News / Africa

Cameroon Opposition Says Biya Manipulating Elections

FILE - Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks at the presidential palace in Yaounde, April 19, 2013
FILE - Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks at the presidential palace in Yaounde, April 19, 2013
Cameroon's Supreme Court is indicating it will not follow election laws that give it 10 days to rule on complaints and petitions concerning next month's parliamentary and council elections.  Opposition political leaders charge that President Paul Biya's party is manipulating rules to ensure it stays in power. 

Consistent inconsistencies have so far marred the electoral calendar in Cameroon.

First, the mandates of parliamentarians and councilors were extended several times by Biya, and elections that were supposed to be held last year were postponed until September 30.

Second, the Supreme Court, sitting as the Constitutional Council, had to examine complaints and petitions submitted by political parties within a maximum period of 10 days.  Not enough time, the court said.  

Supreme Court Justice Clement Atangana said extra days were needed to review the 265 petitions for council elections and 76 petitions for parliamentary elections the court received.

"It is not possible to study this number," he said.

However, some political parties said that decision disrupted their plans for fielding candidates for the election.

Paul Pufong, deputy secretary general of the Alliance of Progressive Forces, accused the court of not doing its job.

"Our party has lawyers and the lawyers are very busy at the Supreme Court and by the end of the day, I think they will come back with useful information," he said.

Some of the petitions are calling for the polls to be delayed again, saying the president violated the electoral code when he postponed the voting several times.

Lawyer Joseph Mbah Ndam, who is legal adviser of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, has a rundown of some other complaints the court is handling.

"The vast majority of the petitions are centered around members of some political parties being on the lists of other political parties, there are so many.  There are cases that are baseless in law, and there are some that are founded, well grounded in the law," he said.

The ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, CPDM, has been accused of rigging the elections.  The party is sure to win about 100 out of 180 parliamentary seats and about 250 out of 360 councils in constituencies where they are unchallenged or are competing with very weak parties.

One of the people defending the ruling CPDM is professor Ngole Ngole Elvis.

"All the 30 political parties running have an equal chance of winning something, but because the balance of forces in this sort of inter-associational competition is always asymmetrical, some political parties will gain more than the others, and in this case the CPDM party has an edge because in organizational terms, in financial terms, political ideology, the CPDM is in all local constituencies with the exception of one," he said.

The elections body also rejected some 100 candidates filing for the two elections.  An official of the electoral board in Cameroon said they turned down the nomination papers because a majority of political parties did not respect provisions of the electoral code.

The elections are firmly set for September 30.  However, the Peoples Action Party of Ayah Paul, who left the ruling CPDM, has called for the total cancellation of the election, calling it a joke.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid