Cameroon “irregular election” has court sequel


Opposition candidates who say last week’s presidential election in Cameroon was marred by fraud had appeals heard at the country’s Constitutional Council this week.

President Paul Biya is widely expected to extend his 36-year rule by winning a seventh term, making him one of Africa’s longest serving leaders.

Allegations of voter intimidation, violence and ballot-stuffing cast doubt on the October 7 election and raised political tensions ahead of results expected before Sunday.

Opposition candidate Maurice Kamto, who declared victory shortly after the vote without providing actual figures, asked the court to cancel results in seven regions of Cameroon.
“This election was absolutely irregular,” Emmanuel Simh, vice president of Kamto’s Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC) party, said in court.

Cameroon electoral body Elecam defended its organisation of the poll and said it had not seen proof of fraud. Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary dismissed allegations of fraud.

Candidates Joshua Osih and Cabral Libii asked for the results to be cancelled and the election to be re-run.

Civil society groups called for peaceful demonstrations against the election process, but none have taken place so far.

Opposition to another seven years of Biya rule comes amid a separatist insurgency in the English-speaking South West and North West regions where there were isolated incidents of violence on election day and few voted.

Crisis Group analyst Hans De Marie Heungoup estimated average voter participation of 55% in Francophone regions and five percent in Anglophone areas.

The major cocoa and oil producer experienced economic growth of over four percent a year since Biya was last elected in 2011, but many of its 24 million citizens still live in poverty.