Businessman Franck Biya (left) may be poised to take over from his father, President Paul Biya (right)

Is Franck Biya the president’s son and successor?

Deutsche Welle | President Paul Biya’s son is making a name for himself on Cameroon’s political scene. Some observers think he is being groomed to take over the job of his 88-year-old father.

In recent years, the debate over who will succeed Cameroon’s long-time president, Paul Biya, has become a point of political contention. The 88-year-old, who has held the top office since 1982, is due to end his latest term in 2025.

Until recently, Biya’s eldest son kept a relatively low profile. Most Cameroonians knew little about Franck Biya, who has worked as a businessman and entrepreneur.

But now, speculation is mounting that he may be preparing to take over his father’s role as leader. Social media has been flooded with images of Franck Biya as he allegedly gathers support for his own political party. Some of the videos are calling for his candidacy.

A group of businessmen, politicians and government allies has even formed The Frankistes Citizen Movement for the Peace and Unity of Cameroon. Led by businessman Mohamed Rahim Noumeau, they are calling on Franck Biya to run for the presidency in the next general election.

An expected turn of events

Across the country, opinions vary on Franck Biya’s possible ascension to power.

But it’s the manner of the transition that has most Cameroonians concerned. While some think it’s possible that Franck Biya will go through the democratic process, others believe a free and fair power changeover is simply a pipe dream for the central African nation.

“It has been normal in Africa and in the Francophone system, which France has harnessed and upheld, that [authorities] always work with the children as successors of various presidents,” political analyst Ako John Ako told DW.

Franck Biya’s presidential ambitions don’t come as a total surprise in the context of the region. Togo’s current president Faure Gnassingbe was immediately installed as the nation’s leader in 2005 following the death of his father, President Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for 38 years.

President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo (left) and his brother Kpatcha Gnassingbe who served as defence minister

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), incumbent president Felix Tshisekedi was elected to lead the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) after his father, former president Etienne Tshisekedi, died in 2017.

As with these similar cases on the continent, Ako says it is likely that Franck Biya’s run for his father’s job will provoke resentment among many in Cameroon and even worsen the country’s current crises.

“Franck Biya becoming president will anger many Cameroonians and may provoke other conflicts,” he says. “From fighting Boko Haram in the north, the Seleka [rebels] in the east and the [Anglophone] crisis in the north-west and south-west. It will keep Cameroon in pieces.”

Democratic transition necessary

But not everyone agrees with this outlook. Njang Denis, the leader of Cameroon’s Popular Action Party (PAP) says there’s nothing inherently wrong with Franck Biya eventually becoming president of Cameroon. However, he stresses that he must be elected through a democratic process, otherwise his rule would be in violation of Cameroon’s constitution.

“I will have a problem when it becomes unconstitutional, where it becomes a backdoor game,” Denis told DW.

Cameroon’s constitution stipulates that if the president leaves power before the end of his term, the president of the senate will ultimately succeed him. Since its independence in 1961, Cameroon has only had two heads of state. Cameroon’s first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo appointed Biya as president of Cameroon in 1982 following the latter’s resignation. Biya later consolidated power in a staged attempted coup in 1983-84 in order to eliminate his rivals. He eventually introduced a multiparty system in the early 1990s, but opposition politicians have long alleged voting irregularities.

Cameroon’s president Paul Biya has been in power since 1982

Biya has now held his position for almost 30 years and has amended his country’s constitution to allow him to stand for reelection indefinitely. Denis is wary of Cameroon’s next president following the same path.

“We do not want the same scenario where Ahidjo prepared the terrain for Biya to come in…I do not want a situation where it looks like we are in a monarchy,” Denis said.

A fair-for-all process
However, not everyone is as concerned with the possible pitfalls of Franck Biya’s candidacy. For Cameroonian history teacher Kedia Robert, anyone has the right to stand for election — and Franck Biya should not automatically be discredited because he is the president’s son.

“Franck Biya is a Cameroonian,” Robert told DW. “He has his legitimate right and political right to step in for any position. We could not discredit him because his father is a president.”

