Cameroon top court rejects Kamto, Osih petitions; Biya victory expected

Kamto, Osih petitions dismissed, ELECAM to announce results?

Cameroon’s Constitutional Council on Thursday threw out the remaining
two poll petitions that it had admitted from a pool of 18 seeking
partial or total cancellation of the October 7 presidential elections.

The two were filed by main opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF and
the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, led by ex-Biya appointee,
Maurice Kamto. Osih had decried what he described as a state of
apartheid in English-speaking regions, where most people could not cast
votes due to insecurity.

The decision said to be a unanimous one by the judicial body paves the
way for the declaration of results in a poll largely expected to hand
incumbent Paul Biya a new seven-year term.

The opposition parties had alleged widespread irregularities insecurity
and low turnout especially in restive Anglophone regions but the court
held that it was not enough basis to warrant their demands.

The ruling CPDM and elections body, ELECAM, strongly defended the
conduct of the polls stressing that the process had been free, fair and

Cameroon poll petition, Team Kamto ruffle Council, SDF case to he heard today

Hearings will continue today, October 18, in Yaounde where two main
opposition parties are challenging the presidential polls of October 7
before the Constitutional Council.

Sixteen of eighteen petitions were dismissed by the Council on the first
day of its sitting earlier this week. The only two admitted were that
of main opposition parties, the Social Democratic Front, SDF, and the
Cameroon Renaissance movement, CRM.

The CRM, led by former minister Maurice Kamto, went into the polls in a
coalition with Akere Muna’s Now Movement. Kamto has since close of polls
claimed that he won the vote.

Maurice Kamto: The ‘star player’ in Cameroon polls?

He stressed before the Council that he stood by the declaration: “My
declaration on 8th October was based on information from my
representatives in some polling stations in most regions,” state-owned
CRTV quoted him as saying.

Himself, Muna and a team of lawyers have taken center stage at
proceedings before the Council. First, asking some members of the
council to recuse themselves over partiality and demanding a neutral
body sits on the petition, both instances were rejected as being without

On the substantive case, Team Kamto, have taken turns to present
evidence before the Council to prove their case of gross electoral
infractions and the subsequent need to scrap the entire process. The
ruling CPDM and elections body, ELECAM, have responded by saying the
claims where wholly untrue.

The SDF’s legal team will take their turn today to present the facts
underlying their call for a total cancellation of the vote. Meanwhile,
reports indicate that a ruling is expected today on the Kamto team’s

Cameroon throws out 16 poll petitions, Kamto’s fight against ‘biased’ council flops

Cameroon’s Constitutional Council yesterday, October 16, dismissed as
many as sixteen of eighteen post-poll petitions presented before it by
aggrieved opposition members and parties.

Among those whose applications were dismissed were Cabral Libii. Self
acclaimed poll winner, Maurice Kamto, leader of the Cameroon Renaissance
Movement, CRM, was himself present in court to make submissions.

Kamto had advanced an argument of partiality on the part of the Council
as he sought the disqualification of six members. He accused them of
being persons who had the interest of the ruling CPDM at heart and thus
unfit for the exercise.

He was ruled as not having a strong enough basis to demand for another
judicial body to sit on the issue. The sitting which took place in
Yaounde was suspended at a time Kamto’s party was to adduce evidence on
irregularities in areas it wanted results cancelled.

Leader of the Council, Clement Atangana, has long been accused of been a
loyalist of incumbent Paul Biya. Biya is seeking a seventh term in
office, his fourth under the multi-party era.

READ MORE: Biya’s multi-party era winning record

No-show on ‘ghost observers’ presser, poll petition starts

Today is the day elections petitions – 18 in all – are expected to be
heard by the Constitutional Council sitting in the capital Yaounde.

Individuals and parties are seeking partial and in some cases total cancellation of the October 7 presidential polls.

Yesterday, there was a no-show despite widely publicized news that the
government through information minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, was to
explain the “ghost observers,” who claimed to be from Transparency
international, TI.

The said observers had given top marks to the election process last week
but also attracted a disavowal by TI who said they had no observers
dispatched to Cameroon for such reasons.

The camp of self-acclaimed poll winner Maurice Kamto has also been
buzzing. Kamto’s camp were barred from holding a press conference in
Yaounde yesterday even though he issued a statement on Facebook
dismissing reports of a Biya victory of 71%.

