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While the year 2018 was a transitional year for some countries, which changed their leaders through the ballot box, some other countries like Cameroon and Mali decided to renew their allegiance to their presidents.

The third part of the 2018 elections review gives a brief insight on how election was carried out in Cameroon and Mali.

Biya secures 7th term after 36 years in power

The 2018 presidential elections in Cameroon witnessed some happenings which completely changed the traditional system; election-proclamation of result, to feature a heated court exchange between the state and the opposition.

A lot of people wished this election could be the end of the 36 years rule of President Biya who took over from Ahidjo in 1982, but all hopes were dashed when he announced his intention to run.

The elections took place in a tensed atmosphere with security threats in the North West and South West regions which has plagued the country for over two years.

Barely two days to the polls, two opposition candidates, Akere Muna and Maurice Kamto formed a coalition after several failed attempts by all opposition leaders to come together to unseat Biya, marking the very first time the country has witnessed a coalition.

Amidst growing tension, the election was conducted hitch free but massively boycotted in the restive Anglophone regions due to security threats.

Twenty-four hours after the polls, Maurice Kamto declared himself winner during a press conference in Yaounde stating that figures he received indicated that he had majority of the votes. Such claims were watered down by the government stating that only the constitutional council had the right to proclaim results.

18 petitions were filed before the constitutional council by individuals and parties including Maurice Kamto and Joshua Osih seeking partial or total cancellation of the process. These petitions were termed unfounded and dismissed by the constitutional council.

The Constitutional Council later declared Paul Biya winner with 71% of votes,and he was sworn in for another 7 years term on Tuesday, November

*Ibrahim Boubacar Keita garners 67% votes in election run off

Unable to secure an all out victory in the first round, Ibrahim Boubacar was declared victorious in the presidential race, after amassing 67% of the votes in a run off with main oppostion leader Soumaila Cisse.

The constitutional court in the country gave a green light for a run off to take place on August 12 after results of the first round indicated that no candidate was able to reach the 50% threshold to be declared winner.

Meanwhile several opposition candidate rejected result tallies and called for recounts of some ballots, but the president of the court declared such petitions “inadmissible”.

Despite the fraud allegations filed by Soumaila Cisse, Keita’s major challenger in the elections , Ibrahim Boubacar was declared winner of the elections by the apex court and was sworn in on September 4,2018.

However, Mali’s vote was marred by insecurity which caused many of the voters to boycott the run-off presidential election.

Author: Emilia Nkengmeyi

Source: africanews

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Cameroon has invited bids to build a new house for the president of the Constitutional Council, two days after the council announced the re-election of long-time president, Paul Biya.

The $475,000 (£370,000) mansion is in an upmarket neighborhood of Yaoundé.

Last week, the body dismissed 18 opposition petitions against the running of the elections.

During the hearing, an opposition lawyer accused Judge Clement Atangana of supporting the president.

His wife is an MP for the ruling party but Justice Atangana denied any bias and said all his judgements were based on the law.

While the tender indicates that the building will be a public structure, given the timing, many Cameroonians view this as being specifically for Justice Atangana, reports the BBC’s Ngala Killian Chimtom in the Yaoundé.

The BBC has approached both Justice Atangana and the government for comment, but neither have responded.

What happened in the election?

Mr. Biya won a seventh term with 71.3% of the vote in the 7 October election.

He has been in power since 1982.

Opposition candidate Maurice Kamto, who came second with just 14% of the votes, continues to dispute the official results, alleging widespread fraud.

A woman casts her ballot in the polling station where the incumbent President is expected to vote in Bastos neighbourhood in the capital YaoundeVoter turnout was low in the restive Anglophone region

 

The election was also marred by violence especially in the two English-speaking provinces which have been hit by more than a year of violent protests and attacks by separatist rebels which have left hundreds dead.

Voter turnout in the country’s two Anglophone regions – North West and South West – was as low as 5%, according to the International Crisis Group.

Official figures recorded an almost 16% turnout in the South-West region.

The formation of the Constitutional Council was enshrined in the 1996 constitution, but its 11 members were only appointed, for a six-year renewable term, by Mr Biya in February.

