AT the beginning of 2017, the list of Africa’s longest serving leaders looked like this: Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola; Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; Paul Biya of Cameroon; and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo.
Two of those men have since gone: Dos Santos stepped down in August (after 38 years) and Mugabe resigned a fortnight ago (after 37), although the armoured vehicles outside his Harare house had something to do with the decision.
Guessing who might be next is a mug’s game. But Cameroon’s Paul Biya celebrated his 35th anniversary in a more subdued manner than usual, writes Kangsen Feka Wakaiin the online journal Africa is a Country.
Cameroon’s armed forces did not parade in front of him along Yaoundes’s Boulevard du 20 Mai. Instead, most of this year’s celebrations were led by ruling party officials imploring their militants to vote for Biya in next year’ s elections under the slogan “Paul Biya, yesterday, today and tomorrow”. But that’s a hard sell in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. Why? The region is simmering. Biya’s clampdown on Anglophone militants demanding secession has triggered an armed uprising.
Eight members of the security forces have been killed in the past few weeks, and the government claims that the rebels have sanctuary in neighbouring Nigeria.