Founded in 1961 when French Cameroon and British Cameroon were united in a single independent state, though independence did not extend beyond the presidential palace to the people. Ahmadou Ahidjo ruled until 1982 when Paul Biya took over with his euphemistically named Cameroonian People's Democratic Movement (RDPC), and agreed to move from one-party to multi-party elections, which of course he won in 1992, 1997, 2004 and again in 2011, having changed the constitution to allow himself not to step down after a specific number of terms, and having locked down the electoral system in such a way that the only other party that had a chance was the Post Election Victory Party. Thank God God didn’t give human beings eternal life, or he and Mugabe and Castro and several others around the world would be there for ever!
Cameroon went to war with Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula, which is rich with oil, and won; not the war, but an international court ruling granting it possession; the Nigerian parliament has declared that ruling illegal and the dispute goes on. Southern Cameroon, which is English speaking, seceded in the 1990s, but of course the government declared the secession illegal. Militants from the Boko Haram group have set up bases in northern Cameroon, though their endeavours appear for the moment to be exclusively against Nigeria. Two odd facts, reported on the BBC’s website – Cameroon has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and also one of the highest levels of corruption. The two do not seem to be interconnected.
Cameroon scores (pun intended) marks on this blog for the quality of its football team,, known as "The Indomitable Lions", which has reached the World Cup finals on seven occasions, more than any other African team, though they have only once got through to the quarter-final stages, in 1990, where they lost to England in extra time. Sorry, but I had to rub it in!
Marks are also awarded for one of the most architecturally interesting sculptures in the world - the Reunification Monument in Yaounde, the capital, pictured above.
Marks For: 3
Marks Against: 7
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