By Njodzeka Danhatu
Just few hours after the Constitutional Council of Cameroon proclaimed the incumbent President Paul Biya winner of the October 7 presidential election, with 71.28% of the results, the US State Department immediately issued a congratulatory message to Cameroon.
It happened as the opposition is crying foul, alleging that the whole process was marred by fraud and other election irregularities all tailored to favour the incumbent. .
In a press release published on October 22, 2018, the United States of America, through its State Department declared; “The United States congratulates the people of Cameroon for largely peaceful elections on October 7. We urge all parties – including the government – to respect the rule of law, resolve peacefully any disputes through established legal channels, and avoid hate speech” the release stated.
This press release is coming after the opposition has rubbished the proclamation saying the elections were rigged to favour the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement. The CRM has described the results as fake and instead published its own version in which the party leads by over 39%, followed by the CPDM with 38%.
Despite what political critics have referred to as “sham elections”, the United States which is considered the leading democracy in the world lauded the efforts of Elections Cameroon since the 2011 elections “While we welcome the Cameroonian Election Commission’s demonstrable improvement over the 2011 elections, there were a number of irregularities prior to, during, and after the October 7 election”
According to the State Department, the challenges that Cameroon went through during the elections may not have damaged its credibility. “These irregularities may not have affected the outcome but created an impression that the election was not credible or genuinely free and fair”
The constitutional Council rejected all the litigations to cancel the elections results by 3 opposition candidates. During the official pronouncement Monday 22, all candidates apart from the Candidate of the CNCM Prophet Franklin Ndifor, were absent.
The US therefore through its release felt optimistic that this election may serve as a corner stone for democratic principle “We commend the African Union Election Observation Mission for its preliminary statement notably that “the current framework needs to be strengthened in order to safeguard the democratic principles of separation of powers, fairness, and independence and impartiality.” It cautioned as some people have started casting doubts over the future of the country.
With the prevailing security challenges in the Anglophones regions, the world super power urged both parties engage into dialogue “With the conclusion of the presidential election, the United States strongly encourages both sides involved in the conflict affecting the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon to focus on resolving differences through peaceful dialogue and to allow unhindered access to humanitarian aid workers.”
This release is coming after several calls to exercise restraint by the US Embassy in Cameroon were already been made following tension that mounted when Maurice Kamto declared himself winner on the 8 of October.
The president elect is expected to be sworn-in in 15 days as per the Cameroon constitution.