The maiden sitting of the Cameroon Constitutional Council in hearing electoral litigations has left many observers to consider the institution as a veritable tool for the development of Cameroons democracy
The Cameroon Constitutional Council was created some fifteen years ago by a Presidential decree and it effectively came into existence by another decree signed in February 2018 by the President of the Republic, Paul Biya. The President and members of the Council and were appointed and they immediately set to work. Since the effective functioning of this supreme legal organ that takes care of the constitutional laws and electoral system of Cameroon, it has taken unprecedented steps in making advances in Cameroons democracy.
The aptness of the Council in handling the October 7th post- electoral debates that brought together a cross section of refined legal minds of the French and English culture is telling. It offered a serene atmosphere where the different parties in the dispute could freely and eloquently put forward their arguments to the hearing of the President of the Council.
The steady, serene, unpersuasive and transparent character of the maiden President of the Council, Atangana Clement, who was appointed by a Presidential decree in February 2018, did not miss the eye. His capacity to listen attentively and unperturbed without any legal mind disturbing the Council is worth appreciating. He allocated enough time to all the lawyers of the different parties and followed them diligently as they argue in support of their points of view. His patience in handling matters permit him to entertain even that which falls short of the purpose of the sitting. For four laborious days, the Council President and its members hang on thoughtfully as petitioners, ministerial departments that in one way or the other were charged with the electoral process backed up their actions. As the gatekeeper of the laws, and master of the Cameroons Constitution, Cameroonians were thrilled with the quality off debate that unfolded in the Council. The maturity with which facts were said in accordance with the law and the mastery of the subject matter displayed by the battery of lawyers spoke volume of the way forward for Cameroon’s democracy.
The phrase “the Supreme Court sitting in place of the Constitutional Council” most often used in electoral matters before now, has gradually and finally given way. Henceforth, Cameroonians have the taste of the Council hearing and ruling on post-electoral ligations as well as proclaiming final results of presidential elections.