Paul Biya, longest serving 89-year-old President marks 40 years in office

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President of Cameroon Paul Biya attends a ceremony at The Great Hall Of The People in Beijing, China March 22, 2018. Lintao Zhang/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

President Paul Biya, currently the longest serving President in the world and his supporters, have marshalled out plans for an elaborate event to mark his 40th anniversary of his coming into power and leading one of the very important countries in Africa.

The event scheduled for Sunday, would see, Biya marking his 40 years in office, as elected President, only next to Hassanal Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the Sultan of Brunei, since 1967, who became Prime Minister in 1984 and Margrethe Alexandrine, Queen of Denmark, who is unelected.

Voice of America, reports that the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) dispatched party officials to towns and villages on Thursday to organise conferences and rally support for Biya, who turned 89th in February, making him Africa’s oldest and second longest-serving leader after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been in power since 1979.

The activities were however held in Biya’s absence, because he lives in Switzerland, reports say of the President, who is believed to be battling some age-related ailments and who had refused to give up power to the younger generations even in his party.

Biya, who took over as president of Cameroon in 1982, succeeding the country’s first President, Ahmadou Ahijo, had served as Prime Minister since 1975 and despite opposition party accusations of heavy election rigging, has won all multiparty elections since 1992, with hundreds of protesters killed in 2008, one year after he announced his intention to abolish the two-term limit in 2007. The National Assembly voted on the constitutional revision in 2008, and Mr Biya was re-elected with 78% of the vote in 2011.