Constitutional Council Adds Value to Cameroon’s Democratic Process

The 2018 Presidential election whose process is still ongoing has really served as a litmus test of democracy in Cameroon. President Paul Biya told Cameroonians he will want to be remembered as the father of democracy in Cameroon when he introduced multiparty politics in 1990.

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

The creation of the Constitutional Council early this year by President Paul Biya was indeed a stitch in time. Ever since the institution which is provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon was created, much value has been added to Cameroon’s democratic drive. Just a few weeks after its creation, the Council has a daunting task to handle Senatorial elections, which it did with all fairness and transparency. The baptism of fire it had with the Senatorial election was a testing ground for greater challenges.

Indeed, the challenges are right now being seen at display at the court room of the Constitutional Council, since Tuesday when public hearings on the 18 post-electoral petitions filed to it started.

Even before the present debates at the Constitutional Council, the council entertained pre-electoral petitions of some candidates whose candidacy papers were rejected by the Electoral Board of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM). Here, the rule of law reign supreme as the Council followed the law to the later and confirmed the ELECAM list.

After the polling date on October 7, the Council opened its doors for yet another session of petitions to be tabled. This time, eighteen (18) petitions were submitted by some five individuals; three Presidential candidates and two whose files were earlier rejected. Again, only the rule of law reigns supreme. The Constitutional Council quashed the 14 petitions by Bertin Kisob, a detainee at the Kondengui Central Prison and another from Rev. Rigobert Aminou first on grounds that they were not candidates because the law permits only presidential candidates or political parties that contested to file in petitions.

The heated legal debates that took two days came up when the CRM candidate, Prof Maurice Kamto’s case came up. The CRM is demanding the partial cancellation of elections in some seven regions. So far, the Kamto team with dozens of legal experts have been battling with the ELECAM and CPDM legal teams. The Council is giving a fair hearing to all parties and applying the laws to the later.

The SDF candidate, Joshua Osih and Cabral Libii of the Univers Party also petitioned the Council to completely cancel the presidential elections. The case of Cabral Libii was declared inadmissible. Meanwhile, by press time, the SDF team of lawyers have been defending their case to convince the Council to cancel elections in the entire country. Meanwhile, the President of the Constitutional Council adjourned the CRM case for 6pm this Thursday for verdict to be passed.

It should be noted that deliberations at the Constitutional Council are streamed live on the National television, CRTV and some local channels. The live broadcast has given millions of Cameroonians the opportunity to follow the debates with the highest audience rating recorded since last Tuesday. It has also reawakened political consciousness in most Cameroonians who are now seeing the Constitutional Council as a force to reckon with when it comes to electoral litigations and results proclamation.

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