Cameroon’s civil society rejects calls for limitless term for Biya

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Cameroon’s civil society organisations and opposition political parties, grouped under the “civil society’s platform for democracy in Cameroon,” have strongly condemned calls to change the country’s Constitution to ensure an unlimited term of office for the head of state.

The calls are being championed by some leading figures in the ruling Democratic Rally of Cameroonian People (RDCP).

In a statement made available to PANA here at the weekend, the group described as shocking and egocentric calls on President Paul Biya to suppress the provisions preventing him from contesting the next presidential election in 2011.

“The civil society’s platform for democracy in Cameroon” affirms that calling for the revision of the Constitution solely to allow Paul Biya, RDPC national chairman and in power for 25 years, to contest the up coming elections, is a dangerous idea.

“The RDPC barons should help the President to peacefully leave power in 2011 and have a deserved good and happy retirement,” the group said.

It said while Cameroon’s 1996 Constitution needed revising, it should be done with a national consensus after the President’s term of office had expired.

Asked by the French television channel, “France 24,” during his recent visit to France about the possibility of changing his country’s Constitution, President Biya said the issue was ‘topical’ and that he was listening to the people.

At a ceremony celebrating his 25 years in power 6 November 2007, some senior members of the President’s party called for a Constitutional change ‘on behalf of the people’, ahead of the next parliamentary ordinary session, due to open Monday in Yaoundé.

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