Cameroon's electoral body. Elections Cameroon, or Elecam, has given the green-light to nine presidential candidates to run in the Oct. 7 elections. Incumbent president Paul Biya, leader of the Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, or CPDM, is seeking to extend his 36 years in office by winning a new seven-year mandate.
Joshua Osih, a member of the Social Democratic Front, or SDF, as well as attorney and former head of the country's bar association, Akere Muna, will be his main competitors.
Other candidates vying for the top political seat in the east African country will be: Serge Espoir Matomba, Cabral Libii, Njifor Franklin, Maurice Kamto, Garga Haman and Ndam Njoya.
More than twenty presidential hopefuls filed to run for office, however, Elecam disqualified all but nine, according to Africa News.
The upcoming presidential election is viewed as a major test for Biya. The incumbent president is facing increasing movements in the country's Anglophone region who are seeking independence from the Francophone dominant country.
Pro-independence groups from the South-West and North-West anglophone regions, organized under the banner of the Ambazonia Republic, are waging ongoing, guerilla-style attacks on members of the security forces.
French and English are both official languages in Cameroon. However, the anglophone regions have felt marginalized from the rest of the country ever since its independence from France 56 years ago.
Discrimination among English-speakers, and the fact that Biya's government has been led by the Francophone regions, have led to calls for the independent state of Ambazonia.
In recent months, teachers, lawyers and other members of the professional class in the Anglophone regions have protested against the alleged imposition of French in courts and schools, leading to hundreds of arrests and hospitalizations, according to France24.
At least eight people were shot dead by soldiers and more wounded during pro-independence protests in Oct. 2017.