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Akere Muna backed for presidential bid: the birth of a strong opposition coalition in Cameroon?

In October 2018, Cameroon will decide on who will lead them for the next 7 years.  Since 1982, Cameroon has had the same leader, President Paul Biya from the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM). He is yet to indicate if he will stand in elections this 2018.

After so many years of going to the polls and back, to some Cameroonians the opposition in Cameroon is weak, reason why the country keeps on having one leader each time they decide.

The main opposition party is the Social Democratic Front (SDF) headed by John Fru Ndi. Presently it is not certain if he will be the candidate for the elections ahead or not, as his party members, think he should give way for a younger person to become the party’s flag bearer come October 2018.

This is not the first time the Cameroon opposition is attempting a coalition with the same move breaking down on the eve of the 2004 presidential election following a disagreement between Adamou Ndam Njoya’s Cameroon Democratic Union (CDU) and SDF’s John Fru Ndi.

After the 2011 presidential election, at least seven opposition leaders came together to form a coalition front to discuss strategies for future elections but nothing has been heard of it for a long time, and some analysts have said these weaknesses of the opposition parties just leads to President Paul Biya winning the elections all the time.

Akere Muna and the NOW Movement

On the 15th of January, Barrister Akere Muna accepted a nomination from the Founding Members of the Platform for a New Republic as their unique presidential candidate.

The prominent lawyer’s bid to end Cameroon President Paul Biya’s 35 years in power received a boost after eight opposition parties and grassroots groups backed his campaign on Tuesday.

Akere Muna, hails from Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, and has promised to be a solution to the ongoing Anglophone crisis. From the day he announced his interest in the presidential elections he invited especially the women and the youths to join him on this journey, “for too long we have lived in a country without any clear future, for too long we have lived in a country where the people have no voice, for too long we have lived in a country where the women have no choice, for too long we have lived in a country where the poor and underprivileged have no chance,” he echoed.

Muna is a former vice president of the anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International and former president of the Cameroon Bar Association.

As the race for the Etoudi Palace is building momentum, leaders of other opposition political parties are getting together to build a coalition against the near four-decade regime.

The leader of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, Maurice Kamto is one of them, after a close-door meeting with Akere Muna last week, Maurice Kamto is extending a hand to John Fru Ndi to discuss ways of facing the upcoming elections.

One only hopes this time around the opposition groups have one voice.

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