Cameroon’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, Monday received the final tallies of the October 7 presidential election in which incumbent Paul Biya sought a seventh term of office.
The handing over by the national vote counting commission marks a crucial phase towards the proclamation of the final outcome of the election.
The court will on Tuesday begin hearing petitions from individuals and groups calling for the cancellation of the poll, which the incumbent is expected to win.
Mr Malego Joseph Asse, the secretary-general of the eight-months-old 11-member court said in a statement that the hearing of the 18 petitions will begin at 11am (+1GMT) at the Yaoundé conference centre.
Among those who have petitioned the court are three major challengers of the incumbent, who have either called for a total or partial annulment of the vote, alleging fraud and irregularities.
Mr Joshua Osih, the candidate of the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF) party and Mr Cabral Libii of the National Union for Integration Towards Solidarity (UNIVERS) party, have called for a “complete annulment” of the electoral process.
Mr Osih alleged that the vote was “marred by a string of irregularities that undermine national unity and seriously compromise the sincerity of its results,” while Mr Libii said “the election was neither free, democratic nor transparent”.
Prof Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), who earlier claimed victory, want the judicial institution to revoke the vote in seven of 10 administration regions, citing "multiple irregularities, cases of fraud and violation of the law".
The seven regions include the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest that have been rocked by an escalating separatist movement for about two years now. The petitioner said the crisis had displaced the electorate and polling stations and the result of any election conducted in that condition could neither be credible nor transparent.
Free and fair
The CRM candidate said he was unable to campaign in the two regions because of insecurity and “the refusal by the Minister of Defence to put forces at his disposal to ensure his security”.
Cameroon poll agency ELECAM has denied any malpractices, maintaining the vote was free and fair.
“As of this day, a general observation reveals that the election was conducted free and fair, in an atmosphere of serenity and calm….we therefore exhort all candidates to demonstrate maximum restraint and wait for the proclamation of the results,” ELECAM chairman Enow Abrams Egbe said last Friday.
The Constitutional Council is expected to proceed with the proclamation of the final outcome after hearing the petitions. The final results must be announced by October 22, according to the law.