UPDATED: Cameroon president Biya seeks 7th term in office

Cameroon’s 85-year-old president, Paul Biya, announced Friday that he plans to run for a seventh consecutive term in office in the October election.

“I will be your candidate in the next presidential election,” Biya, who has been head of state in the West African country for 35 years, wrote on his Twitter account.

Biya, who came to power in 1982 when his predecessor retired, is seeking a seventh term in office that could see the 85-year-old rule well into his 90s.

It would leave him in rare company after former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh were ousted in 2017.

Of Africa’s living rulers, only Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled uninterrupted for longer.

Biya, who has ruled virtually by decree since taking office, scrapped term limits from the constitution in 2008, allowing him to run again and sparking riots in which over 40 people were killed.

The election, scheduled on Oct. 7, comes at a turbulent time for the Central African country and for Biya.

A separatist insurgency in the western English-speaking regions has killed 84 troops in September 2018, while a drop in the price of its key cocoa and oil exports has weighed on the economy.

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