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Cameroon Government Dismisses Opposition Threats to Disrupt Polls

  • Peter Clottey

Cameroon's incumbent President Paul Biya

Cameroon's incumbent President Paul Biya

Cameroon’s information minister has dismissed a threat by the main opposition Social Democratic Front [SDF] to disrupt the October presidential election.

He calls the threat “overly ambitious and pretentious.”

Issa Tchiroma, who also heads the opposition Front for the National Salvation of Cameroon, says allegations of repression, intimidation and harassment of opponents of the ruling party are unfounded.

“They have no grounds [and] no reasons whatsoever [to disrupt the election] because they haven’t been mandated by the opposition in general,” said Tchiroma.

The SDF claims irregularities during the recent voter registration process.

But, Tchiroma said the opposition has failed to use proper channels to address their concerns ahead of the vote.

“[They are] completely wrong. They use a prism, which completely distorts the reality. This is fact,” said Tchiroma.

He said the SDF will be contravening the constitution if it disrupts the vote.

Tchiroma denies accusations that opponents of the administration are being prevented from campaigning on radio and television.

“The state does not interfere at all in the editorial lines of those television [and radio] stations,” Tchiroma said.

But, the leader of the main opposition party, John Fru Ndi, insists there is no level-playing field and that the electoral commission lacks independence, which he said will undermine the credibility of the presidential vote.

“The opposition has for years been calling for an independent electoral body that will conduct elections that will be free, fair and transparent. But, they ignored all of them,” said Fru Ndi.

He also said that the composition of the top leadership of the electoral commission comprises former members of the ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People [RDPC], a charge the RDPC denies.

“It is easier and better for us to disrupt the elections and we stop there and make sure that things go rightly in Cameroon than to take the North African style [uprisings],” said Ndi.

The electoral commission says so far, five presidential aspirants, including incumbent President Paul Biya, have declared their intentions to run in the October elections.

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