, 2018.
Over twenty candidates had filed their candidacy to contest for the highest political seat of the land, but ELECAM disqualified all remaining nine candidates, while one candidate is said to have withdrawn his candidacy.
Biya who leads the ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM), will have to defeat his major contenders Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) and lawyer Akere Muna – a former head of the country’s bar association.
Recall Biya had in July declared his intention to run for the forthcoming October presidential election of the country.
“Dear Compatriots in Cameroon & the Diaspora, Aware of the challenges we must take up together to ensure a more united, stable & prosperous Cameroon, I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as Your Candidate in the upcoming presidential election.” Biya had wrote on his tweeter handle while declaring his interest to extend his rule.
Biya’s popularity in the central African country have continually plunged as a result of the activities of the pro-independence groups under the banner of ‘Ambazonia Republic’ largely from the Anglophone regions of the country, who claims that Biya’s backed military was perpetrating genocide in southern Cameroon.
Also, the activities of Boko Haram jihadists in northern Cameroon who have continually wreak havoc in towns and villages bordering Nigeria, have largely created concerns amongst its populace, with some people calling for the end of reign of President Biya.
The United Nations had in its reports said that some 92 pre-schools and primary schools in northern Cameroon have been forced to close over the past four years.
On the fight against corruption, his critics say he uses corruption to go after political opponents, with arrests of scores of Biya’s former colleagues, including former Prime Minister Inoni Ephraim.
Also recall that the 2015 Transparency International report labeled Cameroon as one of the most corrupt African nations, alongside Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa.
The October 7 vote is seen as a stern test for the incumbent who has often won elections with huge margins.
Other Sit Tight Leaders in Africa:
President Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea
Of Africa’s living rulers, only Equatorial Guinea’s 76-yar-old President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has ruled for longer for 39 years – he ascended to power in August 3, 1979.
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is currently the third longest-ruling African president, he has been President of the East-African country since a military takeover on 26 January 1986 – 32 years ago.
The 73-year-old is the leader of the ruling NRM Party and was democratically elected as President in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan
74-year-old Omar al-Bashir is seventh president of Sudan and head of the National Congress Party. He was a Sudanese military officer who led a revolt that overthrew the elected government of Sudan in 1989.
He became chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, which ruled the country. Bashir dissolved the parliament, banned political parties, and strictly controlled the press.
In October 1993 the Revolutionary Council was disbanded, Bashir was appointed president of Sudan and was in 2010 was re-elected into office, in the country’s first multi-party presidential poll in 24 years.
President Idriss Déby of Chad
Idriss Déby has been the President of Chad since 1990 – (28 years ago). He took power at the head of a rebellion against President Hissène Habré in December 1990 and has since survived various rebellions against his own rule.
He won elections in 1996 and 2001, and after term limits were eliminated he won again in 2006, 2011, and 2016.
Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea
Isaias Afwerki who is now 72 is the first President of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence in 1993.
After independency, Isaias gradually consolidated his power over virtually every aspect of Eritrean life, serving additionally as commander in chief of the army and as chairman of the country’s sole political party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), as the EPLF renamed itself in 1994.
He canceled the 1997 presidential elections, and in 2001 he virtually closed the national press. That same year he had several prominent opposition leaders arrested and charged with treason.
Paul Kagame of Rwanda
Paul Kagame is currently the President of Rwanda, he led the Rwandan Patriot Front that defeated Hutu extremist forces to end the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In 2000 he became president of Rwanda.
In a referendum held in 2015, voters approved amendments to the constitution that would allow Kagame to serve a third seven-year term; in addition, he would be eligible to serve two five-year terms after that, giving him the potential to hold the office until 2034.
He won reelection in the August 4, 2017, poll, taking more than 98 percent of the vote in a landslide victory against the other two presidential candidates.