The team’s first public function was adjudicating the results of the October presidential election.

Source: BBC

Elimu, Swahili for “imparting knowledge, skill, and judgment,” is the handle for the alternative education project of the Ambazonia grassroots media project the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation TV (SCBC TV). SCBC TV was born out of the 2017 Cameroon government imposed internet blackout in the occupied territories of Ambazonia also known as the Southern Cameroons.

To start with, SCBC supports without reservation the General Strike (Ghost town action) of the peoples of Ambazonia both as an Ambazonian grassroots movement project but also because the General Strike in itself is a legitimate form of nonviolent resistance.  Thus we would like to categorically state from the getgo that Project Elimu while hoping to help our children learn from home, is NOT in anyway intended to nor will it in anyway undermine the ongoing General Strike.  It is out of our awareness of the importance of education in building a strong foundation for the life of every child, that Project Elimu is being put in place to help our children learn from home in the wake of Cameroon’s refusal to sign the Safe School Declaration, and Cameroon’s sustained attacks on our children and youth in and out of schools. We are hoping project ELIMU will also reduced chances of contact with solders, which has too often than needed turned deadly causing enormous heartache for several Ambazonian families and communities.

We equally look forward to fill the education gaps inherent in the substandard educational system that the neocolonial regime has been so determined to impose on our communities.

SCBC Background

Ambazonia is an English-speaking territory located between Cameroon and Nigeria in West Africa. Ambazonia has been under military occupation by the French neo-colonial regime in Cameroon since an ill-fated UN plebiscite on a confederacy between the two countries in 1961. Immediately before that, Ambazonia had been a UN Trust Territory under British administration— which is why the region’s primary colonial language is English, in contrast to Cameroon in which the primary colonial language is French.

For years there have been waves of protest over the second-class status that is forced on the people of Ambazonia. Despite agreement that Ambazonians get to keep their language and autonomous institutions, Cameroon has systematically eliminated these structures over the years. In the fall of 2016, protests erupted across the territory once more, this time in response to a strike by legal workers called to defend the Ambazonian common law–based judicial system. Though British colonial control was hurtful to Ambazonia in many ways, set in historical context, it was by far the lesser of the evils and left a legacy of respect for a personal-liberties based legal system that has been utilized by legal workers to protect the dignity of the people.

In response to this mass nonviolent demonstration of popular sentiment, the Cameroon military used excessive and unnecessary force to silence the protests. They used helicopter gunships to shoot live ammunition at demonstrations, they chased down and executed hundreds of unarmed protesters, and they detained more than a thousand summarily and without charge. In direct response to these atrocities, for the first time in the history of our struggle, some fractions have chosen to defend their communities with force.

To prevent the people from communicating and reporting these crimes to the outside world, the Cameroon regime cut internet access to the entire territory. In response, community media makers at home and in the diaspora came together to create SCBC TV, which broadcasts remotely from around the world to communities in the occupied territories of Ambazonia––the first community-owned and operated TV station in Africa with global reach.

SCBC TV has been the most prominent tool for mobilizing nonviolent resistance in the occupied territories in this violence-filled time.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the ongoing violence will prevent Ambazonian children from returning to school for the September 2018 academic year. It was in this light that SCBC TV decided to launch an alternative Education TV School which will air lessons into Ambazonian communities under military occupation.

Project ELIMU

September 2018 will be the start of the second academic year in which children in our communities will not be able to go to class as usual because of a conflict that escalated in 2016. To mitigate the damage being done to their education during this time of conflict and the importance of education to the future of our children and society, SCBC decided to start a TV School to provide Ambazonian children the opportunity to learn from home.

The mission of Project ELIMU is to provide a free, world-class education to every child in conflict zones where regular classes are not possible.  We are committed to ensuring that children in conflict zones, starting with Ambazonia can learn from wherever they find themselves just by having access to a TV set and a cellphone. In the medium term, we are looking to extend the program to children in bushes and refugee camps through Project Elimu Learning Centers (PELC).

The Tagline of the Project is: Each One Teach One, making learning a community commitment.

