Elections and violence in Cameroon : between political maneuvers and security challenges Spécial

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In Cameroon, preparations for the presidential election due to be held in 18 months' time have begun with strategic maneuvering by various political formations. Two coalitions have been formed: the Alliance politique pour le changement (APC), led by Maurice Kamto, and the Alliance politique pour la transition (APT), led by Olivier Bile.

At the same time, violence persisted in certain regions of the country. At least three people were killed in Afade, in the Lake Chad region, in an attack perpetrated by unidentified elements. This region is regularly the scene of clashes between armed groups and security forces, underlining the security challenges facing Cameroon. In other news, the investigation into the murder of Cameroonian journalist and radio host Martinez Zogo has moved forward. The radio host was murdered in Yaoundé in January 2024.  

The military court in charge of the case has reclassified the charges against some of the suspects. Lieutenant-Colonel Justin Danwe, former director of operations for Cameroon's counter-espionage service (DGRE), and Martin Stéphane Savom, mayor of the Bibey commune, are now charged with complicity in murder. Three others are facing direct murder charges. This murder shook public opinion to the core and highlighted the troubled links between the independent press and the circles of power, leading to the indictment of seventeen people, including former counter-espionage officials and an influential businessman.

It is in this tense political context that the opposition is trying to make itself heard. Opposition MP Jean-Michel Nintcheu has lodged a complaint against President Paul Biya and the Secretary General of the Presidency, Minister of State Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, respectively for "accumulation of functions" and "usurpation of office". However, the decline of the political opposition has become apparent, with historic parties losing influence and new players struggling to assert themselves against the ruling party led by President Biya, who has headed the country since 1982. In this respect, the paralyzed functioning of Parliament shows how far behind Cameroon is in terms of democratic governance. The fact that 90-year-old Marcel Niat Njifenji, President of the Senate since its creation in 2013, has long been absent due to health problems, raises questions about his succession and the country's future political direction.