Cameroon Stop Repression


Since September, 22 2020

hundreds of men and women are imprisoned, repressed and tortured in Cameroon for their political choice

One Minute To Midnight: The Cameroon Crisis

Robert Amsterdam

Cameroon is often described as “Africa in Miniature” for its geographical and human diversity. Cameroon’s diversity, which should be an asset, has become the source of one of the most neglected crises in the world. Cameroon is composed of two English-speaking and eight French-speaking regions. This double linguistic feature is a legacy of history: until the end of the First World War, the country was a German protectorate and subsequently administered under the United Nations Trusteeship by France and Great Britain. Understanding the country’s history is essential to better comprehend the situation and challenges currently being faced in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s history and politics are closely linked to France, which has had a significant impact on the imposition of single-party rule in the country. While Cameroon looks to new partners, France continues to maintain a strong influence over the political elite of the regime, to such an extent that it can be seen as interventionism. Ahmadou Ahidjo led the country from the independence of its French administered part in 1960 and stayed in power until 1982, when he handed power over to Paul Biya, his constitutional heir who had been serving as Prime Minister. In addition to being Head of State, Paul Biya also took the reign of the country’s state party, the Cameroon National Union which he relabelled as Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM)in 1985. Since 1960, Cameroonians have been subject to two leaders and were never given the right to choose their president. The imposition of a leader as well as an inadequate and a fallacious electoral system led to a complete political lockdown.


Cameroon remained under de-facto single-party rule until 1990 and then tran- sitioned to a multi-party system following a deep political and economic crisis. However, the multi-party system has just been an orchestrated illusion and the president’s political manoeuvres reveal a well-defined strategy: appear to fulfil the conditions of international donors and satisfy the international community, and thereby show a desire for democracy and stability while diverting attention from the reality. Ultimately, Biya’s regime has further repressed the opposition and tightened his grip on power, leading to the hyper centralization of political power.

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