'World’s Worst Dictators': Biya to Break Robert Mugabe's Record

Should he win another mandate, President Paul Biya will be 92 by the time the tenure ends in 2025. 

Biya, who grudgingly accepted the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s, repealed the term limits in 2008. 

He has ranked near the top in almost every list of the “World’s Worst Dictators” that has been published since 2005.

Political pundits say Cameroon had made more political losses than gains under the 36-year leadership of President Biya. The leader inherited a stable, united and prosperous Cameroon in 1982, but the country dropped from a middle income to a low income economy today.

Cameroon has a one-round presidential election system where a candidate only has to garner the most number of votes to be declared winner. No percentage threshold exists.
Paul Biya Set Break Mugabe Record 

In most African countries that practice the one-round electoral system, incumbents have always emerged victorious. Such a systems, some Cameroonians claim, had contributed to President Biya’s over three decades stay at the helm.

Tongues have been wagging that President Biya was too old to run, but the constitution does not make any provision for that. His supporters, on their part, are argue that at his age, and with his experience, he had exceptional mettle and values, which give him a considerable head-start vis-à-vis other contenders, to handle the challenges the Cameroon was facing.

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is poised to win a seventh term of office come October 7, which will see him extend his 36 years rule and become a life president. Like in 2011, the 85-year-old president said his decision to run again was a nod to overwhelming calls for him to do so. His supporters already see victory for the incumbent.

Higher Education minister and the communication secretary for the governing Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM), Prof Jacques Fame Ndongo, said the incumbent will “win the election in all transparency”. Prof Ndongo reckons that President Biya remains the best choice for Cameroon because he respects republican institutions.

To the CPDM members, many of who hold hold key government positions, President Biya is indispensable and his succession is considered a taboo topic within government and the political party circles.

In April 2016, some opposition party militants, including the 2011 presidential candidate, Ms Edith Kah Walla, were arrested and detained in Yaoundé for protesting against Biya’s long stay in power and persistent brutality against voices opposed to his attempt to be “president for life”

Though President Biya has always been elected, critics say he was an illegitimate leader. Their arguments were a legion and one of them was that a president elected by less than five million people in a country with over 20 million inhabitants was not legitimate.

In 2011 for example, President Biya won the election with just 3,772,527 votes. The 2018 presidential election comes at a time Cameroon was faced with several challenges including a separatist movement in its two English speaking Northwest and Southwest regions. 

Anglophone separatist activists who have been clamouring for secession and the creation of the Republic of Ambazonia, have warned that they would not allow any election organised by the Yaoundé regime to take place in “their country”.

But Abdoul Karimou, the deputy Director General of Elections at the Cameroon poll agency, ELECAM said they would organise the vote in the regions “but ensuring security is the responsibility of the state”.

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