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Stealing victory. Cameroon inches toward long-drawn post-election crisis. Who cares?

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Cameroon appears headed for a long-drawn crisis with President Paul Biya’s government dismissing an opposition victory claim in the latest presidential elections.

Biya’s governing Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) has termed the opposition acts as a manoeuvre to compromise peace and tranquillity in the country.

The Cameroon Renaissance Movement’s (CRM) candidate, Prof Maurice Kamto, Monday said he had won the vote, sending his supporters into street celebrations.

“I have received a clear mandate from the Cameroonian people which I will firmly defend right to the end and I want the national and international community to bear witness to this historic event that has ushered in a democratic political change in our country,” Prof Kamto said.

However, CPDM Secretary-General Jean Nkuete told a press conference in Yaoundé late Monday that the party was surprised and worried by the declaration which showed disregard for the rules of democracy and institutions.

Read also: Ethiopia tops global list of highest internal displacement in 2018

“We express our surprise, our indignation and worry in the face of such irresponsible declaration that has no foundation. They are doing this in a bid to cause an uprising of the population to defend an imaginary victory,” he said.

No official results have been released yet from the election, in which eight candidates challenged longtime President Paul Biya.

Nkuete accused Kamto of breaking the law by announcing that he won the election.

Kamto is not the only candidate claiming victory. Cabral Libii of the opposition Universe Party announced he is leading the vote count.

Opposition candidate Garga Haman of the Alliance for Democracy and Development says two candidates want to create social unrest to oust President Paul Biya, who has led Cameroon for 36 years.

“Those two candidates are in a hurry to go to Etoudi [to be president]. Not yet my dear friends, not yet. Let us wait for the decision of the constitutional council. There is no reason to go on to the streets. Do not exploit the mentality of the youths,” he said.

Despite the turmoil, Biya, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, is expected to win in the face of a deeply divided opposition.

In the midst of the crisis, Cameroon’s long time allies and former colonial master, France, seems comfortable observing from the stands. Many believe the latter’s interests, especially security of the country’s international business concerns, are at the centre of its diplomatic posturing on the matter of the Cameroons.

Politics

Chadian military leader Idriss Deby announces plan to run for president

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Days after opposition politician, Yaya Dillo, was shot and killed in the capital N’Djamena, Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, said on Saturday he planned to run in this year’s long-awaited presidential race.

 

In a speech that avoided mentioning Dillo’s murder or his uncle’s arrest, Deby declared his candidature for the May–June election while addressing supporters and state officials.

 

“It is … with a mixture of honour, humility, responsibility and gratitude that I accept this nomination,” he said.

 

Divisions within the political class have been further revealed by Dillo’s death under dubious circumstances, at a politically sensitive moment for the

country as it gets ready for the anticipated return to democratic rule through elections.

 

The government of Chad claims that Dillo was slain in a gunfight with security personnel and charges that members of his party also attacked the internal

 

The European Union’s diplomatic service expressed its deep concern over the recent violence in N’Djamena on Saturday as well, calling for the facts and those responsible to be established in “a credible and independent way”.

 

“These events undermine the efforts needed to ensure a transparent, pluralist, inclusive and peaceful transition,” it said in a statement.

 

Chad is one Central and West African countries under military reigns as pressure continues from local and international stake holders for transition into democratic reign.

 

After his father, who had ruled for a long time, was killed in rebel clashes in 2021, Deby first pledged an 18-month switch to elections. However, later resolutions passed by his government permitted him to run for president and moved elections to 2024.

 

Around 50 civilians were killed when security forces violently put an end to protests that were sparked by the election delay.

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Nigerian govt, bar association begin prosecution of electoral offenders 

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The Nigerian government, in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association, has commenced legal proceedings against a number of electoral body—INEC— employees and political party officials who have been charged with various electoral offences related to the general elections of 2023.

 

Following the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023, Usman Baba, the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, stated that more than 700 individuals had been arrested by the Nigeria Police for breaking electoral laws.

 

On May 2, 2023, INEC announced that it would prosecute 215 of the 774 people the NPF had detained for a variety of electoral offences during the polls. 196 of the 215 case files that the commission was given involved electoral offences, and the NBA and INEC are handling those cases.

 

Election offences take many forms in Nigeria, including vote buying, thuggery, and rigging, and they frequently end in violence. From the colonial era through the first republic in 1960 until 1999, when Nigerians began to witness an aborted democratic journey in her electoral history, these offences had remained an albatross in the country’s electoral journeys.

 

Habeeb Lawal, the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, informed our correspondent on Friday that 196 suspects, including INEC officials and political party members, were facing charges related to a variety of electoral offences, including vote-buying, possession of weapons, and other offences during the 2023 election.

 

Lawal mentioned that the Federal Capital Territory, state supreme courts, and magistrate courts were all used for the prosecution.

 

“The offences range from dereliction of duty, criminal conspiracy and disorderly conduct at election venues, unlawful possession of arms on election day, snatching and destroying of INEC materials, electoral malpractices, unlawful possession of election materials, voter inducement and vote-buying, malicious damage and assault, and electoral violence.

 

“Some of the suspects are INEC officials, while others are political party members and people without determinable political affiliations.

 

“The magistrates’ courts and the high courts of the states and the FCT have jurisdiction over electoral offences by virtue of the Electoral Act.

 

“Therefore, the offences are being prosecuted by our members in these different courts all over the country, as there is hardly anyone state of the federation that the prosecution is not ongoing.”

 

The commission through the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi declared that it would not support inappropriate behaviour and that those who engage in it in the future would be held responsible.

 

Oyekanmi said, “By engaging in the commendable collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association to jointly prosecute electoral offenders, the Independent National Electoral Commission is reinforcing its resolve not to condone bad behaviour.

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