Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is scheduled to be sworn in at the National Assembly in the capital, Yaoundé today (Tuesday).
Information minister Issa Tchiroma says Cameroonians are united behind Mr. Biya’s pledge to continue implementing policies that will help develop the country.
“We are very much delighted for having been part of the process which led to his re-election. And we are also delighted because all over the country, peace is reigning,” said Tchiroma. “We are ready to come together in order to be behind the head of state and help him translate his vision into reality.”
Twenty-two contestants challenged the incumbent for the presidency, including veteran opposition leader John Fru Ndi of the Social Democratic Front (SDF).
Mr. Biya begins a 6th term in office today after he was declared winner of the October 9 presidential election. He has been in power since November 6, 1982.
Observers said voter turnout was extremely low: many Cameroonians expressed apathy, saying the winner had already been selected. Tchiroma denies Mr. Biya is to blame for the low voter turnout.
Cameroon’s elections board (ELECAM) said about seven million registered to vote. They included, for the first time, citizens outside Cameroon who voted in the country’s embassies and consulates around the world.
Several opposition parties presented petitions rejecting the election result, claiming voter irregularities and fraud affected the credibility of the vote.
But Cameroon’s Supreme Court upheld Mr. Biya’s victory, saying the petitions failed to prove massive fraud or rigging.
Tchiroma said “the people have spoken” after Mr. Biya was declared winner. He also called upon the country’s international partners to help Yaoundé to ensure future elections are devoid of irregularities.
“We wish our best friends, America, the French, Britain, Germany… to stand by us when there is something wrong, to help us fix the flaws [and] to make right all the shortcomings here and there. That’s how best to address such a problem,” he said.