|Candidate (Party)||No. of votes||% of votes|
|Paul Biya (RDPC)||3 772 527||77.99%|
|John fru Ndi (SDF)||518 175||10.71%|
|Garga Haman Adji (ADD)||155 348||3.21%|
|Adamou Ndam Njoya (UDC)||83 860||1.73%|
|Paul Abine Ayah (PAP)||61 158||1.26%|
RDPC - Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
SDF - Social Democratic Front
ADD - Garga Haman Adji
UDC - Cameroon Democratic Union
PAP - People's Action Party
Cameroon’s latest Presidential election has seen long-serving incumbent Paul Biya, of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, or RDPC retaining office with a resounding 77.99% of the vote. This result, however, has been disputed by opposition candidates arguing that Biya rigged the vote, citing several irregularities in the electoral process.
A coalition of six candidates, lead by second-place winner John Fru Ndi of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), have called on their supporters to demonstrate against the result of the election which they say was widely fraudulent. In addition, the SDF submitted nine challenges to the Supreme Court, of which seven were rejected. The other two charges were withdrawn.
Despite the opposition’s best efforts to challenge Biya’s victory, it seems that the results will stand after being ratified by the country’s highest court indicating that he will rule for another term on top of his already 29 years in power.
Meanwhile, voter turnout saw 4 951 434 people turn up for the poll, a rate of 68.3%.
Cameroonian Presidential elections work on a first-past-the-post system where the President is elected by direct popular vote for a seven-year term.
Despite calls from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for the Cameroonian authorities to ensure that all claims related to the process are handled in an expeditious and transparent manner, the aftermath of the vote has been anything but that, with the Supreme Court filled with Biya loyalist judges dismissing opposition challenges.
The international community, too, has added its weight behind the opposition with the US ambassador to Cameroon, Robert Jackson, criticising the running of the election, saying that there were irregularities at every level. Former colonisers France have also called for an investigation into the irregularities.
Biya has acknowledged that there may have been “imperfections” in the electoral system, but denied any kind of fraud.
Cameroon has strategic importance in a region where it is neighboured by poor States that rely on Cameroonian food imports. The country provides food to Chad, the Central African Republic and Gabon. Cameroon’s latest economic performance has been poor, however, with some of its neighbours outperforming it in terms of economic growth. Some neighbouring countries as well as local media lay the blame on Biya himself, arguing that under his rule corruption and nepotism has flourished, thus negatively affecting economic growth.
Biya would do well to change some of these negative perceptions in the country and should be wary after the Arab Spring revolutions, which have seen populist revolutions topple autocratic leaders. The recent democratic election in Zambia, which saw a smooth transition of power from long-serving Rupiah Banda to opposition candidate Michael Sata, should also be indicative of the recent trend in Africa that regime change is possible.
The negative sentiment of the widely perceived rigged election in Cameroon means that Biya will have to deliver on election promises and oversee vast economic improvements if there is to be any social cohesion in Cameroon.
African Elections Database. Elections in Cameroon. (October 20, 2011).
The Telegraph. ‘Dead people’ voted in Cameroon election. (October 23, 2011).
Polity. Cameroon court rejects opposition bid to annul vote. (October 20, 2011).
UN News. Cameroon: Secretary-General commends peaceful conduct of election. (October 11, 2011).