The US opposes constitutional amendment in Cameroon


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The US opposes constitutional amendment in Cameroon

The US Ambassador to Cameroon, Janet Elisabeth Garvey, has said her country is against any plan to amend the African country’s Constitution so that President Paul Biya can run again. Speaking at a forum in Yaoundé, the country’s political capital, the US diplomat said she had conveyed the US stance to President Biya. “The US stance is clear. We regularly condemn the (planned) amendment of the limited number of presidential terms in other countries, such as Nigeria, and advise against any action to review the Constitution when such move could be perceived as seeking to serve the interests of an individual or a group,” Mrs. Garvey said. “We recognize the right of each country to review its Constitution but, according to our experience, limiting the number of terms and periodical change of leadership – at least every decade – are salutary for democracy,” the Ambassador said. She stressed the need for the government to consult widely, with all stakeholders – political parties, civil society as well as business, students’ and teachers’ organisations before any review of the Constitution could be effected. Such consultation, the Ambassador said, would help in reaching “a decision accepted and supported by all,” with a view to preserving “peace and brotherhood”. Supporters of President Biya are pushing for a Constitutional review that will enable him to run again in 2011, when his constitutionally-allowed tenure will expire. But Ni John Fru Ndi, leader of Cameroon’s main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), has said the party is opposed to any plan to review the country’s constitution for that purpose. “We all know that in 2011, Paul Biya must not run for election as provided by t he Constitution,” he said, adding that his party would do its best to prevent him from doing so.

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