Cameroon opposition candidate Maurice Kamto declared victory in Sunday’s presidential election, but incumbent President Paul Biya’s party dismissed his claim as fantasy and accused him of breaking the law by making it.
“I invite the outgoing president to organise a peaceful way to transfer power,” Kamto, who leads the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), told a news conference on Monday in the capital Yaounde.
The election, which was marred by low turnout and isolated incidents of unrest in separatist Anglophone regions, has been widely expected to extend the rule of Biya — one of Africa’s last multi-decade leaders who has 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 outside. He offered no evidence to justify his claim to have won.
But the deputy secretary general of Paul Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, Labour Minister Gregoire Owona, accused Kamto of breaking the law.
“It is not right at all to announce this. He hasn’t won anything at all. It’s totally illegal,” he said, adding that it was too early to say if anyone had won.
“Kamto was not even represented at all the polling stations, (so) it was impossible for him to count all the votes,” he added.