Maurice Kamto

Cameroon Has Been Lead by the Same Man For Nearly 40 Years. Is Democratic Change Possible?

The President of Cameroon is named Paul Biya. He’s been the president of Cameroon since 1982. Before that, from 1975, he was prime minister. Depending on how you count it, Paul Biya of Cameroon is one of — if not the —  longest serving world leader.

My guest today, Maurice Kamto, challenged Paul Biya for the presidency in national elections in 2018. Kamto lost in what he plausibly claimed were rigged elections. He subsequently lead a peaceful protest movement against the government of Paul Biya —  until January last year when he was arrested and thrown in prison for ten months.

I spoke with Maurice Kamto while he was visiting Washington, D.C. And as you’ll learn from this conversation, Maurice Kamto very much credits the United States Congress with helping to secure his release from prison.

Maurice Kamto is a lawyer and professor of law with the University of Yaounde, in Cameroon. He is the leader of Cameroon Renaissance Movement, which is known by its French acronym the MRC.  We kick off this conversation discussing the circumstances of his arrest in January 2019 before having a longer conversation about the precarious nature of democracy in Cameroon today.

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A transcript of this episode is available here.