The Cameroonian government has announced that presidential elections will take place on October 9. Incumbent President Paul Biya is almost certain to win:
He would face a divided and weak opposition that has not been able to challenge him in the last two elections.
Biya’s ruling party, the CPDM, plans to hold a congress on September 15-16, when it is expected to name him as its candidate.
The real question is what happens after Biya, currently 78, leaves power. Ajong Mbapndah L has a fairly grim take:
Beyond the brouhaha about the 2011 elections looms the spectre of the post Biya era. With a balance sheet that is largely below expectations at the onset of his accession to power in 1982, many Cameroonians long and hope for someone else to pilot state affairs. For those who have fed fat from the regime, the prospects of a post-Biya era are something to be dreaded. What happens when President Biya and his ruling CPDM are no longer there to serve as cover for criminal activities ranging from flagrant human rights abuses to looting the public treasury with impunity?
Even within the ranks of his ruling CPDM, there have been reports of vicious off camera struggles of eminent presidential associates to position themselves as heirs to the throne. Former Ministers are languishing in jail today like Atangana Mebara former Secretary General to the Presidency, Olanguena Owono, former Minister of Public Health and Polycarp Abah Abah former Minister of Economy and Finance. All are said be victims of the power games of succession. Officially arrested for corruption, the real reason for their incarceration in the dreaded Kondengui maximum security prison was their allegiance to the G11 group exploring options for the post-Biya era. With the wear and tear of age, the growing intolerance of leading world powers for sit-tight leaders and the desire for a graceful exit which avoids the humiliation suffered by Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt and Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast, it is hard to say what Biya may have in store for Cameroonians.
Cameroon saw a few protests against Biya this year, and more serious protests in 2008.