Cameroon. According to countryaah, Pope Benedict XVI visited Cameroon in March during a tour of Africa. He praised the country for the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians, but also said that Cameroon must guard the value and dignity of human life. It was interpreted in its own direction as a cautious criticism of the authorities’ violations of human rights. Prior to the pope’s arrival, Amnesty International had harshly criticized the state government for routinely resorting to violence to turn down all public protests against the regime.
In June, the government announced that prices for a number of basic commodities would be reduced by up to 25 per cent from mid-year. Of all the judgments, the authorities were anxious to avoid price protests like those in 2008, when a large number of people were killed by police.
In a major government reshuffle in June, President Paul Biya appointed his Deputy Chief of Staff Philémon Yang as Prime Minister but, in accordance with the Constitution, retained his responsibility as Head of Government. Six ministries were abolished and six ministers replaced. The measures were believed to be aimed at curbing criticism of corruption and high food prices. Biya was also presumed to try to strengthen his position before the 2011 presidential election, when, thanks to a constitutional change, he gets the right to run again.
The police are leaving Kamto’s home
Police who have been surrounding MRC leader Maurice Kamto’s home in Yaoundé for several months suddenly leave the building. Thus, the opposition leader seems to have been released from the actual house arrest. Kamto was banned from leaving his home after leading a peaceful protest march in Yaoundé on September 22. The protesters demanded the resignation of President Biya.
The first regional elections are boycotted by the opposition
President Biya’s ruling party RDPC wins an overwhelming victory in Cameroon’s first regional election. The RDPC wins in nine of the ten regions and in one region another presidential party wins. The two largest opposition parties, the MRC and the SDF, are boycotting the election because they believe that the conflict in the English-speaking regions must be resolved before regional elections can be held. In the conflict-affected regions, the RDPC is the only candidate party. Biya has said that regional elections are partly held to meet the separatists in the English-speaking regions (they have long demanded regional self-government). The regional elections are indirect; an electoral college consisting of 24,000 traditional leaders and local politicians elects a regional council of 90 members in each region. The vast majority of electors belong to or sympathize with the RDPC.