Cameroon president, Paul Biya on Friday announced that he has plans to run for a seventh consecutive term in office in the October election.
Biya, 85, who has been head of state in the West African country for 35 years, wrote on his Twitter account: “I will be your candidate in the next presidential election.”
The Octogenarian strongman came into power in 1982 after his predecessor retired, and his bid for the seventh term in office could see him rule well into his 90s.
His long rule is marred by allegations of rights abuses though his nickname — “The Sphinx” — is well-deserved for his smooth, discreet profile that contrasts sharply with that of many of his flamboyant peers in Africa.
In the tweet confirming his re-election bid, Biya said he had decided to “respond positively to your overwhelming calls” to stand in the October 7 elections, bidding for a seventh consecutive term.
“I will be your candidate,” he said, adding that he was “aware of the challenges that we must face together for a Cameroon that is even more united, stable and prosperous”.
His announcement comes as the country is beset with an armed insurgency in two English-speaking regions in the west and cross-border incursions by Boko Haram jihadists in the far north.
The central African country has faced divisions since independence in 1960, and Biya’s party, the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC), sees itself as a unifying force.
Born on February 13, 1933, in a village 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of the capital Yaounde, Biya studied law in France before landing a government job on his return home in 1962.
He was named prime minister in 1975, and took over from Cameroon’s founding president Amadou Ahidjo, who was ailing, in November 1982, before he was first elected in 1984.