Cameroonian youths call for end to 40-year presidency
Two generations of Cameroonians have been born under the presidency of Paul Biya who, on Sunday 6th November, was marking 40 years of undivided rule.
Known as the “Sphinx”, Biya is now 89 years-old and in poor health.
Some people think it may be a good time for a change but fear the instability that may follow.
Shopkeeper, Muriel Ewane, says: “After 40 years nothing has changed. It’s getting worse and worse, worse and worse. With life becoming more and more expensive. We don’t even live on hope anymore. You can’t live on hope, you can’t live on hope in this country.”
Many younger Cameroonians have never known a leader other than Biya but, after seven re-elections, they are beginning to say it is time to see someone else in charge.
Michel Tsefack is a 34 year-old mechanical engineer.
“I was born in 1988 and I have only known His Excellency Biya in power,” he says. “And I would like to know another president. For me it is important. I’m not in politics but I want to see at least another person governing.”
But longevity in power can also provide stability; especially when compared to neighbouring Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic. And some citizens feel major change is a long way off.
Motorbike taxi driver, Carlos Toko, says: “There is tribalism and racism that must be eliminated in this country. Because as long as we don’t get rid of that – even if the youth take over – it will always be the same thing.”
Cameroon is not entirely stable. Bloody conflicts in the north and west and a population with more than eight million poor people is fuelling calls for a major change in leadership.