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Faith Nyasuguta 

Supporters are rallying behind Cameroon’s 91-year-old President Paul Biya, urging him to contest the 2025 presidential election and potentially extend his more than four-decade rule. However, opposition voices insist Biya must step down after leading Cameroon for decades.

In Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, several hundred people gathered on Sunday, urging Biya to accept the nomination of the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement (CPDM) party for the 2025 presidential election. Biya founded the CPDM in 1985, succeeding Ahmadou Ahidjo as president in 1982.

During the party’s 39th anniversary celebrations, CPDM officials organized rallies nationwide, emphasizing Biya’s leadership qualities and advocating for his candidacy in the upcoming election. Senior CPDM official Fru Jonathan described Biya as the party’s natural choice, citing peace, unity, and economic growth under his tenure.

Jonathan emphasized Biya’s strength and health, asserting, “You don’t change a winning team.” He challenged potential contenders to come forward, confident that none could surpass Biya’s leadership. However, Biya himself has not confirmed his candidacy.

Biya’s supporters highlight his achievements, including infrastructure development, electrification, and education and healthcare investments. Nevertheless, the opposition and civil society criticize his administration for alleged corruption and economic mismanagement, with Transparency International ranking Cameroon as highly corrupt during Biya’s tenure.

Opposition parliamentarian Cabral Libii, from the Party for National Reconciliation, argues that Biya’s prolonged rule has led to economic stagnation, curtailed freedoms, and unrest, particularly in English-speaking regions. He contends that Cameroon needs dynamic, youthful leadership to address its challenges.

President Paul Biya /VOA/

Libii asserts that opposition forces are mobilizing to present a candidate capable of defeating Biya, portraying him as elderly and out of touch with the country’s needs. Despite Biya’s longevity in power, his critics question the legitimacy of past elections, alleging fraud.

At 91, Biya ranks as the world’s oldest leader and the second-longest-serving president globally. While his party claims electoral victories, the opposition disputes these outcomes, citing electoral irregularities.

The debate over Biya’s continued leadership shines light on deep divisions within Cameroonian society, with supporters advocating continuity and opponents calling for change. As the nation prepares for the 2025 presidential election, the question of Biya’s candidacy looms large, shaping the political landscape of Cameroon for years to come.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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