Hours after a military takeover in Gabon, Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya has made some major changes in the military.
It is unclear what may have triggered the decision of one of Africa’s oldest presidents, who is 90 years, to make the significant changes in the Ministry of Defence.
Via a preidential decree dated August 50 and signed by the president himself, a raft of appointments were made into the internal and external services of the Ministry.
On social media platform (Twitter) where the president posted the decree, citizens and others questioned the propriety of the president’s actions whereas others mocked that fear from ongoings in next door Gabon had forced the reorganization.
Who is Paul Biya?
Born on 13th February 1933 Paul Biya has been a Cameroonian politician who has served as the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982, having previously been Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982.
He is the second-longest-ruling president in Africa, the longest consecutively serving current non-royal national leader in the world and the oldest head of state in the world.
A native of Cameroon’s south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime Minister.
He succeeded Ahidjo as President upon the latter’s surprise resignation in 1982 and consolidated power in a 1983–1984 staged attempted coup in which he eliminated all of his major rivals.
Biya introduced political reforms within the context of a one-party system in the 1980s, later accepting the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s under serious pressure.
He won the contentious 1992 presidential election with 40% of the plural, single-ballot vote and was re-elected by large margins in 1997, 2004, 2011, and 2018.
Opposition politicians and Western governments have alleged voting irregularities and fraud on each of these occasions. Many independent sources have provided evidence that he did not win the elections in 1992 and that subsequent elections suffered from rampant fraud.