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Cameroon’s ‘life president’ entices voters with free condoms

Cameroon President Paul Biya seems to be doing everything possible to extend his 35-year rule, including distributing free condoms with messages calling for his re-election.

The western African country will go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president, a race Biya is widely expected to win with ease.

The condom packs bear the message ‘Je Vote Paul Biya’ (I vote Paul Biya) together with an image of the 85-year-old Head of State.

Meanwhile, analysts and opinion polls suggest Biya could capitalise on a divided opposition to easily win his fifth election since reluctantly adopting a multiparty system in 1992.

Media reports indicate that Separatists in the English speaking regions of the largely French country have announced a boycott of the poll, and many voters there have said they are too scared to go to the polls.


“Who can vote when our brothers are dying? How can we even vote, when you do not now how safe it will be?” asked Chimeme Ngum, a 23-year old student in Bamenda, capital of the anglophone Northwest region.

At least 400 civilians have been killed in unrest in the past year and hundreds of thousands have also fled their homes.

President Biya is Africa’s second-longest serving head of state having ruled the west African country since November 1982.

The only African president who has been in office longer than Biya is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who has ruled his country for the last 39 years.