World

Cameroon presidential poll set for October

Cameroon is to hold presidential elections on 7 October, President Paul Biya confirmed by decree on Monday, ending speculation about whether polls would go ahead in the violence-stricken nation.

But AFP reports that lawmakers last week approved a bill postponing parliamentary elections until 2019.

English-speaking areas of western Cameroon are gripped by an armed insurgency, and at least 160,000 people have fled their homes according to the UN.

President Biya has yet to say whether he will bid for another term in office. The 85-year-old is now Africa’s oldest and longest-serving president having come to power in 1982. In 2008, Cameroon’s parliament passed an constitutional amendment allowing Mr Biya to run for another term in 2011.

AFP reports that the main opposition, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), has already designated its candidate, Joshua Osih.

It says other declared candidates include Akere Muna, a lawyer and former vice-president of Transparency International, and Maurice Kamto, head of the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC).

In June, it emerged that only 3% of new voters registered since the start of the year are from the country’s Anglophone regions, although English speakers account for about 20% of Cameroon’s population.

People interviewed by the BBC on the streets of Bamenda on Tuesday in the Anglophone North-West region, have spoken of their unease.

“Elections are not a priority, the priority is the pacification of the country,” said one person.

Another person told the BBC: “If people do not vote, this would benefit the regime.”

bbc

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