On Thursday July 13th 20178 in an unusual way and in the most unlikely of places, the ageing but social media friendly Biya took to the twitter to announce his candidature for the forthcoming Presidential elections to be held in October 7th 2018
In his announcement, the country’s media shy president pinned his decision on what he describes as “overwhelming calls” from his militants to stand and make the country more “prosperous, stable and united”.
“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|” he wrote on his twitter feed.
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 pic.twitter.com/6oldKFYWak
— President Paul BIYA (@PR_Paul_BIYA) July 13, 2018
The blistering announcement quickly made headline news on different social media platforms even when critics try to snub the news as no event.
His supporters who have been clamoring for the 86 years old to run again for yet another 7 years mandate despite being in power for since 1982 went to the state of ecstasy as if to say their party cannot simply survive without its founder and national chairman.
Many of his die-hard supporters had issued multiple motions of support in the past, calling on the commander in chief and Cameroon’s second and longest serving President whom they say is their “natural candidate” to run again as they say he holds the key to the country’s stability even though realities on the ground says otherwise.
Changing political landscape
The political landscape in the country is like never before, while Boko Haram terrorists group still struggle albeit with little success to make their impact felt in the far north region of the country with isolated attacks, Anglophone secessionist groups have surge, pickup arms and are engaging the government in multiple fronts in a war many now say the state is losing on the ground and within diplomatic circles.
Many areas in the English speaking regions of Cameroon is simply ungovernable as secessionist promised months back, and even major towns and cities where many had believed where beyond the reach of poorly equipped separatists forces who heavily relied on their mystical bullet proof charms now says it’s now a matter of time as recent gun battles in Buea and other major towns have sent shock and disbelieve in the minds of many.
The government is yet to define a clear strategy as it characteristically looked locked in its confusion and corruption in ways to end the two years old crisis which was started by lawyers and teachers.
The President of the republic is yet to visit any of the affected regions despite the number of deaths recorded, entire villages burnt and historical human rights violations according to Amnesty International.
Right groups have condemned the government’s approach in handling the crisis, with International crisis Group warning of impending civil war should the Biya government not change course while some foreign governments have called for unconditional dialogue to resolve the conflict even though fighting intensifies, and many more continue to die as the clock ticks every second.
No vote in Anglophone regions, no problem
By announcing his candidature, the presidential race is now set and many now wonder if there is need for another election which has always been dominated by the ruling party and with this one sure to be won by the man in charge after having filled the election management board, ELECAM and constitutional council, two bodies charged affairs of the election with his loyalists through decrees
Cameroon’s chief opposition party the SDF is relying on 51 years old Joshua Osih to do what his political godfather and party founder Ni John Fru Ndi failed to do in 18 years which is to topple President Biya from power while Akere Muna, son of former political heavyweight and one time Biya ally is also hoping his intentional recognition and glory can help propel him to wonderland.
But many will call their ambitions wishful thinking as the ruling CPDM is all but sure to win yet another humiliating landslide which makes mockery of Cameroon’s democracy and rubbishes the country opposition.
The opposition best bet is the aggrieved Anglophone regions who have been crying of marginalization and systemic discrimination and government inactions have plunge the regions into a nightmare and the electorates there remain the opposition’s best bet but are unlikely to vote due to security concerns.
The government will assure all of maximum security but how reliable can these security guarantees be when recent spate of events have shown cracks within the state security apparatus to effectively ensure all citizens are protected especially during days like October 7.
Activists have called on opposition party to boycott the race and force the government to dialogue with the people rather than give the President legitimacy by contesting in the forthcoming Presidential election, call which fr now have been snubbed by those running for the supreme office of the land
Secessionist forces who have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they have the means and the resources to stop elections in the entire Anglophone regions have warned of grave consequences should the announced election takes place in “their land” and the months ahead looks troubling for many I these areas who are already suffering due to fighting.
The politicians seem to be betting on the other 8 regions or what is left of it considering Boko haram looming presence in the far North and they are confident they can go along without North west and south West regions.