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Is President Paul Biya still popular?

Editorial written by John Akuma:

In the presidential elections in Cameroon in October 2018, Paul Biya emerged victorious. This was his 6th reelection. As is often the case in Africa, suspicion and misunderstanding have emerged in some western chancelleries, showing a deep misunderstanding of the links between the local population and it’s head of state, and more generally the way in which Africans apprehend their relationship with authority.

On 7 October, observers from Africa and around the world, were present to ensure the validity of the ballot. In the results, with the notable exception of the Littoral region, President Paul Biya had gathered the vast majority of votes.

If in the West, such political longevity at the head of a state raises doubts, it is not the case in Africa. Every traveler across the country understands the connection between the head of state and his people, and the same relationship is found between the inhabitants of a village and the traditional chief.

This parallel with the traditional leader is undoubtedly the best way to convey the respectful relationship to the authority of a president who has the experience, a concept that has disappeared and is ignored in other parts of the world. The very idea that power is an element of attrition does not adapt to the African situation in which the experience accumulated over the years consolidates the capacity to make decisions.

To the despair of some diplomats, foreigners who, since the presidential election, are agitating to lead to a political renewal on the spot.

And despite the uprising of the Americans and the European Union, Cameroonians are still numerous behind their president. This is evidenced by a campaign of active support on social networks, denouncing the arrival of Tibor Nagy, Donald Trump’s Africa Mister, and calling to unite against “American interference that too often leads countries to chaos.”

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