Category Archives: Cameroon

Cameroon – Senate elections

Cameroon held its first ever Senatorial elections at the weekend. The institution was created in 1996, but no elections have ever been held. That has now changed.

There are 100 Senators, 70 of whom are elected in 10 different regions by representatives of local government, the other 30 being appointed by the president.

The President is Paul Biya of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC). He has been in power since 1982.

Jeune Afrique reports that the RDPC list was disqualified prior to the election in two regions. Therefore, it could only win a maximum of 56 seats. This is exactly what happened, winning all 7 seats in the remaining 8 regions. The opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) party won the 2 regions where the RDPC was disqualified.

In one region, North-East, there was the hope of a real contest. The region was very closely split between the RDPC and SDF electors and the historic opposition leader, John Fru Ndi, had hoped to win there. However, in the end he narrowly lost out.

Overall, the RDPC is likely to hold 86 of the 100 seats in the new Senate.

Cameroon – Government reshuffle

The newly re-elected president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, has reshuffled his government. There is a report in English here.

The prime minister, Philémon Yang, has been reappointed. However, two aspects are noteworthy. The first is that there is some dissatisfaction that President Biya has not included representatives of certain opposition parties in the government. The second is that the size of the government has been increased from 62 to 72 ministers! Given the absence of the opposition ministers, the increase in size is even more remarkable.

Cameroon – Presidential election

In Cameroon a presidential election was held on 9 October. The result was made known on Friday. Unsurprisingly, incumbent President Paul Biya, who is only Cameroon’s second president since independence and who has been in power since November 1982, was easily re-elected.

One point to notice is the relatively high abstention rate. Here are the results courtesy of Cameroon Info:

Paul Biya (RDPC) 3.772.527, 77,99%
Ni John Fru Ndi (SDF) 518.175, 10,12%
Garga Haman Adji (ADD) 155.348, 3,21%
Adamou Ndam Njoya (UDC) 83.860, 1,53%
Ayah Paul Abine (PAPE) 61.158, 1,26%
Kah Walla (CPP) 34.639, 0,72%
Ndzongang Albert (La Dynamique) 26.396, 0,55%
Momo Jean de Dieu (PADDEC) 23.791, 0,49%
Ekindi Jean-Jacques (MP) 21.593, 0,46%
Muna Bernard (AFP) 18.444, 0,38%
Dang Esther 15.775, 0,33%
Bile Olivier Anicet (UFP) 15.202, 0,31%
Ekane Anicet (Manidem) 11.081, 0,23%
Hameni Bieleu François (UFDC) 10.615, 0,22%
Ngo Fritz Pierre (NAMEC) 9.259, 0,19%
Jean Djeunga (FUC) 9.219, 0,19%
Feuzeu Isaac (MERCI) 9.216, 0,19%
Kamgang Hubert (UPA) 8.250, 0,17%
Atangana Nsoe Simon Pierre (GC) 8.032, 0,17%
Lontouo Marcus (CNC) 7.875, 0,16%
Nyamdi Georges (LSC) 5.925, 0,12%
Tabi Owono (AMEC) 5.795, 0,12%
Nso Fone Daniel (DSU) 5.074, 0,1%

Voting 65.82%

‘Difficult’ cases – Cameroon

This is series of posts that identifies countries that almost comply with the definition of semi-presidentialism that is used in this blog, but which fail to do so on the basis of a certain, sometimes unusual provision, or where the date when semi-presidentialism started can be contested.

This post examines the case of Cameroon in the 1960s. In 1961 Cameroon adopted a semi-presidential-like constitution. The text is impossible to track down on the internet, but it is available in the Revue juridique et politique d’Outre-Mer at that time.

At that time, the Constitution declared Cameroon to be a Federal Republic, combining the former French and British-administered territories. The French element was politically dominant. However, the federal nature of the system meant that the constitution was organised somewhat differently from its French counterpart, which was the model for most of the countries in the region at the time.

Anyway, this constitution established a directly elected federal president (Art. 9). At the federal level, the president was also the head of government and the cabinet was not responsible to the legislature. So, constitutionally, the Federal Republic of Cameroon was presidential.

However, the constitution also made provision for prime ministers to be appointed in each of the two federated states. The federal president appointed the prime minister in each case (Art. 39) and the PM was subject to an investiture vote that required a simple majority. The state cabinet was also subject to confidence and no-confidence votes (Art. 44) and had to resign if, for example, it was defeated on a no-confidence motion by an absolute majority of the legislature.

So, here is a country that was not semi-presidential, but which had a clear semi-presidential element to it. Indeed, it was the only Africa case to have anything like this type of presidential/prime ministerial arrangement until 1970.

The 1961 Cameroon constitution was repealed in 1972 when the country officially became the United Republic of Cameroon and any reference to the federated states was abolished.

Cameroon – New PM

President Paul Biya of Cameroon has changed his prime minister and reshuffled the ministerial pack.

The outgoing prime minister, Ephraïm Inoni, was appointed in December 2004. The new PM is Philémon Yang, a former judge and diplomat. According to Wikipedia, he was previously the Assistant Secretary General to President Biya and was a minister from 1975-84.

Jeune Afrique also has a report on the various changes to the president’s staff as well. Colleagues might be interested to know that Luc Sindjoun has been appointed as special adviser to the president. He is Professor of Political Science and the Head of the Political Science Department at University of Yaoundé. He is a well-known political scientist who has been active in IPSA. I knew him in 1989-90 while I was studying in Paris.

Professor Sindjoun is associated with a journal, Revue Camerounaise de Science Politique – POLIS, which is freely available here. He also has a paper (in French) on the presidency in Cameroon available here.

Cameroon – Constitutional amendment

In his farewell address as Russian president, rather than his inaugural address as prime minister, Vladimir Putin emphasised that, as promised, he had obeyed the constitution and stepped down as president after his two-term limit and that he had not tried to change the constitution to abolish the term limit.

The same cannot be said of President Paul Biya in Cameroon. Biya has been president since 1984. In 1996 Cameroon amended its 1972 constitution. (The 1996 version can be found here in English). Article 6 (2) states that the president is elected for a seven-year term and is eligible for re-election once. Since this amendment, Biya has won two presidential elections – in 1997 and 2004. Therefore, he was term-limited.

In April President Biya proposed a series of amendments that included the abolition of the two-term limit. This means that the president, who is now 75, has the opportunity to remain in office for life or until he decides to step down. The chances of him being defeated in the election are slim. In 1997 he won 92.6 per cent when a number of parties boycotted the poll. In 2004 he won 70.9 per cent.

The text of the constitutional amendment can be found in French on Stéphane Bolle’s excellent La Constitution en Afrique blog.