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Cameroon postpones polls as crises takes toll


Anglophone crisis, Boko Haram are first factors, analysts say

By Anthony Opara


On account of an escalating state of crises and tension within the country, the Central African nation of Cameroon which shares borders with Nigeria has postponed parliamentary polls that had been scheduled to hold in October 2018 even as there are also fears over the certainty of the equally scheduled presidential contest.

In that election which is billed to also hold in October 2018, the incumbent President, 85-year old Paul Biya, who has been in the saddle for 35 years, is running once again to clinch another 7-year mandate.

The postponement followed the passage of an executive-triggered bill in the nation’s parliament.

The new date given for the postponed parliamentary elections is October 2019 even as the bill legitimizing the postponement outlines that, “the mandate of the deputies is extended for a period of twelve months, from October 29, 2018.”

Justifying the development, President Biya, who is one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, averred that the holding of presidential, legislative and municipal elections in the same period would be “difficult” due to “overlapping electoral operations”.

Tensions have repeatedly been witnessed in the French-speaking majority country where separatist rebels in its anglophone regions have been fighting government forces after the proclamation of an autonomous republic of “Ambazonia” in October last year.

According to government sources, no less than 81 police personnel and soldiers have been killed in Cameroon’s anglophone crisis.

The Northern and Southern Cameroons had been brought together in 1961 following a UN-mediated plebiscite. Before then Southern Cameroon had been part of the then newly independent nation of Nigeria.

And on the flip side, the Islamist Boko Haram sect is also wrecking havoc in the country’s far north. Since 2014, the group has killed an estimated 2,000 civilians and soldiers and kidnapped another 1,000 people in northern Cameroon, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).


President Paul Biya of Cameroon


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