By DOH JAMES SONKEY
Hopes for partial or total annulment of the October 7, 2018 presidential election in Cameroon at the request of three candidates; Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front and Cabral Libii of UNIVERS as well as two others, have been dashed, as the Constitutional Council rejected all petitions for lack of competence and absence of evidence.
The supreme judicial body charged with taking final decisions on election matters in Cameroon headed by Clement Atangana ruled on the 18 petitions deposited by 5 persons.
Maurice Kamto and CRM lawyers set the pace
Though Maurice Kamto and Joshua Osih did not push their arguments down the throat of members of the Constitutional Council, they were greeted by the public for unmasking electoral fraud and irregularities and for drawing public attention on the deterioration of Anglophone crisis.
Maurice Kamto and his college of lawyers including Barrister Ngongi and Barrister Agbor Balla opened the can of worms on the reality on the ground in Anglophone regions, telling the world of atrocities being committed.
After heated debates with ELECAM, MINAT and CPDM lawyers and party officials, Kamto’s team challenged Magistrate Emile Essombe, a member of the Constitutional Council to produce all 32 election reports duly signed by party representatives, ELECAM officials and observers on polling day.
Kamto’s team while expressing doubt over the authenticity of the 6 election reports served them at their request for verification by the Constitutional Council argued that “How do you expect us to skip all the essential parts of the reports containing tables of results only to sign the last page of the report that is even inconsequential to us?”
Justice Clement Atangana stepped in at this juncture to stop the debate between Emile Essombe who seemingly embarrassed the Constitutional Council by brandishing reports which maybe were not to be shown to the public, given that he had accused Prof Maurice Kamto for having brought fake election reports to the hearing. The President of the Constitutional Council declared that debate on the case was already closed and programmed the verdict on Maurice Kamto’s petition for the following day.
Before Kamto’s petition for partial cancellation of the October 7 polls was thrown out, he declared to the Constitutional Council that “I won in the Grand North, West, Littoral, Centre etc. Biya did not and could not have won in the North West and South West regions because he has allowed war to reign in these regions. My agents were chased from all polling stations and some molested in the South region. I will never apologize to Biya for resigning from his government and for standing for election against him.”
He accused the regime of promoting tribalism in order to frustrate any person who wants to challenge incumbent President, Paul Biya.
In response, the college of CPDM lawyers and party officials such as Gregoire Owona and Prof Ngolle Ngolle Elvis described as unfounded all accusations levied against them and their candidate Paul Biya. Prof Ngolle Ngolle said that as someone animated by a republican spirit, he is proud to declare that voting effectively took place in the North West and South West regions, and that there are many more republican citizens in these regions always ready to cast their votes whenever electors are convened to the polls.
The heat produced by SDF presidential candidate Joshua Osih on the third and last day of petitions hearing at the Constitutional Council was almost unbearable, but the Clement Atangana led team remained serene and unperturbed.
“If the Prime Minister with all the security around him could not vote in his native Oku village where he registered, who then could vote in the North West and South West regions?”, questioned Joshua Osih, who later argued that the letter alone of the PM requesting for the transfer of his voting right from Oku to Bamenda, is enough proof, for the annulment of the October 7 polls.
He equally described as scandalous the fact that the second personality of the State, Senate President, Niat Njifenji Marcel was shown on television voting last October 7 in Paris France, where he did not register.
Osih and the college of SDF lawyers led by Batonnier Sama Francis based their arguments on the fact that the election of October 7, 2018 was marred by the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West regions.
He stressed that “some members of your Constitutional Council who registered in the North West or South West regions were unable to vote, like over 500,000 potential voters by virtue of their status as refugees or internally displaced persons imposed on them by a civil war they are not a party to. This is a clear design of marginalization and disenfranchisement by ELECAM, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and CPDM to maintain one person indefinitely in power.”
Declaring that “If truly Cameroon is one and indivisible, then what happened on Election Day last October 7, 2018 is tantamount to apartheid, because Anglophones were refused the rights to vote by ELECAM,” Joshua Osih decried that ELECAM and MINAT did nothing to permit displaced voters from exercising their civic right even after SDF wrote to ELECAM on time asking them to take special measures for that.
The SDF flag bearer at the recent presidential polls underlined that it would be ridiculous for any candidate to be declared winner by the Constitutional Council because “such a winner will not be a legitimate one since only 50% of the country voted for him given that the remaining 50% (Anglophone Cameroon) that willfully joined their Francophone brothers and sisters, did not take part in the polls.”
Joshua Osih appealed on Clement Atangana to render justice that will safe Cameroon, which is currently suffering from threats of secession because of injustice “Do what is right for the Cameroon of our children, may God and your consciences be your sole judge as you are passing the verdict on an already marginalized people.”
Barrister Sama Francis concluded SDF’s intervention by proposing that the decision of the Constitutional Council be spiced up with recommendations such as; the putting in place of a single ballot paper, that bailiffs be allowed to work independently on Election Day without permission from a judge who is a junior authority to carryout investigations on polling day. He also challenged the Constitutional Council to tell the future President of Cameroon to solve the Anglophone crisis.