Project Background

The history of TV in the classroom in the US goes as far back as the 1950s. There is a wealth of literature and well-developed sample curricula for TV school projects. That work was further developed by the homeschooling movement of the last 30 years.

We look to build on that research, the developments in the alternative education community including online schools, lectures, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), M-learning, and others to provide our children with high-quality education along with certificates from international accreditation institutions to go with it.

Project ELIMU material is packaged to maximize learning via TV School and optimize learners feedback mostly via cellphone.

Standardized Testing

Project ELIMU is looking to use a multitude of tests based primarily from the best international accreditation and certification institutions. That way when our students following the program they can take the appropriate test for them. We will elaborate on the tests and certification in another document. Project ELIMU will be making an effort to fundraising to cover the cost of some of these international certification tests.

Project Elimu Learning Centers (PELC)

Project Elimu also understands that there are now over 400,000 displaced Ambazonians hiding in bushes and over 60,000 who have sort refuge in Nigeria. For this reason, the project will also include the following elements:

  • Making same study materials readily available online in downloadable format in an app developed by the team called Udemia (https://wudemia.com/). This will enable people to learn from any smartphone or download the material and share with children in other accessible ways on the ground as part of the efforts to reach who might not have access to TV.
  • The project team intends to deploy learning centers across all refugee centers in neighboring Nigeria where all those of school age can also take time to study in the center’s ones they are set up.
  • The team continues engagement with various alternative educators around the world in a bit to continue the research process to make the alternative education not only accessible but worth it for the children who can access it.

To Volunteer, Contact or support the Project Team:

Write to The SCBC Education foundation

Project Elimu Team

Contact by email:  projectelimu@scbctv.com

 

Incumbent Paul Biya has won Cameroon’s presidency for a seventh time, taking a reported 71 percent of the vote. DW’s Fred Muvunyi says it’s another seven years of pain that Cameroonians will have to endure.

Now that Paul Biya has been declared the winner of Cameroon’s presidential election, the country will continue on its downward trajectory, with the possibility of increased violence and the same sort of audacious impunity that has long characterized his 36-year rule.

For me, it’s another missed opportunity to get rid of a dictator. A missed opportunity to give hope to the majority of young Cameroonians who have not seen any other leader in their lives. The opposition says the October 7 vote was rigged in favor of the incumbent.

After failing to oust Biya through the ballot box, opposition politician Kah Walla told me that she would stage protests to take down Africa’s second longest-serving leader. It’s a risky option to remove Biya by force, but given the anger and frustrations of Cameroonians, this seems to be the only left option. However, they should also expect a heavy-handed response from the man who has ruled with an iron fist for nearly four decades.

When I touched down in Douala early on the morning on October 5, Biya’s high-elevated billboards were all over the town, shamelessly proclaiming “La force de l’experience” — loosely translated in English as “the power of experience.” When I asked people what message he had been selling on the campaign trail, the answer was “nothing.”

The 85- year-old managed to show up only once in Cameroon’s far north, one of the country’s most impoverished communities. One opposition leader told me that Biya had no reason to campaign because the voters’ choice doesn’t matter. What matters is Biya’s well-positioned allies that rig the election for him.

Who else can win the election by merely showing up on the ballot paper without campaigning? Biya never bothered appealing to Cameroonians to vote for him. He is arrogant and has lost touch with ordinary citizens in the country. Now he claims to be the winner with 71 percent of the votes. What a joke!

Corruption is rot

Although I had valid documents to travel and work in Cameroon, I had to pay money to be allowed to pass through every police and military checkpoint. Even at the international airport in Douala, staffers there extort money from passengers. I’m not recounting a story of someone else: It’s my personal experience. Bribes are evident in most African countries, but Cameroon is on another level. An anti-corruption organization, Transparency International, puts Cameroon among the most corrupt nations in the world, taking the 153rd spot out of 175 countries.

Biya is taking the lead. He himself has spent at least four and a half years in total on private trips in the 36 years he has been president, according to research supported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Biya has made himself at home in Geneva’s five-star Intercontinental hotel, paying the total bill and chartered jet costs of around $182 million (€156 million).