Robert points out similar situations around the world in which the children of a former sitting president ultimately took on the same role, including the Bush family in the United States and Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who was elected following his father’s death in 2009 — albeit amid accusation of voting irregularities.

“It will not be a problem in Cameroon,” Robert said. “That is democracy. If people vote for him, then it’s good.”

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15 comments

  1. SC + LRC = LRC

    = IMBECILE NONSENSE FALSEHOOD

    For the benefit of ignorant citizens of LRC, the correct equation is:

    SC + LRC = SC + LRC
    = Two nations EQUAL IN STATUS

    Conclusion

    The UNWINNABLE war will set the records straight since the war will only end on the NEGOTIATioN table under the auspices.

    “Allah ist groß, Allah ist mächtig!”

    • MKPD and us the blacklegs are winning fatly. You can take your passion back home and replace the depleting Ambafools. Stop deceiving online, we can all afford internet bill.

      Your frustration is there for all to see, you’ve turned into a broken record, same BS day in day out. You have your Ambazozo republic therefore can we start hearing your vision for your people? Some real policies. BTW you and your generation are banned from the so called your country Ambazozo. How hopeless!

      • Morocco = 4 (FOUR)
        LRC = 0 (ZEROOOO00000000000OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!)

        CONCLUSION

        1. The ancestors of Victoria humiliated LRC PANTS ON FIRE
        2. SHAME ON Dictator Biya
        3. SHAME ON LRC
        4, LRC is ruled by the most corrupt, dishonest, faithless, deceitful, arrogant, foolish, stupid, despicable, evil, demonic and insensitive CRIMINALS on planet earth.

        A country ruled by deceit, deception and terror is likened to a house built on sand.
        It is common knowledge and a celebrated fact that a house built on sand cannot stand for long.

        Thank God, Dictator Biya’s UNWINNABLE, UNSTOPPABLE; UNCONTROLLABLE and financially UNSUSTAINABLE war will rescue the Anglophones from that sh*thole VIVRE-ENSEMBLE with LRC.

        GOD IS INDEED GREAT

  2. Dr. ”MKPD and us the blacklegs are winning fatly”…. Are u serious? So u are winning,hmm?.Your master’s (Biya) economic interests in Ambasonia have been destroyed to 80 percent and u say u are winning? The tax revenue collection in Ambasonia has been reduced to 80 percent and you say u are winning? We can now count the number of business people residing in Ambasonia that are still paying ”patente” to Yaounde.Look,let me tell u something, Ambasonia has nothing to lose in this war.It is Yaounde that stands to lose everything.Biya has resorted to be borrowing money to come and sponsor the war becos little or no money is coming from his farm (Ambasonia) anymore.We don’t need to kill the military even.All we need do is to target where Biya is getting his revenue in Ambasonia.

    • The Ekang people are sympathetic to your struggle.
      You deserve to be given a choice like a referendum to ask your ills if they want to be part of that country.
      This is basic human right.
      A group of people have the right to self determination.
      You have our support

  3. @Dr. ”You have your Ambazozo republic therefore can we start hearing your vision for your people? Some real policies. ”..This is a statement from a loser.It shows that u have been defeated.But?becos of your arrogance, u have refused to postrate.I think the question should have been for u to show us businesses that are opening on mondays in the Ambasonian territory,since u are winning fatly and also show us the tax revenue u have collected since the war broke out since u are winning.

    • Kikikiki, Kongasa!

      You must be living in a glass ball nowadays!

      This stuff was long over even before it started.

      Your mov’t is full of amateurs and gluttons, a dreadful combination for a so-called revolutionary movement.

      Can you afford the luxury to miss contri njama-njama and fu’u corn for one week due to jungle life? Can you miss mimbo for 2 weeks?

      I am still perplexed that many of your members couldn’t understand the dynamics involved in lunching a war against your own country. Millions of Anglos had to be displaced, kidnapped, raped, maimed, massacred, mostly by ur mov’t…b4 you guys could at last understand that you can sh### on ur bed and complain/be surprised that ur bed is stinking.

