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“Paul Biya, the invisible candidate”: What international news agencies are saying about the Sunday election

Cameroon is the news-in-town. Most international news agencies are either covering the Sunday election or the violence and displacement in the Anglophone region. And how are these papers covering the election

The focus so far has been on Biya’s longevity in power and excessive travels abroad. France24, has a story with the headline “Cameroon elections: Paul Biya, the invisible candidate”. The story argues that Biya spends one quarter of his time abroad, and yet wants another term to govern. We believe while that may seem strange to the French, some Cameroonians think it is okay.

The Economists pus Biya’s longevity in context: “Africa’s oldest president Campaigns for another term in Cameroon”. I am not quite sure campaign is the correct term. I prefer the title from The Times, “Cameroon’s President Biya, 85, seeks seventh term from voters”. The Times’ story also touches on the cliché, that Cameroon is rich and Cameroonians are educated, yet they are wallowing in poverty because of poor governance.

But as much as this election have been about Biya, they have also been about the Anglophone crisis and the participation of those displaced by the conflict.

Aljazeera captures the import of the Anglophone crisis in the election with the frightening title “Anglophone crisis looms over Cameroon’s presidential election.”

Deutch Welle explain further how the Anglophone crisis is looming over the elections. In the story “Cameroon marred by violence ahead of presidential poll” the paper says presidential candidates have not been able to access Anglophone regions, and thus the credibility of the election results across the country may have been affected by the Anglophone crisis. According to the paper, although ‘Cameroonian political parties have crisscrossed the country ahead of the presidential elections on Sunday. Except for one candidate, no one has been able to organize campaigns in the restive Anglophone regions’.

Quartz raises doubt over the possible turnout in Anglophones regions as “Cameroon armed forces and separatists have the Anglophone region on lockdown ahead of elections.”

But as Aljazeera was told by a Cameroonian technocrat, there are other issues besides Biya and the Anglophone crisis at the heart of this election. The state of the economy, employment, and underemployment, and corruption are also very important issues.

Daily Maverick summarizes the wish of most Cameroonians, “Cameroon needs more than Biya or Chaos”.

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