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Biya’s stability model is threatened by Cameroon’s identity crises

President Paul Biya has not survived in power for over 37 years by showing great sensitivity to local or international criticism, let alone by accommodating outright opposition. Like other leaders and sympathetic opinion-formers across Central Africa and beyond, he has rationalised authoritarian tendencies and crony relations by insisting on his regime’s essential role in ensuring stability. While governance shortfalls may define the daily lives of Cameroon’s multi-ethnic population, a nation created first by German colonisation and then by division between the British and French empires has traditionally avoided identity-based conflict.

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