Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cameroon: Supreme Court Dismisses all 41 Petitions Against Conduct of September 30 Legislative Election

By Christopher Ambe
 Cameroon’s Supreme Court ,sitting in lieu of the yet -to -be constituted Constitutional Council, early this morning  rejected all the 41 petitions filed before it by 14 of the 29   political parties that contested the polls, challenging the  conduct of the country’s last September 30 legislative elections .

The petitions, which had called for the annulment of election in 28 constituencies- cited irregularities such as absence of ballot papers of some political parties, opening buying of opponents’ ballot papers, chasing away of some party representatives at polling stations by partisans of the ruling CPDM.

Passing his judgment after the examination of all  the 41 petitions, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Alexis  Dipnada Moulle, said the massive rejection of the complaints was due to lack of sufficient justifications by the petitioners as well as  the non-respect of laid down  legal  procedures  for   filing  of such  actions before the Court.

The massive rejection has forced many to question whether defense lawyers for  the complainants didn’t do “their home work “ before initiating legal actions or it is just that the Court was not objective in passing the judgments as it has often been accused of in the past  by opposition parties  on similar matters.

Among the rejected petitions that were  rejected  was  one  concerning  Fako West (Buea Rural) the constituency of Hon. Emilia  Monjowa Lifaka,former Vice-President of Cameroon’s National Assembly, where two political parties-the ruling CPDM and the leading opposition party, the SDF fielded candidates for the lone seat.

Campaign and ballot papers for the CPDM candidate Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka were printed and made available by ELECAM, Cameroon’s elections management body, while those of the SDF candidate Ikome Nikenga Joseph were not printed.

Upon realization, the SDF reportedly informed ELECAM and was assured that the mistake would be corrected before Election Day.

But to the unpleasant surprise of the SDF even on Election Day the campaign materials expected from Elecam and ballot papers of their candidate Ikome Nikenga were not available .This almost pushed its numerous supporters to disrupt the polls but for the timely intervention of Buea Divisional Officer, Kouam W.Paul and Mr.Ikome Nikenga ,who calmed them.

After the publication of lists of qualified candidates’ nation-wide by ELECAM, there was some confusion as to whether the candidacy of the SDF candidate Ikome Nikenga was rejected or not. It happened that his name was published in some newspapers as qualified but reportedly not found in some ELECAM publications, putting the SDF in the state of real confusion. 

Senior officials of ELECAM later came cleared the doubts, insisting that the candidate was not rejected. This raised hopes of the SDF as they were still ready to receive late campaign materials from the election management body; but their wait turned sour when even on Election Day, ballot papers for the SDF candidate did not come and Elecam did not give any official explanation.

The Supreme Court judgement rejecting the SDF call for re-run in Buea rural therefore confirmed Hon. Monjowa Lifaka as the elected MP for Fako West Constituency for her 3rd term.

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