The Cameroon presidential election Tuesday seemed headed for a long-drawn dispute with the government dismissing an opposition victory claim.
Incumbent President Paul Biya’s governing Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) strongly condemned the proclaimed win at Sunday’s election, saying it was a manoeuvre to compromise peace and tranquillity in the country.
The Cameroon Renaissance Movement's (CRM) candidate, Prof Maurice Kamto, Monday said he had won the vote, sending his supporters into street celebrations.
“I have received a clear mandate from the Cameroonian people which I will firmly defend right to the end and I want the national and international community to bear witness to this historic event that has ushered in a democratic political change in our country,” Prof Kamto said.
However, CPDM Secretary-General Jean Nkuete told a press conference in Yaoundé late Monday that the party was surprised and worried by the declaration which showed disregard for the rules of democracy and institutions.
Mr Nkuete said the CPDM and all its political allies considered the opposition’s auto proclaimed victory as a bid to “cause an uprising of the population to defend an imaginary victory, create an atmosphere of tension, insecurity and violence” in Cameroon.
“We express our surprise, our indignation and worry in the face of such seditious and irresponsible declarations that have no foundation.
“We ask all our compatriots to remain peaceful as we await the proclamation results of the election by the Constitutional Council within 15 days as provided for by the electoral code,” said the CPDM official.
Last Sunday’s vote took place amidst sporadic gunshots in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions where separatists have been fighting for the creation of their own state called Ambazonia.
A security plan
At least three separatists were killed as they attempted to disrupt the poll in Bamenda in the Northwest, while the convoy of a local administrative officer in Buea in the Southwest was attacked by armed separatist fighters, according to local media reports.
The separatists had warned that they would not allow any election organised by the Yaoundé regime to take place in “their country” but authorities said the vote took place hitch-free nationwide and in the diaspora.
The Director-General of the Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) Dr Erik Essousse, said polling stations opened and closed in accordance with the law, except for a few following a security plan established in the crisis-hit regions.
“Voting operations as a whole were conducted hitch-free within the country and in the diaspora,” Dr Essousse said, adding that 6,619,548 voters were dully enrolled in the country and in the diaspora. He did not give the tally of those who actually voted.
Members of the national vote counting commission began meeting in Yaoundé on Tuesday to examine tallies from local commissions in a crucial process to determining the poll winner.