Paul Biya cas his vote in October 2018 as wife Chantal Biya looks on. Photo: The Guardian

The United States has raised concerns over the credibility of Cameroon’s October 2018 presidential polls that saw octogenarian president Paul Biya re-elected.

In its 2018 Human Rights Report on Cameroon, the US Department of State highlighted numerous instances of election malpractices which cast doubts over the overall outcome of the presidential poll.

The administration of president Donald Trump observed that the October 7, 2018, “election was marked by irregularities, including intimidation of voters and representatives of candidates at polling sites, late posting of polling sites and voter lists, ballot stuffing, voters with multiple registrations, and alleged polling results manipulation.”

The report published this week by U.S. Department of States’ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, further noted that 86-years-old Paul Biya has continually succeeded himself since he took over from the country’s first president in 1982.

“Cameroon is a republic dominated by a strong presidency. The country has a multiparty system of government, but the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM has remained in power since its creation in 1985. In practice the president retains the power to control legislation,” the report read.

Cameroon’s Constitutional Council declared Paul Biya, winner of the October 7 presidential election with a resounding lead of 71.3% of votes cast, while his closest challenger, Maurice Kamto garnered 14.2% of the votes cast.

Though Clement Atangana, head of the Constitutional Council, said the election had been “free, fair, transparent and credible”, the recent publication by the United States coupled with remarks from independent observers, international organizations, Cameroon opposition political parties as well as civil society organizations, cast fresh doubts on the re-election of Paul Biya.

After the results were released, Cameroon’s main opposition Party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM, and other opposition parties called for a re-run of the presidential election but their demands were rejected by the Constitutional Council.

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