AFCON 2022: All eyes will be on Cameroon’s 88-year-old president as he makes his first public appearance in a year.
Cameroon’s 88-year-old leader, Paul Biya, will make a rare public appearance on the occasion of the first match of the African Cup of Nations football tournament, which Cameroon will host from January 9 to February 6.
On 9 January at 5 p.m., all eyes will be on the presidential stand at the Olembé stadium, and the full cross-section of the CPDM party’s diplomats, businesspeople, and barons will be craning their necks in an effort to judge Biya’s physical condition.
Biya has faded into obscurity, having been replaced at all formal events, seldom appearing in public, and rarely attending meetings. This has fueled concern about his health and ability to lead, but without direct touch with the president, everyone is left to speculate.
Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football, was the final foreign dignitary to be hosted by Cameroon’s president, who welcomed Motsepe at the Unity Palace on December 21. Prior to this, on September 24, the Italian ambassador to Cameroon, Marco Romiti, had an interview with Biya.
Biya received less than twenty foreign diplomats in total throughout 2021, and if courtesy receptions for leaving ambassadors are omitted, the tally drops to less than ten. The French ambassador Christophe Guilhou was the only one who had an audience with him twice.
The Cameroonian leader presently spends most of his time in his hometown of Mvomeka’a in the country’s south.
The president was seen there in early December, wearing a white Stetson and in the company of his son Franck Biya and his wife Chantal Biya on the occasion of her birthday.