      Slap wey I fit slap Ayuk, Sacko witi Cho dem face eh, sef Ngannou yi slap no reach ma own…

    • Your people have the right to self determination.
      But this has to be within the constitution.
      You have to right for a referendum.
      It is a basic human right to ask a community if they would like to be part of a family being called cameroon.
      Cameroon was never a choice of many communities. This construct was forced upon those communities sometimes against their will.
      The Ekang people support your struggle for self determination

  4. @Dr… ”BTW you and your generation are banned from the so called your country Ambazozo How hopeless!”.Ha ha ha..It is those your generation chiefs and fons that are auxillary to your administration that are banned from Ambasonia.They have all abandoned their palaces and are all on exile in LRC.Let them come and stay in their palaces and be ”auxillary to the administration”,since u are winning fatly.Ambasonia is ungovernable and it is Yaounde that is losing,not Ambasonia.The chiefs that are still in Ambasonia and collaborating with Yaounde are under heavy security,even the so called mayors,parliamentarians, and senators are on tight security.Is that how they will continue to leave their lives? If they are not banned from Ambasonia,why are they calling for security?How hopeless!

    • Kongosa, you still don’t get it after all your rhetoric. How does that concern Biya? The people feeling the impact are still your Anglophone brothers and sisters. While people in the French part of Cameroon are getting richer, enjoying a superior lifestyle akin to 21st century, you are here very proud to celebrate the misery you have brought to your people. Your people are dying from the lack of basics, with a collapsed health system. You launched a war in your region, to kill your own people and properties yet you expect Yaoundé to feel the effect. Are you even serious? Have you lots thought this rationally? With or without revenue from English Cameroon the country will still survive and will do just fine. However can you say the same about the people in English Cameroon?

  5. Dr. ” Kongosa, you still don’t get it after all your rhetoric. How does that concern Biya?”’….How is Ayuk Tabe or Cho Ayaba losing,if Yaounde is not getting any revenue from Ambasonia,?…How does that concern them? The people feeling the impact are Cameroonians.You are here very proud,celebrating the misery u have brought to Cameroonians.U declared a war against Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba and Cameroonians are now feeling the impact becos of collapsed health system,destruction of properties and u think Ayuk Tabe or Cho Ayaba is feeling the impact? did u think about this rationally? Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba have been surviving without the revenue in Ambasonia.However,can u say the same about Biya and his gang? Tic Tac Tic Tac…..

  6. Dr….. ”Your people are dying from the lack of basics, with a collapsed health system. U see why I say u are stupid? ”…..U see why I say u are stupid? Is Ayuk Tabe or Cho Ayaba,the people governing Cameroon?You are blaming the collapsed health system on Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba…Are they the ones governing Cameroon? How is a collapsed health system affecting Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba? the people feeling the impact are Cameroonians.Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba are not Cameroonians,how do u expect them to feel the impact of a collapsed health system in Cameroon? The last time I checked,it was Biya that was calling for reconstruction,not Ayuk Tabe nor Cho Ayaba.Did u have a rational thinking of this thing before declaring war on Ayuk Tabe and Cho Ayaba? They are not losing anything.

  7. Look at chiefs,that have ran away from their palaces..Did u think of this thing before declaring war on those guys?

  8. Mwambo (Buea son)

    Way to go, Cameroon!!! It all works for France.

    If you’ve been to France, you hear the mockery of African leaders and Africans by French media you would be amazed and ask the questions for an umpteenth time; WHY IS FRANCOPHONIE AFRICA LIKE THIS?

    I resist the temptation to question the African of Blacks because I have been to and seen remarkable progress in Ghana, Tanzania & Kenya.

    This worshipful behavior is what led to slavery and colonialism. Biya is a slave boy, so is his son and the rogue gang plaguing Cameroon and other nations like C. D’Ivoire and Gabon.

    It always starts this way. Embezzlers need a new French stooge. Now Germany, Spain & others who used to be shy of recruiting Africans to win medals are taking advantage of more hapless Africans who arrived by boat.

    Good luck!