Violence all over the country

While in Cameroon a few days ago, I saw how the central African nation is sliding into a terrible civil war that the world will only wake up to when nobody is left to save.

The worsening crisis is mostly the result of the Biya regime, using brutality and indiscriminate violence as a first resort, instead of dialogue, to address valid grievances from the country’s English-speaking minority. In silencing them, soldiers have killed about 4,000 Anglophone civilians, according to the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, a nongovernmental organization based in Buea, the capital of southwestern Cameroon. Around 500,000 people are displaced — many live in forests fearing government soldiers.

There are no signs the violence will stop anytime soon.

While I was in the war-ravaged regions, guns could be heard day in and day out. Bodies were scattered on the streets, and most places were completely deserted, instead occupied by heavily-armed government soldiers.

I come from Rwanda, a country that went through civil war and genocide two decades ago. I lost my close relatives when the international community looked away, abandoning minority Tutsis who were being slaughtered at the time. I’m afraid that Cameroon is taking the same path Rwanda took 24 years ago.

I’m not pleading to the international community to stop the violence and the rogue regime of Paul Biya, because I’m already disappointed with the West. I’m merely asking Cameroonians, both English and French speakers, to stand up for their country and take down selfish leaders who are tearing them apart. Thirty-six years of pain and anguish is too much to endure. Don’t take it anymore and don’t let Biya play over your life again.

Author:  Fred Muvunyi

Source: allafrica

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One of the world’s most experienced autocrats has clinched another seven-year term by bending the rules of the game in his direction in ways both old and new.

It’s no accident that Paul Biya is the second-longest-ruling head of state in the world who isn’t a monarch. Nor that Cameroon’s constitutional council confirmed today that Biya, who has been in power for 36 years, has won a seventh term in office and is set to lead the country until 2025.

By any objective standard, the Cameroonian election on Oct. 7 was a farce, according to outside observers. Voter turnout was marked by apathy, and in some regions, outright fear, with credible sources saying that less than 1 percent of voters cast ballots in some areas. In the country’s English-speaking regions, harsh crackdowns on an emerging secessionist movement kept many polling stations closed and left others mostly attended by soldiers.

But the country’s state media want you to know that the elections went just fine, and they can cite “outside monitors” to prove it.

On Oct. 8, state-run outlet Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) interviewed a group of international observers who praised the country’s elections as credible and fair. One election observer, filmed by CRTV and identified as Nurit Greenger, a Transparency International observer, called Cameroon’s elections “extremely good.” She added, “I don’t think there is a way you can cheat.”

There was just one hitch: Transparency International has no election observers in Cameroon, and the organization has no ties to the group that appeared on CRTV.

“It’s still a bit of a mystery as to who decided to say that they were a Transparency International group,” Michael Hornsby, a spokesperson for the organization, told Foreign Policy. “But I think it’s very telling that one of the individuals kept repeating that they were trained by us—long after we had said we had nothing to do with them.”

The strange spectacle reflects what has become a growing trend of autocrats using new methods to add a gloss of legitimacy to elections that are deeply flawed. This particular tactic of using outsiders as props has cropped up with such frequency around the world—from Azerbaijan to Equatorial Guinea—that real election experts even have a name for them: “zombie observers.”

But of all the world’s autocrats who pretend to be democrats, Paul Biya is one of the most accomplished. And although experts agree that he may be making more mistakes than usual, this hasn’t undermined his hold on the presidency.

Polling bulletins are laid on a table at a polling station where the incumbent president voted in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, on Oct. 7. Paul Biya, the 85-year-old president, has ruled the country for nearly 36 years. (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

“What really stands out in Cameroon and elsewhere is the degree that highly abusive, repressive, and, in this case, dictatorial regimes will go to, to somehow get this stamp of approval,” said Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of Vanguard Africa, a nonprofit organization focused on democracy promotion in African states.

Part of that strategy involves doing just enough to keep the United States and other major Western powers from bothering to notice. In Biya’s corner is a small but powerful constellation of lobbying and public relations firms that the government has embraced in the buildup to the 2018 vote in an effort to buy the prestige of outside approval. These firms have shouldered the weight of managing the country’s media relationships and keeping in contact with U.S. lawmakers.

