This year has been both good and bad for the political climate of most African countries, the good comes for the few countries which due to the audible voice social media and the internet has provided have been able to shed off their old, outdated and corrupt leaders, electing new and refreshing individuals instead. The bad goes to the less fortunate countries that have corruption so deep these leaders seem to somehow make their way back into power after years of being completely useless presidents to their country.
One of such countries is Cameroon who just concluded their elections and to no surprise, Paul Biya, who’s been president for 43 years since November 6, 1982, was declared the winner with 71% of the votes and will serve another seven-year term in office. Cameroonians faced a swamp of various “results” across social media platforms, like previous elections the results were contested by the opposition but to no avail.
Paul Biya who’s featured in the top of two peculiar lists of African leaders: he is currently Africa’s second longest-serving leader behind only Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea and is also the continent’s second oldest leader behind Tunisia’s Beji Caid Essebsi, 91.
History suggests Biya will likely be looking to fulfill his presidential mandate tucked away in luxury, far away from Cameroon. Earlier this year, an investigation found Biya has spent nearly five years out of the country on “private trips” and an extra year away on official visits. In 2006 and 2009 alone, Biya spent a third of both years out of the country. Biya’s private trips which are shrouded in secrecy have been met with protests at home and abroad. Local speculation suggests the trips, mostly to Switzerland, entail lavish shopping and some hospital visits—a common trend with African leaders. While the purpose of Biya’s trips is unclear, its steep costs are: the investigation estimates air travel and hotel fees at around $182 million. Cameroonian activists in the diaspora have at times protested outside his luxury hotel, Quartz Africa Reports.
The country hasn’t been stable for the last few years with rising tensions across the country’s Anglophone northwest and southwest regions over lack of representation and a growing security crisis in the country’s far north which continues to face the threat of Boko Harm, as the terrorist sect, which has its roots in Nigeria, continues to operate across the Lake Chad region.