There are still no official results in Cameroon’s presidential election, with the latest word from ELECAM — the West African nation’s electoral commission — reiterating that under the country’s constitution they have 15 days from the closing of Sunday’s polls to report the results.
That’s kept tensions high in a nation that, for two years, has seen conflict escalate in its English-speaking territories, and evolve into an Anglophone secession movement with widespread concern over security and human rights abuses.
President Paul Biya, in power since 1982, is seeking another seven-year term against the backdrop of extrajudicial killings, arrests and political repression that have drawn international condemnation. The violence disrupted the voting process in the northwest and southwest regions, with at least two Anglophone separatists killed in Bamenda.
ELECAM reminded Cameroon candidates and their voters to avoid making election result claims, as was the case with opposition candidate Maurice Kamto of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement Party.
“Given that our electoral system does not allow for the publication of trends about the results, I hereby urge all the stakeholders of the process to exercise the greatest restraint,” said ELECAM chief Essosse Erik in a release. He said he was confident in the legitimacy of the election, but human rights NGOs and others — including the United States government and British diplomats — have expressed concern.
“We reiterate our neutrality with respect to the outcome and strongly support the right of the Cameroonian people to choose their leader through the democratic process,” the U.S. said in an embassy statement. “We call on all parties to wait until the official results are announced before making pronouncements about the supposed winner, and to resolve peacefully any grievances through established legal channels.”
Image: Government of Cameroon