Documents filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show the Biya government is channeling upward of $184,000 a month to these firms. Squire Patton Boggs is currently receiving $100,000 a quarter from Cameroon. Glover Park Group—which just cut ties with the Saudi government—is providing public affairs and communications support to the Embassy of Cameroon in Washington for $51,000 a month, and in September, Mercury Public Affairs secured a media relations contract with the government worth $100,000 a month. Squire Patton Boggs and Glover Park Group did not return phone calls asking for comment, while Michael McKeon, a partner at Mercury Public Affairs, told Foreign Policy that the group “does not represent Cameroon” at present, despite his name being on a contract that runs until 2019.

“Biya in this case is really trying to play the PR game … they’re trying to somehow present this regime that has been in power for [nearly] 40 years as a credible guarantor of the democratic rights and aspirations of its people,” Smith said. “Once you start peeling back the layers, the opposite is true.”

Kah Walla, who became the first woman to run for president in Cameroon in 2011, calls the country an “electoral dictatorship.” She told FP, “Keep in mind in electoral dictatorships, the opposition is running against the incumbent, his party, the civil service, the state media, and even most of the private media, which tend to be run by party cadres, as well as the armed forces.”

In Walla’s run against Biya, she experienced the tampering first hand. “On voting day, our party representatives were thrown out of polling stations, threatened, and bribed in various parts of the country,” she said. “As an opposition party, not only do all the existing rules apply to you, but they’ll make up other ones as they go along,” she added. That has continued in 2018 as well—leading opposition candidate Maurice Kamto alleged in front of the Constitutional Council that members of his party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, were chased out of polling stations this time around.

The country’s Constitutional Council offers a 72-hour window for candidates to lodge complaints about the electoral process. But Biya appoints the members of the council, and complaints have to be heard before official results are released, leaving candidates without any evidence to substantiate their claims.

Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, a high-profile Anglophone human rights lawyer in Cameroon who spoke in support of Kamto at the Constitutional Council this week, said that Biya stacked the courts in his favor against any electoral challenges. He told FP that the judges “cannot bite the fingers that feed them, they can not go against their master. These are people that would never allow Mr. Biya to lose an election.”

The Cameroonian Embassy in Washington declined a request for comment.

For years, Biya has stayed in power by co-opting elites who could potentially challenge him, undermining a fragmented opposition, and bending state institutions—including those overseeing the election—toward his own interests.

In part thanks to Biya’s agile maneuvering, few in Washington were paying attention to Cameroon’s election. But the stakes are higher in Biya’s seventh presidential run: Even as the fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is winding down, with reportedly fewer than 1,000 active fighters in the country’s north, Cameroon still has to confront the distrust and displacement caused by the insurgency. And it is now facing widespread political strife and conflict on another front that has taken aim at the country’s very foundation, the combination of French- and English-speaking regions into a single state.

These deeper demographic divisions could eventually undermine Biya’s hold on power—though some experts expect the 85-year-old president to live out the rest of his life in office as the insurgency continues to smolder, given the strength of Cameroon’s military. Cameroon is fraying along a familiar seam—one that divides its 5 million English-speaking citizens and its Francophone majority, which makes up around 80 percent of the country. It’s an arrangement that has held since the creation of Cameroon—which emerged as an independent nation from colonial rule in 1961 when the area governed by British rule elected to join its French-speaking neighbors instead of Nigeria.

Experts say that in the decades since its independence, the government in Yaoundé has gradually chipped away at the rights and government support for its English-speaking citizens. “Since 1961, everything encompassing the Anglophone legal system, educational system, and identity has been diminished over time—to the point where Anglophones no longer recognize the entity in which they currently belong within the framework of today’s Cameroon,” said Christopher Fomunyoh, the director of the Africa program at the National Democratic Institute.

