YAOUNDE – Cameroon’s longtime leader Paul Biya has been declared the winner of the country’s October 7 presidential poll. Opposition parties are rejecting the results, but the Constitutional Council has already thrown out petitions to nullify the election.
This is the voice of Clement Atangana, president of Cameroon’s constitutional council, reading election results on Monday.
According to the results, incumbent President Paul Biya won a landslide victory with 71 percent of the vote. His strongest challenger, Maurice Kamto, was a distant second with 14 percent. Seven other candidates scored vote percentages in the single digits.
Voter turnout was 53 percent nationwide but much lower in the volatile northwest and southwest regions, where government forces have been fighting separatist movements. Biya won more than 80 percent of the votes cast in those regions.
Dion Ngute, Biya’s close aide and minister in charge of special duties, said he is not surprised at the president’s victory. He said Cameroonians are aware that Biya has done much for them, and is ready to do more for the country’s development.
“Paul Biya, we know the man who is very persevering, the person who is very patient, the one who is very honest and who is candid and who tells Cameroonians what can be done and what is not possible to be done. The man who is peace-loving, and the one who wants good for Cameroon,” he said.
Angry protesters came out singing that Biya had stolen Maurica Kamto’s victory but were quickly dispersed by heavily armed troops.
Augusta Bate supports Kamto.
“We want justice. We should not only preach democracy, we should practice it, as well. The presidential elections, even Biya knows Kamto won this presidential election, so he should just let him take over power,” said Bate.
Joshua Osih of the main opposition Social Democratic Front, who finished fourth in the election, said he does not recognize the election results.
“History holds it that one head of state is using the entire government, army police and state resources to maintain himself in power. History holds it that what happened on the 7th of October 2018 was worse than anything witnessed before. It was everything except an election,” he said.
Last week, Cameroon’s Constitutional Council threw out 18 petitions filed by Kamto, Osih and others demanding the election be nullified.
The opposition parties allege widespread irregularities, insecurity and low turnout, especially in the restive Anglophone regions, but the court ruled there was not enough evidence to throw out the results.
Biya has been in power for over 40 years in Cameroon, seven as prime minister, 36 as president. In 2008, he removed term limits from the constitution, allowing him to serve indefinitely.
He is now the second oldest president in sub-Saharan Africa. When his new term is finished, he will be 93 years old.