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The President of the Republic of Cameroon, Paul Biya, attends the 34th session of the general conference of Unesco, 23 October 2007 in Paris.

Cameroon Commences Regional Elections Amidst Opposition Party Boycott

Cameroon's President Paul Biya has commenced regional elections despite opposition party's boycott which has called for Biya's 40-year presidential rule to end.

Cameroon has reportedly held its first ever regional elections, this according to Al Jazeera. This comes after national protests erupted in September against current President Paul Biya. Cameroonian government reportedly stated that the regional elections, held this past Sunday, are a democratic correction that will ensure greater political autonomy. However, opposition parties boycotted the elections and have reportedly called the process a ruse to strengthen Biya's political rule.


Read: Cameroon Protests Call for End to President Paul Biya's 40-Year Rule

According to Africa CGTN, polls opened on Sunday morning in the capital of Douala at 08:00AM. A reported 24 000 electoral college comprised of traditional chiefs and regional delegates were expected to vote. The election determines 900 regional councillors in Cameroon's 10 regions distributed at 90 councillors per region. Biya stated that regional elections are a way to decentralise government by fulfilling a law that was passed in 1996, while he was president, but was never acted on. Coincidentally the elections comes at a time when the overwhelming majority of the regional electoral college are Biya supporters.

Cameroon's two main opposition parties, Maurice Kamto's Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC) and the Social Democratic Front (SDF) boycotted the polls. The parties' boycott appeared to have no effect on the elections which reportedly went on smoothly according to Africa CGTN. Kamto lead nation wide anti-Biya protests in September.

Regional governments will have authority of over infrastructure and regional matters but will have no say in national laws or matters of the Senate in Yaounde. Biya reportedly implemented the election to quell separatist violence which began in 2016 and became increasingly violent in 2017. The country has a long running conflict between English speakers and French speakers. A largely French-speaking country, protests have been rising from English speakers who have demanded the right to work in English. According to VoA, one voter fatality has reportedly been caused by separatist forces in Cameroon's English-speaking Northwest region. Election results have yet to be officially released. Paul Biya at 87-years-old has been president for 40 years.

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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