Soldiers secure the perimeter of a polling station in Lysoka, near Buea, southwestern Cameroon, on Oct. 7. Officials under heavily armed escort deployed in the deep outskirts of Buea to set up polling stations but decided against it due to the level of insecurity. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

In the northwest and southwest of the country, what started off in 2016 as protests from teachers and lawyers in the Anglophone regions pushing for more rights and support has transformed into an armed separatist movement. Some Anglophones have gone as far as advocating for the creation of a separate state—Ambazonia—which they want to see split off from Francophone Cameroon entirely.

The Anglophone crisis intensified to the point where gunfire and threats have nearly emptied entire towns. “Displacement is a very good indicator of trouble—people are leaving these areas because there is a lot of violence,” said Richard Moncrieff, the program director for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group. The group, a nongovernmental organization that tracks conflict and crises around the world, has reported that as many as 300,000 people have fled their homes in the northwest and southwest of Cameroon.

The violent government crackdown, which has seen about 400 people killed, has had dramatic political impact. Voter turnout in the Anglophone regions fell to remarkable lows—to the extent that there was “nearly no election” in the northwest and southwest, according to autocratic politics expert Brett Carter—reflecting the almost universal distrust in Biya among the English-speaking population.

“I don’t really think the government made much of a legitimate effort to make sure that Anglophone citizens voted,” said Carter, a professor at the University of Southern California. “It’s important for observers to understand the extent to which government violence over the past year and a half has reshaped the Cameroonian political landscape.”

Balla described the atmosphere on election day as he monitored polling stations in the southwest region: “The security presence in town was very intimidating … most people, who were scared of the military, decided to stay at home.” He added, “in one polling station, close to my house in Buea, at least 300 members of the military voted there.”

“There is an emerging civil war. Anglophones feel completely disenfranchised, but they didn’t need the elections to tell them that,” Moncrieff added.

But the brewing crisis has hardly made a blip in Washington, outside of an Oct. 11 statement from the U.S. State Department reiterating America’s neutrality in the elections and calling for “calm and the careful [sic], non-partisan conclusion of the remaining phases of the vote tabulation process.”

Cameroon’s incumbent President Paul Biya votes in the Bastos neighborhood of Yaoundé on Oct. 7. (Alexis Huguet/AFP/Getty Images)

The State Department has been treading lightly with its remarks about Cameroon’s election after a diplomatic uproar sparked by carefully couched comments from the U.S. ambassador, Peter Henry Barlerin, earlier this year. In June, Barlerin suggested in a meeting with Biya the president “should be thinking about his legacy and how he wants to be remembered,” citing George Washington and Nelson Mandela as role models. The government jumped on the comments, accusing him of criticizing Biya and trying to sway elections, and later several local media outlets alleged he paid $5 million to opposition candidates. The U.S. Embassy called the claims “entirely false.”

Violence and longstanding rampant corruption have taken a heavy toll on Cameroon’s economy. But the country remains one of Central Africa’s most stable and economically significant countries. And Biya has consistently emphasized the relative stability of the country in comparison to its neighbors like the Central African Republic as a key platform for his re-elections. “For decades, Biya has run on a campaign of, ‘Look at our neighbors. Look at Nigeria, what a mess. Look at Chad, what a mess. We’re stable, we’re unified. We’re a strong country to be proud of,’” said Natalie Letsa, a scholar on sub-Saharan Africa at Stanford University. “I think that the Biya government is trying to keep that narrative alive the best they can, which is relatively easy given the lack of access to information in parts of the country.”

But for Biya to emerge from the 2018 election with no coherent plan to resolve conflict in the Anglophone regions will have far-reaching consequences.

“Forty percent of the region’s economic output comes from Cameroon. It’s a highly important country in terms of its political influence and the influence that Biya has on neighboring countries,” Smith said. “I think as Cameroon continues to regress, it’s going to continue to drag the rest of the region down.”

Author: JEFCOATE O’DONNELL, ROBBIE GRAMER

Source: foreignpolicy

Cameroon’s opposition candidate, Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) has described the October 7 election as ‘apartheid’, arguing that the Anglophone people in the North West and South West regions did not vote.

Osih, who was presenting the SDF petition before the Constitutional Council, urged the court to restore order and save the country from ‘eminent collapse’.

“No election took place in the North West and South West regions…the people could not vote because they are Anglophone and that is apartheid,” Osih argued.

