Cameroon President Celebrates 30 Years in Power

Posted November 6th, 2012 at 9:40 am (UTC-5)
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Cameroon's President Paul Biya marks 30 years in power Tuesday — an event the ruling party is greeting with celebrations, while the opposition plans to protest.

Supporters of the 79-year-old president say he has brought stability to Cameroon, a nation of 20 million with vast ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity.

Opponents call him a dictator who is corrupt and holds fraudulent elections. Rights group have accused his government of various abuses including an ongoing crackdown on homosexuality.

Mr. Biya assumed the presidency November 6, 1982 when his predecessor Ahmadou Ahidjo resigned.

He has won several elections since then, most recently in October 2011 with 80 percent of the vote. U.S. observers reported irregularities in the vote but said they did not affect the outcome.

He is eligible to run for re-election when his current term ends in 2018.

Only three current African leaders have held power longer than Mr. Biya — Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Angola's Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang.