In Cameroon, the president of the Senate is rightly the constitutional successor to President Paul Biya. Article 4 of the Constitution of 18th January,1996 stipulates that in case of vacancy at the Presidency of the Republic, due to death, resignation or permanent incapacity, the president of the Senate takes over as the interim head of state until the election of the new President of the Republic. The President of the Senate, Marcel Niat Njifenji in the present state of affairs is the one who will succeed Paul Biya.
Following recent photos of President Biya celebrating his 83rd birthday, a lot of tongues have been waging on whether the president of the senate has the physical and moral strength to run a nation with very weak institutions? Some pro CPDM comedians hinted recently that age is a source of experience and wisdom.They added that if Senate president Marcel Niat were to succeed President Paul Biya, he will continue with what they described as "such great works" such as completing the construction of the port of Kribi, the building of many electric power plants in the country. Some even suggested that Marcel Niat was the right man for Cameroon's top job.
However, Jean Emmanuel Mpouma of the African Movement for New Independence and Democracy (Manidem) opined that there was not nothing different between Mr. Biya 83 and Mr. Niat who is presently 82 years of age. A majority of Cameroonians are of the reasoning that, there 'will be no change in policy and governance if Marcel Niat becomes head of state since it will simply be a matter of reproducing the same system, whose defects, slag and dysfunctions have already been criticized for more than three deades.
A cross section of the Cameroonian youth in a recent opinion poll conducted by our Yaounde bureau said Cameroon can not emerge in 2035 with Biya or Marcel Niat as leader. Some constitutional law experts observed on state owned radio and television that the problem was the absence of a constitutional court and term limits. Issues such as how to interpret the basic law have also been raised. Whether Marcel Niat succeeds Biya or not, Cameroon is likely going to be another flash point in Sub Sahara Africa.