The people of Cameroon went to the polls on 9 October to elect the country’s next president. Rather unsurprisingly, many irregularities have been denounced.
By Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, Yaoundé
Marguerite Ngo is one of many Cameroonian citizens who went to the ballot box. Although she had two voter cards, she claims she only voted once. The duplicate card is a mistake attributed to Elecam, the body in charge of organising elections in Cameroon. Many other cases of duplicate cards have been reported by party leaders.
At the voting station ‘B’ at the Bastos public nursery school in the capital Yaoundé, the representative of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), Mrs Nyindi Marie Claire, played the role of Elecam. She handed out ballot papers of all 23 candidates and showed voters to the polling booth and the ballot box.
That was a clear breach of the Cameroonian electoral code, which stipulates that such a role is strictly reserved to Elecam officials. The code also says that, for purposes of impartiality, representatives of political parties can only act as observers.
Delible ink and other complaints
In Cameroon, voters who have cast their vote have their thumb marked with ink. “The ink was supposed to be indelible, but it faded from my thumb about ten minutes after I left the voting station. This means that people who wished to vote twice could have done so”, says Eugène Ngwei, a voter. The main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF), has actually denounced cases of multiple voting.
“Representatives of my party have been denied access to various voting stations in several locations. Those who were admitted in were subsequently excluded from the vote count,” laments candidate Anicet Ekanè of the oppositional MANIDEM party.
Tawat Mamout, spokesperson of the opposition party Cameroon Democratic Union, declared that “a full ballot box had been found in Foumban (Western Province), at the residence of a CPDM member.”
Current president way ahead
Presidential elections in Cameroon are based on the first-pass-the-post system. According to provisional results, President Paul Biya, who has been in power for 29 years, is leading the race in numerous voting stations. Constitutional Council will declare the official results within 15 days. Meanwhile, many political parties have already said they will to challenge the results.