Cameroon opposition candidate, Maurice Kamto, has claimed victory in the presidential election, declaring yesterday that ‘we have achieved our goal’. Greeted by screams from his supporters as he made the announcement, Kamto, who leads the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), called on President Paul Biya to hand over power peacefully.
“I invite the outgoing president to organise a peaceful way to transfer power,” he told a news conference in the capital Yaounde, giving no results to justify his claim. The election was widely expected to extend the rule of Biya, one of Africa’s last multi decade leaders who have held power for 36 years. “My mission was to take a penalty. I did it and I scored,” Kamto said to chants of “freedom” by jubilant supporters in a courtyard.
He offered no evidence to justify his claim to have won. Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji said on Sunday that only the Constitutional Council would be allowed to announce results, and that any form of challenge to the verdict would “not be tolerated”. Six million voters went to the polls to elect president against a backdrop of unprecedented violence in the country’s English-speaking regions.
Biya, 85, faces an attempt by the opposition parties to forge a unified front under Maurice Kamto, leader of the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC). Biya has been in power since 1982, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers.