17 October 2018

Cameroon: Post-Electoral Disputes - Sixteen Petitions Examined, Rejected

Photo: camerooun Tribune
President Paul Biya of Cameroon

The overruled petitions by the Constitutional Council were those tabled by UNIVERS, Bertin Kisob of CPSJ and Rev. Pastor Gabanmidanha Rigobert.

As the competent body that ensures the regularity of the presidential election, the Constitutional Council yesterday October 16, 2018 disallowed sixteen petitions from candidates and representatives of political parties who aspired and participated in the October 7 poll.

The eleven-man Council, headed by Clement Atangana declared inadmissible the petitions on grounds of submitting their complaints after the legally stipulated deadline and lack of Locus Standi (not having the capacity or right to petition the court on matters relating to the organisation of the elections since they never took part in the race).

Bertin Kisob, National President of the Cameroon Party for Social Justice (CPSJ), who had 14 peti tions, all summarised, prayed the Council to cancel all results obtained in the country and abroad by incumbent Paul Biya, presidential candidate of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM).

He said the election was organised on "systematic electoral fraud and anti-democratic practices." Thanks to a "production warrant", Bertin Kisob who is currently under detention at the Yaounde Central Prison in Kondengui was able to appear before the Council to defend his points. The President of the Constitutional Council, Clement Atangana vetoed the petition on grounds that he (Bertin Kisob) did not have the capacity to petition the council on matters of elections given that he was never a candidate in the race as his file was rejected by Elections Cameroon for being incomplete.

Then followed Rev. Pastor Gabanmidanha Rigobert, who begged the court to cancel the entire electoral process. His petition was discontinued on basis that he did not take part in the elections as stated in the Electoral Code in its Section 132(2). Cabral Libii of UNIVERS, on his part, complained of irregularities in several polling stations across the national territory and demanded a total cancellation of the election. He claimed voting was characterised by massive fraud and the elections were neither free, fair nor transparent.

Though he was candidate during the October 7 polls, his complaints were judged inadmissible because he submitted after the deadline of 72 hours from the close of polls as stipulated by Section 133(1) of the Electoral Code. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Council will today continue hearing on peti tions from the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) and the Social Democratic Front (SDF). The hearing of the petition tabled by CRM begun yesterday and is expected to proceed today.

They filed a petition for recusal (challenging five members of the Constitutional Council as unqualified to perform on legal duties because of potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality) and requesting the cancellation of votes in seven regions (Far North, North West, South West, East, South, Adamawa and North).

With regards to recusal, Clement Atangana dismissed the case, citing chapter six of the 2004 law which gives only the President of the Republic or two third of members of the Council the right to decide on the competence of members.

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