Without losing yourself in the intricacies of political scheming before and right around the declaration of independence in Cameroon, it is suffice to say that the country’s modern history began with unrest and turmoil. The British Cameroons, with a majority of Muslim inhabitants, eventually decided to join the territories of Nigeria in 1961.
Acting president Ahmadou Ahidjo, the first ever in the history of the newborn republic, banned all political parties but one, and established himself as a dictator of sorts (albeit a much more democratic one, compared to those in neighbouring states), beginning in 1966: he resigned in 1982, and died in 1989, after leaving the country as a result of his deteriorating relationship with his successor (but more on that later!). It is even suggested that the few remaining audio and visuals remain of Ahidjo are due to the supporters of the current president of Cameroon
Enter Paul Biya: this former “golden boy” of Cameroonian politics has won presidential elections in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1997, 2004 and 2011, results which are considered deeply problematic due to the deeply flawed political system that took the place of the “one party rule”. Under Paul Biya, the majority controls the judicial system, as well as the media.
The attempted coups that followed have been a direct consequence of his rule, and his standing in the eyes of the Western media has only improved thanks to his efforts against the Boko Haram radical Muslim militia, with its ties to ISIS. On the other hand, Biya seems to have sanctioned the mass killing in the south of Cameroon, an area which was only annexed to the Republic long after its declaration of independence and which has always reclaimed its own autonomy. As of 2018, Paul Biya is considered a dictator, and is the longest ruling one in Africa after Robert Mugabe was deposed in Zimbabwe.