Cameroonian President Paul Biya won in the October 7 presidential election with 71 percent of the vote, extending his 36-year rule as one of Africa’s longest-standing leaders.
The 85-year-old, has ruled the country for 36 years, pledged to uphold the “integrity” and “unity” of the country in a ceremony overseen by parliamentary speaker Cavaye Yeguie Djibril.
Biya re-election has been contested by opposition candidates, who alleged widespread irregularities, including ballot stuffing and voter intimidation. The Constitutional Court, however, upheld the result late last month, dismissing 18 claims of voter fraud.
Biya, from Cameroon’s south, has been head of state since 1982 when he took over following the resignation of Ahmadou Ahidjo who was in power since independence in 1960.
Under Ahidjo, Biya worked as a bureaucrat in the 1960s, serving as secretary-general of the presidency from 1968 to 1975, and then as prime minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982.
Anglophone separatists have also protested against Biya’s French-speaking government and its perceived marginalisation of the country’s English-speaking minority.
Biya acknowledged “frustrations and aspirations” among Cameroon’s English speakers during his swearing-in ceremony, pledging to pursue a policy of decentralisation.,france24 reports.