Cameroon’s main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) says it will file a protest Monday to the country's electoral commission to dispute Sunday’s parliamentary and municipal elections. This comes after the SDF alleged widespread rigging and bribery during Sunday’s voting. But the ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) dismissed the oppositions claim as baseless and without merit.
John Fru Ndi is the chairman of the main opposition SDF. From Bamenda, about 350 kilometers outside the capital, Yaoundé he tells reporter Peter Clottey that there were several reports of multiple voting for the ruling party across the country.
“The elections were rigged right from the beginning where the president called the electorates and he had to come back to start creating constituencies without having the results of the census. So these constituencies were cupped in a way that was punishing to the people instead of serving the people. And the day that they gave for the people to close filing in the documents, when they found out that his party the CPDM had not filed in their own documents they had to postpone that day for a week,” Fru Ndi said.
He said monies that were asked from aspiring parliamentary candidates were exorbitant.
“The monies that they had to take… for parliament and council, parliament rose from 50,000 francs to 500,000 [about $100 to $1,000]. And in this country that is a highly indebted poor country, how did he expect people to get this money? So these irregularities first disenfranchised the people, now they said they were computerizing the registration, we noticed that in Santa, for instance, the first list that came out, which people saw their names they were happy, at the polling station they saw but a different list with different names,” he said.
Fru Ndi said although the opposition anticipated vote rigging, it decided to participate in Sunday’s elections to make people aware of potential problems.
“Yes, but you are drawing the attention; the commonwealth came in trying to regularize it, and a couple of other international organizations. The foreign embassies here tried to intervene to let Mr. Biya come out with free fair and transparent elections. And if we didn’t go into it, they were going to make things look very free and fair that they would say, look, this is what we are doing and the opposition has refused. But because we go (went) in, they tightened up. This is what we are talking about,” Fru Ndi noted.
He said his party has taken note of what he described as overwhelming voter irregularities and would soon be challenging the election results.
“Well, we are writing down our reports; we’ve taken notes of all illegalities. If the exam papers are seen the day before the exam, it means that the exams have been rigged or leaked out, and they don’t’ regard them…but Cameroon being what it is, no matter how hard we try, the international community would come in to say okay let us manage it and see how we improve on [it]. You improving on rigging and stealing and all the likes,” he said.
Fru Ndi blamed the international community for giving excuses when it has the opportunity to correct election irregularities in Cameroon each time the opportunity presented itself.
“When we draw the attention of the international community to all these illegalities and irregularities, they talk to you about sovereignty. But when there is a war and people start killing themselves they come in to intervene, there is no issue of sovereignty again. And the Cameroonians that would be running here would come to America to flood the place. Instead of having brain drain because of illegal elections, we want a brain gain that elections are fairly conducted. Let the CPDM win in a free fair transparent elections; we will support them,” Fru Ndi said.
Although the election results are yet to be announced, Fru Ndi said his party would be filing a petition Monday to challenge Sunday’s parliamentary and municipal elections.
“Yes, we’ve already written a couple of them and tomorrow [Monday] we start filing them in,” he said.