After his speech to the French community, the French president was received by his colleague Paul Biya. The two heads of state had a one-on-one meeting at the Unity Palace for more than an hour. This meeting was also an opportunity to talk a little about domestic politics in Cameroon. Asked by the press about the delicate and almost taboo issue of the transition, the Cameroonian president shuffled his cards and let nothing leak out of his intentions. Will leave, will not leave at the end of the current term, and while he will have accumulated 43 years of power without stopping? Paul Biya remained rather evasive.
With our special correspondent in Yaoundé, Amelie Tulet
In a bright, 1970s-style room, President Paul Biya enters slowly, but his voice is sure. After the two heads of state’s introductory remarks, time for questions. “Mr President Paul Biya, do you hope to run for a new mandate in 2025 or do you want a new generation to wear your party’s colors in the next presidential election?”
Paul Biya then asks for the question to be repeated to him. “I don’t hear,” he said. After another attempt, it is finally Emmanuel Macron, standing on his right, who takes over: “Mr. President Biya, are you seeking a new mandate in 2025 on behalf of the party?”
Then, with humor and wit, Paul Biya, in a voice marked by years but firm, replies: “Cameroon is governed in accordance with its constitution. According to this constitution, my term of office lasts seven years. So try to subtract and you will know, how much time I have left to rule the land. But otherwise, when this warrant expires, you will be informed whether I stay or go to the village.”
Answer applauded in the press room Paul Biya, 89, is in his seventh term at the head of Cameroon.