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Presidential Elections: Biya Heeds ‘The People’s Call’ 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Incumbent President Paul Biya has declared his candidacy for the October 7 Presidential election.
Following the declaration on Friday, at 10.00am, the Secretary-General of the ruling CPDM party, Jean Nkuete, tabled his party candidate’s file at the head office of Elections Cameroon, ELECAM, at 3.00pm.

“Dear compatriots in Cameroon and in the Diaspora, aware of the challenges we must face together to ensure a more united, stable and prosperous Cameroon, I am willing to respond positively to your overwhelming calls. I will stand as your candidate in the upcoming Presidential election,” the President said in a terse message onTwitter.

The declaration was a positive reaction to an avalanche of motions of support that called on him to join the race for his succession at the Etoudi power house. The call by the President’s supporters is known as “the people’s call”, a ritual that began in the build-up to the 2011 Presidential election.

By heeding the people’s call, Biya, 85, equally ignored calls from some Cameroonians at home and in the Diaspora for him to relinquish power. Many observers, including civil society activists, political figures as well as some critics, called on him not to run for the upcoming election.

President Biya simply ignored them and rather listened to the music of his supporters. His declaration provoked an overflow of reactions from various stakeholders. The national and international media treated it as a scoop. Biya’s supporters received his acceptance to be candidate with gusto.

Despite excoriations as to claims that the Anglophone Crisis has been poorly handled by the Biya regime, some of his supporters said only President Biya has the managerial stamina to arrest the imbroglio. Going by a varsity don, Prof. Claude Abe; the Anglophone Crisis is so much of a delicate issue whose solution cannot be allowed in the hands of a new President who would be learning to master how to manage such national problems

The Secretary-General of the UPC, Pierrre Baleguel, said his party was ready to support President Biya who he said is the best candidate in the upcoming election.

Reacting on behalf of the National Salvation Front, Issa Tchiroma Bakari, said President Biya is the only person that can get Cameroon out of the current crisis. He said the fact that President Biya declared his candidacy, on Twitter, is evidence that he is the man of the times.

Celestin Bedzigui of the PAP, said it is wise for Cameroonians to give Biya another chance to fully execute the solutions to the problems Cameroon is facing. He argued that it would be unfair to leave power, given that he is the only candidate with the experience of a statesman.

“President Biya has to stay on, because, he promised not to leave power until there is food on every table, until Cameroon is fully developed,” one observer stated.


Biya Too Old To Succeed Himself

Meantime, prodemocracy activists rather condemned Biya’s candidacy; saying the President is too old and tired to handle the very many complex issues in the country.

If Biya wins the October 7 election, surely, he will be 93 by the time his new mandate ends in 2025.
President Biya, who rose to the helm of the State in 1982 after the resignation of the former President, late Ahmadou Ahidjo, has won the Presidential election six times.

Biya’s file was the 3rd to be tabled at ELECAM head office at 4.30pm. The first person to table his file was; Boboro Kekomo, an independent candidate from the Movement of Cameroonian workers. The candidate of the Cameroon Party for Social Justice, Rev. Bertin Kesob, came in the second position. Prof. Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, was the fourth candidate to table his File.

Other candidates, who have not declared their candidacy, have until Thursday, July 19, to table their files. It is only when ELECAM publishes the final list that the number of Presidential candidates will be known. In 2011, about 21 candidates ran the Presidential race. But, it turned out that most of them were political adventurers.

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