Kamto’s also received his party’s treasurer who was released from jail
after over a week. The CRM Treasurer, Okala Ebode, had been behind bars
for 8 days because he denounced electoral fraud, local portals said.

Date set for petition hearing, Biya victory leaked?

State-owned Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV, late last week reported
that a date had been fixed to hear election petitions filed in relation
to the October 7 presidential elections.

The date is October 16, 2018 at the Yaounde Convention Center. The
election body, ELECAM, has confirmed receiving 18 petitions filed at the
Constitutional Council.

The petitioners including major opposition parties are seeking partial
and in some cases total cancellation of the results. Already, one
candidate, Maurice Kamto has claimed victory in a move widely condemned
by government and the ruling party.

Meanwhile, local media portals are reporting that a leaked result shows
that president Paul Biya was in the lead with over 71% of votes cast.
The government or ELECAM has yet to confirm or deny the information.

The fight against fake news was one of the core campaign issues ahead of
the election. Yaounde had gone as far as seek the help of social media
giants, Facebook, to help combat the menace.

18 poll petitions deposited at Constitutional Council, ELECAM confirms.

Elections body, ELECAM, on Thursday confirmed that it had been served
legal challenges to the October 7 presidential polls. A total of 18
individuals and parties had approached the Constitutional Council.

“They are thus allowed 48 hours to submit their replies, against a
receipt. Section 133 (3) od the Electoral Code,” it added in a tweet.

Meanwhile a local journalist is reporting that the main opposition
Social Democratic Front, SDF, candidate, Joshua Osih in his application
to the Council is seeking a total cancellation of the process.

ELECAM has fifteen day period to release results but opposition parties
hold that it is largely a period during which results are manipulated.
An Aspirant, Maurice Kamto claimed victory on Monday with a government
response branding him as “irresponsible and lawless.”

October 11: Opposition seeking total, partial cancellation of results

State broadcaster, CRTV, have confirmed reports that a number of
opposition parties had approached the court over the October 7
presidential elections.

CRTV said in a tweet on Thursday, four days after the vote, that a total
of 17 applications had been made to the Constitutional Council
demanding partial and in some cases total cancellation of the vote.

They confirmed that among the applicants before the top court were main
opposition leader Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, and
Maurice Kamto who led an opposition coalition that involved Akere Muna, a
famed lawyer.

October 10: Kamto camp wants probe into CRTV report

Local media in Cameroon are reporting that the camp of opposition
contender Maurice Kamto on Wednesday afternoon held a press conference
in the capital Yaounde amid deployment of heavy security.

Kamto’s spokesperson among other demands called for a probe into the
false report carried by state broadcaster, CRTV. Kamto’s camp said the
TV and ministry responsible for accreditation needed to be probed.

CRTV had carried a news item on Tuesday alleging that Transparency
International, TI, had given high marks to the October 7 process. TI in a
statement denied the report.

Other issues he raised were that: There was a ploy to blame violence on
Kamto, that there was growing tension in the country. He also flatly
denied that Kamto was being financed by politicians held in prison over
an anti-corruption crackdown, Operation Epervier.

Kamto, leader of a two-party alliance declared on Monday, barely
twenty-four hours after the vote that he won an emphatic victory.
Government slammed his announcement describing it as “irresponsible,

The spokesman clarified in later reports that Kamto had only claimed
victory based on figures and projections. “Maurice Kamto did not
proclaim himself president, he claimed victory, it’s not the same
thing,” Olivier Nissack reportedly said.

Photo credit: @HmpAfrica

October 9: State TV accused of fake observer report

Cameroon radio and television, CRTV, the state broadcaster has been
exposed by international rights group Transparency International, TI,
over a report that the group’s observer team had ‘blessed’ the conduct
of the October 7 presidential polls.

CRTV shared a video that purported to have observers with TI but the
group in a press statement said it had not sent a team to observe the

“Transparency International confirms that it has no international
election observation mission in Cameroon. A recent television report
featuring individuals described as working for Transparency
International is false and untrue,” a statement read.

It is the most significant development surrounding the polls since
opposition candidate Maurice Kamto declared that he had won a clear
mandate from the people.

The former Biya minister had been dismissed by the government describing
his move as irresponsible and illegal. Kamto’s coalition ally, Akere
Muna, is a former TI top official. He resigned to contest the
presidential polls but entered an alliance with Kamto less than 24-hours
to the vote.

