Quit now, Catholic bishop tells Cameroon president
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Quit now, Catholic bishop tells Cameroon president

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Thursday, December 7   2017 at  19:08

A Cameroonian Catholic archbishop has advised long-serving President Paul Biya not to seek a sixth term of office in next year’s election, if he loves his country.

The Archbishop of Douala and president of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, Samuel Kleda, in an interview with the La Nouvelle Expression daily, called on the veteran leader to think of a peaceful transition.

“If President Biya loves this country, it would be better for him to retire than give a listening ear to those calling on him to seek re-election.

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“President Biya should think of a peaceful transition of power to another Cameroonian if he really loves this country. Cameroon needs a new president,” the prelate said.

President Biya ,84, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982, is currently serving his fifth seven-year mandate that is due to end next year.

Supporters of the aging leader have been multiplying calls for him to seek re-election, saying he remains their best bet for the poll.

Some members of President Biya’s governing CPDM party in the central Lekie Division, have even promised to finance his campaign with a special $90,000 (FCFA50m) fund.

The Cameroonian leader would have been ineligible to vie for the 2011 presidential election had parliament not tinkered with the constitution and done away with term limits in 2008, a move widely believed to have been remote-controlled by the leader.

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After scraping the term limits, President Biya claimed by running for another term in 2011, he was responding to the people's call.

Mr Biya, who came to power on November 6, 1982 as second president of Cameroon, grudgingly accepted the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s.

He won the 1992 presidential election with 40 per cent vote and was re-elected by large margins in 1997, 2004, and 2011 in polls that have been heavily criticised by the opposition, alleging gross irregularities and fraud on each occasion.