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Cameroon Opposition Demands Annulment of Poll

  • Peter Clottey

Cameroon's President Paul Biya waves to supporters during the opening of his party conference, in Yaounde, on September 15, 2011.

Cameroon's President Paul Biya waves to supporters during the opening of his party conference, in Yaounde, on September 15, 2011.

The leader of the Cameroon People’s Party (CPP) says her group along with several opposition parties is demanding the Supreme Court annul the October 9 presidential election.

Edith Kahbang Walla says the political parties are also calling for a complete overhaul of the electoral system, which she said is broken.

“The reason for our common stance is that we saw an election which had technical irregularities…and technical incompetence on the part of ELECAM [Cameroon’s electoral board],” said Walla. “All seven signatories have deposited requests to the Supreme Court to have these elections annulled.”

The opposition argues that “sensitive” voter materials were poorly mishandled by electoral officials.

But ELECAM officials deny the accusations. Samuel Fonkam, ELECAM’s chairman, insists a system was established allowing all parties to monitor the elections and to register complaints with the commission if necessary.

In an interview with VOA, ELECAM’s top official said “at all the levels of the [organization], political parties and opinion leaders are involved in the process as witnesses,” said Fonkam. “The system is such that if the political parties participate as they should, at all the levels, they should be able to control what is happening.”

But, Walla said the opposition parties unanimously agree there should be fresh presidential elections within the next six months, contending the vote was fraught with irregularities and illegality.

Some analysts have expressed concern that it will be too expensive for ELECAM to organize fresh polls, and that it is unlikely the Supreme Court will annul the vote. But, Walla said despite the cost, the opposition will continue to push for fresh polls to ensure democracy is entrenched in Cameroon.

“The election of our head of state is a matter of national importance. We cannot say that we made errors, and it was fraudulent, but sorry, we spent a lot of money and cannot do it over again. That is unacceptable,” said Walla. “We are talking about [guaranteeing] democracy....”

Meanwhile, local reports suggest the chairman of the Supreme Court has signaled that final results of the vote will be announced on Friday, ahead of the October 25 deadline as stipulated in the constitution.

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