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24th of October 2018

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AFRICA/CAMEROON - The Bishops: "vote was carried out in a calm manner but there were irregularities especially in the English-speaking regions"

Yoaundé (Agenzia Fides) - "The elections were held in a calm manner, but there were serious irregularities in the English-speaking regions", says the Cameroonian Episcopal Conference in a statement that draws up a provisional report of the presidential elections on Sunday 7 October (see Fides 8/10/2018). The Catholic Church through the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace monitored the vote thanks to 231 electoral observers deployed in seats throughout the country. However, 46 observers from the North-West and South-West regions could not go to the polls because of insecurity. The Anglo-American regions of the extreme west of Cameroon have in fact been shaken for two years by a secessionist crisis. In the English-speaking areas, the Cameroonian Bishops complain that many voters were not able to participate in the vote due to insecurity. The Bishops also deplore that no provisions were made to allow refugees to take part in the vote. The Episcopal Conference denounces that access to certain polling stations were forbidden to Catholic observers by security forces. Observers noted several irregularities in the seats they inspected. For example, in the voter lists there were names of people who were dead. In at least one case, a voter reported that another person voted in his place, falsifying his signature in the electoral register. Finally, the Bishops invite everyone to calm. In particular, the candidate who will be recognized as winner by the competent authorities must not provoke his opponents. While potential losers must recognize their defeat by congratulating the winner. Waiting for the official publication of the results, one of the candidates, Maurice Kamto, claimed the victory on Monday 8 October. Kamto also demanded a public inquiry regarding false election observers presented by state media as people sent by the NGO Transparency International. The alleged election observers said they had not found any irregularities in the vote. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/10/2018)

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