Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has announced that he will be a candidate in the 7 October presidential election that would, if he wins, extend his 35-year-rule.
Mr Biya tweeted in French and in English: “I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as your candidate in the upcoming presidential election.”
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 85-year-old leader has been in power since 1982, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
Under his rule, Cameroon has survived an economic crisis and moved from being a one-party state to multiparty politics.
But it has also been marked by endemic corruption and reversal of democratic gains, leading to the abolition of term limits in 2008, which allowed the octogenarian to run for re-election in 2011.
The country is currently going through a period of strife sparked by calls for a breakaway state by residents of the English-speaking regions, who say they are discriminated against by the francophone majority.
Mr Biya’s government has responded with force, sparking deadly clashes with secessionist militias in the Anglophone North-West and South-West regions.
The BBC’s investigative unit – Africa Eye – found evidence of torture and abuse by both sides in the conflict.