October 8: Kamto makes unofficial victory declaration

Voting closed in Cameroon in Sunday evening and counting of ballots
started in earnest. Main opposition Social Democratic Front, SDF, vowed
to police the counting and results declaration process.

But it is the declaration of victory by Maurice Kamto, a former Biya
minister that has thrown the process into a state of shock. Kamto who
led a two-party alliance involving famed lawyer Akere Muna said the goal
of his party had been reached.

A summary of the issues he raised in his victory speech (in French) is as follows:

Cameroonians have chosen to go down a historic path by voting out the incumbent.

He has won a clear mandate he is ready to defend firmly.

Called on Paul Biya to make transition arrangement to avert needless post-poll crisis.

His supporters can remain joyful and proud of the achievement.

The government has yet to officially react to the development but
electoral laws suggest that it is an offense to declare oneself winner
of the elections. A point that had been stressed by government in the
run up to the vote.

Sections of the Electoral System stipulates that the President of the
Republic is elected for a seven-year term by universal suffrage and by
direct, equal and secret ballot.

According to the Cameroon electoral code, the president is elected by a
single-round majority ballot and the candidate having obtained the
majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected.

It also states that election will not be complete until Cameroon’s
Supreme Court rules on requests for annulment and announces the results.

October 7, 2018: Cameroon polls take place amid high security in English-speaking zones

Cameroonians voted on Sunday (October 7) in a key presidential election
which could end or extend the 36-year rule of President Paul Biya, one
of Africa’s longest serving leaders.

Polls opened at 0800 local (0700GMT) across much of the country
including areas in the restive English-speaking regions. Security has
been heightened with armed personnel deployed outside most poling

Reuters reports that three separatists have been shot dead in Bamenda,
capital of the northwest region of the country. The northwest and
southwest regions have been the epicenter of what has become known as
the Anglophone crisis.

A security source told Reuters that the trio had been gunned down for
attempting to disrupt the voting process. Separatist groups have vowed
to stop the polls from taking place in both regions.

Red carpet for Biya, aspirants cast ballots

Did you know that diaporans are voting?

Indeed, Cameroonians in the diaspora are joining in the process of choosing the next president of the country.

Elections body, ELECAM, shared photos of people casting their ballot
outside of the country. Among other places, people in Malabo, Cairo,
Brussels and Tel Aviv are all voting.

Will opposition coalition count for much?

In a surprise and belated move with about 24-hours to opening of polls,
two opposition members announced a long-expected alliance. Former
Biya-era minister Maurice Kamto agreed a coalition with famed lawyer
Akere Muna.

Muna’s correspondence to the elections body, ELECAM, to step down as a
candidate was however turned down. He has asked his supporters to vote
for Kamto. A reported third coalition member, Serge Espoir Matomba,
denied agreeing to join late Saturday.

Political watchers said despite the coalition being a welcome move, it
had come too late in the day but that its impact will be properly
assessed after the close of polls and in the stage of results

Ex-Togo PM leads AU observers, EU backed out

The European Union, EU, said it will not deploy observers to Cameroon as it has done in almost all previous votes across Africa.

But the African Union, AU, has a team in the country led by former
Togolese Prime Minister, Artheme Ahoomey Zunu Kwesi Agbefia Seleakodji
Lolonyo. The EU and UN have all called for peaceful and transparent

Biya, the 85-year-old long-server gunning to soldier on

A victory for Biya, who has ruled since 1982, would usher in a seventh
term for the 85-year-old and see him stay until at least the age of 92,
bucking a tentative trend in Africa where many countries have installed
presidential term limits.

It would maintain a long held status quo in the oil and cocoa producing
Central African country where, despite relative economic stability and
growth of over 4 percent a year since Biya was last elected in 2011,
many of its 24 million citizens live in deep poverty. Most have only
known one president.

Of Biya’s biggest challenges has been the year-old secessionist uprising
in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions that has cost
hundreds of lives and forced thousands to flee either to the
French-speaking regions or into neighbouring Nigeria.

It further complicates Cameroon’s security mix, that is, for a country
that is still battling Boko Haram insurgents in its Far North region. A
new security region was set up in Bamenda in what was seen as a security
solution to the separatists.

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