By Sylvester Atemnkeng
One of the opposition candidates at the October 7 election, Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, has described the election as ‘apartheid’, arguing that the Anglophone people in the Northwest and Southwest Regions did not vote.
Osih, who was presenting the SDF petition before the Constitutional Council, urged the court to restore order and save the country from ‘imminent collapse’.
“No election took place in the Northwest and Southwest Regions… the people could not vote because they are Anglophones, and that is apartheid,” he said.
The election in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest Regions, was marred by low turnout and isolated incidents of unrest, as separatists sought to prevent participation in the vote.
Constitutional Council Rejects All Post Electoral Litigations
Cameroon’s Constitutional Court rejected overnight a post-electoral appeal from Joshua Osih of the Social Democratic Front, the main opposition party, thus rebutting all 18 judicial protests made since the Presidential vote.
The court rejected Osih’s request as not justified, shortly after the closure of hearings that started on October 16 in the wake of the election on October.
None of the appeals were successful, whether on grounds of insecurity or alleged mass fraud at the polls.
Osih asked the court for the cancellation of the whole election, in which 85-year-old President Paul Biya was seeking a 7th term, after almost 36 years and against a backdrop of mounting resistance in the two English-speaking Regions of the country.
The SDF candidate argued that the election “didn’t take place” in these territories, which are historic bastions of his party in a largely Francophone nation, because of the security situation.
The past year has seen the eruption of open warfare in the Northwest and Southwest Regions between armed separatists and Government troops. At least 420 civilians, 175 members of the security forces and an unknown number of separatists have been killed, according to the International Crisis Group, ICG.
The President of the Constitutional Council, Justice Clement Atangana, told the court that “the election was held in the two Regions of the Northwest and the Southwest, where, respectively, 32,729 and 57,084 voters were recorded,” out of more than one million registered voters.
Lawyers for the SDF presented examples to argue that potential voters had been deprived of their rights, either by being already displaced by violence or because they were unable to venture out of their homes.
“The National President of my party, Ni John Fru Ndi, had his house wrecked (in the village of Baba II) and his younger sister was kidnapped because he voted, in defiance of instructions. People are dead because they cast their votes on October 7”, Osih stated.
Barristers Sama, Mbah Ndam & Other SDF Lawyers Spit Fire At The Constitutional Council Without Mincing Words
Former Bar Council President, Barrister Francis Sama Asanga, advised the Constitutional Council to cancel the October 7 Presidential election results, which, to him, have given Ambazonia fighters more reasons to fight.
The Bamenda-based Lawyer said, sustaining the results, especially in Anglophone Regions where voting did not take place, further divides the country and gives the impression that Amba Boys have won, and they are fighting for a just course.
“Mr. President, don’t give them reason to fight for secession,” he said.
Barrister Sama, who made a trilingual presentation (French, English and Pidgin), also said that most of the members of the Council live in Yaoundé and have never confronted Amba Boys, nor dwelled in an atmosphere of blood and violence like what he is going through, daily, in the Northwest Region.
He narrated an encounter he had with the Amba Boys while driving and testified that, even though it was terrifying, the boys escorted him when he revealed his identity.
He challenged the Council to ask some of its members who hail from Anglophone Regions whether they can step foot in their villages and vote.
He said houses of some regime barons have even been burnt down and, while they were at the Council on Wednesday, there was an attack on the SDF Chairman’s house in Baba II.
Sama then asked the Council whether, in such a situation, they expect the people of these two Regions to freely and fairly exercise their rights to vote. He said, despite his popularity, when he attempted to open his gate, he was asked to get inside and close it firmly.
His arguments were sustained by other Lawyers for the SDF, Ngwana Mustapha, who argued that most administrators in the Northwest and Southwest have all fled the areas, except in some major towns. He wondered aloud how elections would take place hitch-free in such an atmosphere.