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.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Cameroon.
Cameroon’s Constitutional Council on Friday rejected the last of 18 petitions calling for a re-run of an Oct. 7 election that the opposition said was marred by fraud, paving the way for results expected to extend President Paul Biya’s 36-year rule. The rejections clear all legal objections to the polls. Nearly two weeks after the vote, no results have been announced but under national law authorities have until Monday to do so. Biya is seeking a seventh term that would see him keep his place as one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. The only current African president to have ruled longer is Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Cameroon’s elections management body says it has received 25 petitions from candidates and voters calling for the Oct. 7 presidential election to be annulled. Candidates Cabral Libii of the opposition Universe party and Joshua Osih of the opposition Social Democratic Front are among those who want the polls annulled. They allege massive fraud and ballot stuffing in favor of President Paul Biya’s ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party. Cleric Rigobert Gabanmidanha of the Live and Peace Ministry also petitioned for the cancellation of the polls. He claims the constitutional council that certifies election results is controlled by Biya and that many opposition supporters like himself were not allowed to vote.
Cameroon: A tense, long wait for election results as social media claims unverified winners | Quartz
Over the last two years, Cameroon’s government has gained a poor reputation for being repressive when it comes to internet freedoms. It’s had one of the longest-running intermittent internet shutdowns on record of 230 days between January 2017 and March 2018 as it tried to prevent political activists in the English-speaking regions of the country from using social media platforms to share information or organize. Because of this reputation, many watchers expected the government would again block the internet in the run-up to a highly contentious election in which the president, Paul Biya, 85, is looking to extend his 36-year rule by another seven years.
Polls closed in Cameroon Sunday evening and vote counting began in an election that will likely see Africa’s oldest leader win another term amid fighting and threats from separatists that prevented residents in English-speaking regions from voting. President Paul Biya, in office since 1982, vows to end a crisis that has killed more than 400 people in the Central African nation’s Southwest and Northwest territories in more than a year. The fractured opposition has been unable to rally behind a strong challenger to the 85-year-old leader. Voting ended around 6 p.m. local time and results are expected within two weeks. “I am satisfied after performing my civic duty and particularly satisfied that the election is taking place in calm and serenity and without fighting,” said Biya after voting. “I hope that the calm will continue after results are proclaimed.” Main opposition Social Democratic Front party candidate Joshua Osih voted in Douala and called for transparency in vote counting.
Cameroon voted on Sunday in a presidential election marked by deadly violence in the country’s English-speaking regions and the cancellation of voting in at least one affected area over security fears.
Cameroon has been rocked by a separatist insurgency from within its anglophone minority, who number around five million, since last October. They accuse likely election winner President Paul Biya, 85, of oppression and are concentrated in the northwest and southwest of the majority-francophone country. Poll closed at 1700 GMT with the law stating that final results must be announced within 15 days. After voting got under way Sunday, security forces shot dead three suspected separatists who had allegedly fired at passersby from a motorcycle in Bamenda, the main city in the northwest region, a local official said.
On the morning of October 7, eight of Cameroon’s 10 regions will vote in a presidential election that could end the long-running leadership of Paul Biya, who has been in office since 1982 and was prime minister in the seven years before that. Dissidents in the remaining two regions – the South West and North West – home to Cameroon’s English-speaking minority, have threatened a showdown. “There is localised violence in the Anglophone regions … more than 1,000 men have pledged to dislodge the elections in those regions by violence,” says Hans de Marie Heungoup, senior analyst for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group. Besides fighting by Boko Haram in the Far North and North regions and rebel incursions from the Central African Republic into the Eastern region, Cameroon is largely beset by the Anglophone crisis, a separatist uprising with roots in the pre-World War I era when it was a German colony.
John Nlom has five children and wants to keep them alive. When machete-wielding men attacked a nearby school this month in a suspected strike against the teaching of French, wounded students were rushed to hospitals while frightened parents decided to flee. Nlom and his family piled onto one of the dozens of buses now leaving daily from the capital of Cameroon’s Southwest Region, joining thousands of civilians escaping bloody fighting between the government and Anglophone separatists who vow to disrupt next month’s presidential elections.
Bullets flew constantly in her hometown. Her two young children haven’t attended school in two years. She abandoned the shop she owns after soldiers arrived and started shooting. One day she saw the corpses of seven of her neighbors. Now, Pamela Njoke, 38, is among the thousands of people fleeing the English-speaking areas of Cameroon, where separatists are battling to form a new nation and the population is bracing for a surge in violence before a presidential election next month. “People are dying everywhere,” said Ms. Njoke, who waited four hours recently amid a crush of people seeking space on a packed bus to take her and her children, ages 5 and 9, out of Bamenda, her hometown, to the safety of the capital, Yaoundé. “In short, it’s horrible,” she said.
2018 is a year for general elections in Cameroon. The coming elections include a presidential election that is more than likely to be a complete mirage, a staged-managed invention to shore up the international reputation of the longtime incumbent, Paul Biya, who has ruled with an iron fist since 1982. His victory in the rigged contest is not in doubt. This is arguably as a result of the nature of Cameroon’s undemocratic politics, the corruption of the electoral machine, voter apathy and pushing through with elections despite deep political crisis in the English-speaking regions of the mostly French-speaking west African country.