No election took place in the North West and South West regions…the people could not vote because they are Anglophone and that is apartheid.

The election in the English-speaking North West and South West regions was marred by low turnout and isolated incidents of unrest, as separatists sought to prevent participation in the vote.

While majority of Cameroon’s 23 million people are French-speaking, about a fifth of the population is English-speaking. The Anglophone minority has long complained about marginalization which led to protests by teachers and lawyers over a period of time.

Election petitions dismissed

The court on Thursday night also dismissed a petition by opposition candidate Maurice Kamto, which called for the cancellation of the election, on the basis of massive and systematic fraud.

The court’s president, Clément Atangana declared that ‘debates are over’ after the petitions were deemed “unjustified” by all members of the Constitutional Council “unanimously”.

This official body is responsible for studying post-election disputes before proclaiming the results of the presidential elections of 7 October.

Throughout the election and during the hearing of election petitions that started on Tuesday, Cameroon’s electoral body Elecam defended its organization of the poll and said it had not seen any proof of fraud.

Government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary also dismissed allegations of fraud.

Author: Daniel Mumbere

Source: africanews

The United Nations has caused controversy by appointing countries including Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philippines onto their Human Rights Council.

Bahrain, Cameroon, and the Philippines were among a number of nations controversially elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, sparking sharp criticism from rights groups and the United States.

Around a third of seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were open for slots lasting from 2019-2022. A 97-vote majority from the 193 nations that make up the UN’s General Assembly is needed for approval.

For the first time since the council was created in 2006, each voting region agreed in advance on 18 candidates to be in the running for 18 seats – removing any competition.

New members Bahrain, Cameroon, the Philippines, Somalia, Bangladesh and Eritrea were elected with between 160 and 178 votes – and immediately drew criticism from activists in Europe and North America dismissing them as “unqualified” due to their human rights records.

“By putting forward serious rights violators and presenting only as many candidates as seats available, the regional groups risk undermining the council’s credibility and effectiveness,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Louis Charbonneau, the group’s UN director, called the vote “ridiculous” and said on Twitter it “makes mockery of (the) word ‘election.’”

At the start of the voting session, the General Assembly’s president, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, noted that every member state is allowed to apply for a seat.

Her spokesman later declined to directly address the criticism, but instead noted: “It’s clear that the world expects that members of international bodies will abide to a certain set of standards of behavior consistent with the bodies they have been elected to.”

Five of the new members were from Africa, five from Asia, two from eastern Europe, three from Latin America and the Caribbean, and three from western Europe.

The United States pulled out of the council in June, calling the organization a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights,” in particular in regard to its stance on Israel.

Nikki Haley, who this week announced her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, said Friday’s vote demonstrates why the US was right to withdraw.

“Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested. This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization,” she said.

“The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible.”

Source: citizen.co.za

Cameroon’s main opposition candidate, Maurice Kamto, who last week declared himself the winner of the October 7 presidential election, had rejected ‘leaked’ results that show a landslide victory for his opponent, the incumbent Paul Biya.

In a Facebook post, posted on Monday, Kamto said results which are purported to originate from the National Vote Counting Commission, are ‘fake figures originating from fabricated sheets of fake observers of Transparency International’.

‘‘In reaction to this falsified victory, CRM and its coalition of political parties and other organizations supporting the candidacy of Maurice Kamto have categorically rejected these falsified results,’‘ read part of the statement.

In reaction to this falsified victory, CRM and its coalition of political parties and other organisations supporting the candidacy of Maurice Kamto have categorically rejected these falsified results.

The National Voting Commission, which is responsible for counting the votes cast throughout Cameroon and in the diaspora, reportedly submitted its report to the Constitutional Council on 15th October.

According to the report of this commission, which has been reportedly leaked on social media, Paul Biya received over 71% of the votes cast, against a paltry 14% for Kamto.

The Constitutional Council has up to 22nd October to announce the final results of the presidential election.

In the meantime, the opposition which has called for the partial and total annulment of the presidential election will have their petitions heard by the Constitutional Council on Tuesday.

Author: Daniel Mumbere

Source: Africa news

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