International observers have expressed satisfaction with the conduct of Sunday’s presidential election in Cameroon.
At a press conference in Yaoundé on Tuesday, a group of international observation missions, led by the African Union, said the vote took place within a political context that “was generally peaceful”.
The head of the AU observation mission, Mr Artheme Kwesi Ahoomey Zunu, said in a preliminary assessment that the vote respected the principles of democracy and transparency stipulated in national and continental laws.
The former Togolese Prime Minister noted that there were some challenges, especially in the Northwest, Southwest and Far North regions, due to the ongoing anglophone crisis and the Boko Haram menace.
“The security environment resulted in curtailment of civil and political liberties in these regions thereby impacting negatively on the level of participation of citizens in the electoral process,” Mr Zunu said.
He, however, noted that the atmosphere on polling day was generally peaceful as there were no major incidents to influence the election's general conduct.
The AU declarations were corroborated by other international observation missions, including the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Pan-African Institute for Electoral Assistance (IPAE).
ECCAS head of mission Raymond Tshibanda said; “the 7 October presidential election took place in a calm and peaceful manner” while Emmanuel Nadingar, head of IPAE, also said the polls were credible.
Both observation missions stated that their declarations were preliminary as an entire assessment of the process could not be immediately produced, given that vote counting was still on-going.
Last Sunday’s vote was monitored by over 7,000 observers. It took place amidst sporadic gunshots in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest, where separatists have been fighting for the creation of their own state called Ambazonia.
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.
However, Territorial Administration minister Paul Atanga Nji told a press conference at the close of the polls in Yaoundé that voting was hitch-free and the ball was now in the court of the Constitutional Council; the only legal entity that has the powers to publish results.
The poll winner
“The official proclamation of results is an exclusive right of the Constitutional Council,” Mr Nji said.
“Candidates and political actors should show signs of responsibility and abide by the rules and regulations which are known by every one of us."
A 22-member national vote counting commission began meeting in Yaoundé on Tuesday to examine vote tallies to determine the poll winner.