When you ask Cameroonians who was the first Head of State in Cameroon, many reply without hesitation: Ahmadou Ahidjo. Which is not true. It was rather André Marie Mbida. He was the first Prime Minister of the French-speaking autonomous Cameroon from 12 May 1957 to 16 February 1958. At the time, there was no President office as is the case today.
The reign of André Marie Mbida was short-lived. Barely elected in 1957, he had to face in 1958 a confidence crisis in his government. He was forced to resigned and replaced on 18 February by Ahmadou Ahidjo, his former Vice-President who later became President of the Republic from 1960 to 1982.
After his resignation, Mr Mbida went to prison in 1962 for having refused to merge his political party “Cameroonian Democrats Party” (PDC) with the single party at the time as requested by his successor. Mr Mbida passed away in 1980, blind at 63 years due to the abuse he was subjected to in prison. It occurred at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, in France, where he had been admitted two weeks earlier.