The governing Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement party (CPDM) has begun mobilizing its human and material resources ahead of the 2025 presidential elections in the country.
The Secretary General of the party, Jean Nkuete, on Thursday, September 21, gathered his party members for the decisive event as he kicked off a nationwide tour of the party’s regional bureaus.
While launching the political tour in Yaounde on Thursday, Jean Nkuete urged party comrades to rally behind President Paul Biya, the party’s national chairman.
Biya likely to seek reelection
Many Cameroonians have been anxious to know if President Paul Biya, who has ruled Cameroon for 41 years now, will be seeking another seven-year mandate in 2025, but the answer has not been clearly stated.
He would be 92 years old when his current mandate ends and would have ruled Cameroon for 43 years. With age closing in on him, he has not indicated whether he is stepping down or not.
He has, in the past, repeatedly claimed before international media that he is president because the people want him there.
On one occasion, when he was asked if he was going to seek re-election, he evasively said, “When the time comes, people will know”.
Critics say his advanced age makes it unhealthy for him to continue to govern.
Even his absence at the 2023 UN General Assembly currently held in New York is eloquent testimony, observers say. He has been governing the country through presidential decrees, and many wonder if he is still the one in charge of the country. In fact, his previous outing at the US-Africa Summit raised more questions than answers.
Abounding motions of support
CPDM militants across the country have hitherto not failed at every given opportunity to demonstrate their support for Mr. Biya by urging him to be their flag bearer at the 2025 presidential polls.
The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Manaouda Malachi, echoed the most recent of these calls in May while visiting the Far North Region.
At a rally held in Mokolo on Wednesday, May 17, Dr. Manaouda called on the 90-year-old to contest the 2025 presidential elections and urged people to throw their weight behind him.
He also stated that Paul Biya was the right choice for the people of the Far North, especially the youth.
CPDM militants in Buea and other parts of the country have also repeatedly praised and called on Biya to remain their national chairman. The calls are coming at a time when the ruling party already enjoys a comfortable majority in terms of representation.
The party has a firm grip on the country’s governing institutions, with 139 seats out of 180 in Parliament.
It also controls 316 out of 360 municipal councils as well as all 10 regional councils. In March this year, the CPDM won all 70 seats at the senatorial elections, and the opposition only had a chance in the Senate after President Biya appointed some of their members among the 30 appointed senators.
Biya grooming son to take over?
Until recently, most Cameroonians knew little about President Biya’s son, Franck Biya, who has been increasingly involved in political issues. He has worked more as a businessman and entrepreneur.
But now, speculations are mounting that he may be preparing to take over his father’s job at the Unity Palace.
A group of businessmen, politicians, and government allies has even formed the Frankistes Citizen Movement for the Peace and Unity of Cameroon, with Franck Biya as its leader.
They are urging him to run for president in the upcoming general elections, under the leadership of businessman Mohamed Rahim Noumeau. His supporters have also flaunted images and placards on social media time and again, calling on Franck Biya to run for president.
Neither Franck Biya nor his father, Paul Biya, have publicly reacted to the motions of support thrown at them.
Political observers claim that the country’s opposition parties are largely disorganized, which helps the CPDM maintain its hold on the nation.
In an interview with state broadcaster CRTV on Thursday, political scholar and analyst Dr. Munja Vitalis, said the opposition must demonstrate to Cameroonians that they would do better than the incumbent regime if given power.
He said they have been using the media more to criticize the incumbent regime than to contribute positively to nation-building.
He said that by engaging in early preparations, the CPDM is on a better footing for the 2025 presidential elections than the opposition.
Over 329 political parties exist in Cameroon, but most of them lack the capacity needed to confront the CPDM in an electoral contest.
However, unconfirmed reports say top opposition political parties in the country, like the SDF, MRC, PCRN, and CDU, amongst others, are considering coming together to beat the ruling party in the 2025 elections. Previous attempts in the past ended in a fiasco.
Tata Mbunwe and Mimi Mefo contributed to this report