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Mbida to contest presidency after 13-year exile

media Cameroonian Presidential hopeful, Louis Tobie Mbida in Paris on Tuesday Tony Cross

After almost 13 years in voluntary exile, Louis Tobie Mbida, leader of the Cameroonian Party of Democrats (CPD), announced he will return to Yaoundé on 2 September and is planning to run in the presidential elections in 2011.

Mbida, son of Cameroon’s first Prime Minister, André-Marie Mbida has been leader-in-exile of the Cameroonian Party of Democrats (CPD) since 1992.

Louis Tobie Mbida, Cameroonian Party of Democrats 01/09/2010 - by RFI Listen

Speaking to RFI in Paris where he has spent most of his time in exile, Mbida criticised the government of President Paul Biya, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982.

“The country has fallen apart today. [The government] demonstrate they are not able to build up the country.”

“We have the right to stand up and say, ‘let us build the country’, but for that we need the Cameroonians to help us. They can only do that if they stop being afraid of weapons, of soldiers, afraid of magistrates.”

“Government hasn’t even brought the minimum for its people,” he added.

Mbida says he left Cameroon following “financial harassment”, but was not anxious about his return.

“I’m not personally anxious,” he said. “But I’m a chief of a family and have people around me - I don’t want them to be hurt.”

Mbida says he took the decision to return a year ago.

“I spent the last year analysing the political situation in Cameroon,” he said. “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to begin again.”

During his time in exile, Mbida initially lived in Germany, then studied as a molecular biologist in France. He is a practising doctor.

Mbida says upon his return on 2 September he plans to travel the country to promote his candidature for the presidency.

“I want to travel. I will go everywhere and meet Cameroonians.”

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