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Cameroon 2018 Elections, a Determining Turnout

08.10.2018
The first phase and the highly anticipated October 7 marked the 7th time, Cameroonians went to the polls to exercise their civic rights in a land mark presidential election. A practice, unlike previous years, has seen the active participation of its youths seeking to see a vibrant and positive political transition in the central African nation. However, the helm of the country’s presidency remains uncertain as the nation awaits the proclamation of the election results in a period of 15 days by the constitutional council.

The voting process kick started as early as 8am local time in most of the polling stations all over the national territory. Although the turnout wasnt very large  in the restive South West and North West regions where there have been gun battles mainly between alleged separatists and government forces. The other eight regions saw an overwhelming majority of voters who took to the polls to cast their votes.

As per reports, over six million Cameroonians took part in the landmark presidential election where outgoing president Paul biya among other Cameroonians went to the polls on Sunday Oct 7, 2018 to cast his ballot in a landmark and controversial election which would determine a new president of the embattled nation.

The race is remarkable as the number of presidential candidates had dropped to nine from the over twenty aspirants who contested the same position in 2011.  The 8 candidates considered novices as they are challenging President Paul Biya who has been in the race since 1982 and seeking another seven consecutive term in office include Joshua Osih, front runner of the main opposition party Social Democratic Front(SDF), Cabral Libii  of the national union for integration towards solidarity(UNIVERSE),  Frankline Njifor Afanwi, candidate for the National Citizens’ Movement of Cameroon (NCMC), Garga Haman Adji, leader of the Alliance for Democracy and Development, Serge Espoir Matomba,  leader of the  United People for Social Renovation, Adamou Ndam Njoya, candidate for the Cameroon Democratic Union, Maurice Kamto for the Cameroon renaissance movement  and Akere Muna of the popular front for development (PFD).

Popular opinions and political Pundits had suggested that the only way to end Biyas reign will be through a coalition, a decision which remained farfetched until a day before the election. Akere Muna decided to cede power and throw his weight behind MRC front runner Maurice Kamto, in a coalition aimed at ending Biya’s 36 years in power.

The African Union and some election observer have however applauded the peaceful and smooth run of the voting process in most polling stations, although this was not the case in the crisis hit North West and South West regions of the country as many remained indoors due to gun battles between separatists and the military, some casualties were also recorded. Cameroonians in the Diaspora including Nigeria, Gabon, china, Belgium etc. weren’t excluded from this democratic process as they effectively cast their ballots in the historic vote.

While the vote counting process remains ongoing, opposition has vowed to protect its votes and ensure no instances of fraud. Many observer fear the opposition may contest the Election if incumbent Paul Biya Comes out Victorious. As the constitutional council prepares to declare the election results, Maurice Kamto has confidently declared himself, winner of the just concluded polls and asked President Biya to cede power peacefully. Notwithstanding, many Cameroonian remain hopeful of the rebirth of a new nation for all.

Maurice Kamto of Renaissance Movement (MRC) smiles as he holds a news conference at his headquarter in Yaounde, Cameroon October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Article from AFRIC editorial

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