Cameroon challenger cries foul over 'false' election observers

A Cameroonian opposition candidate, who stirred controversy with an unsubstantiated claim he won Sunday's presidential poll, on Wednesday cried foul over a group of "false" election observers.

On Monday evening, the state-run CRTV television station showed footage from a press conference with six international election observers whom it identified as belonging to Transparency International (TI).

But the NGO denied any affiliation with the people seen in the footage, describing the television report as "false and untrue".

The main spokesperson at the press conference, identified as Nurit Greenger, spoke positively about the smooth running of the election, describing it as "extremely good".

"I think everybody did their job in a clear and satisfactory manner," she said, wearing an identity tag listing her as an "independent".

But TI said it had not sent an international observer mission to Cameroon for the vote.

"The individuals shown in the report have no affiliation with Transparency International," said Patricia Moreira, TI's managing director, in a statement posted on the organisation's website.

"We have not sent an international election observation mission to Cameroon."

She said TI's local chapter in Cameroon had set up a "reporting mechanism" for use by the general public and was working with a citizens' network to report on possible irregularities.

"However, none of these activities are part of an official election observation mission."

A public inquiry 

In a blog-style article posted online under Greenger's byline, she said she was invited to Cameroon by Agence Cameroun Presse (ACP) and Transparency International "to be an observer and capture election irregularities".

Contacted by AFP, the ACP was not immediately available for comment. The ACP Twitter feed was set up in July 2018 at the same time as its website.

Many social media accounts were set up by different political actors ahead of the presidential election.

Opposition candidate Maurice Kamto on Wednesday pointed the finger at CRTV, saying such "false" observers had been seeking to "condone fraud".

He demanded a public inquiry and pledged to file a complaint against the TV channel.

"A public inquiry must be opened as quickly as possible to find out who these people who falsely posed as representatives of Transparency International and who brought them in," his spokesperson Olivier Bibou Nissack said.

On Monday, Kamto declared himself the victor in Sunday's election but offered no proof for his claim, which came as the official results were still being compiled.

By law, each polling station must submit its results for verification to the Elecam electoral commission and then to the Constitutional Court which is responsible for announcing the final tally within 15 days of the vote.

Kamto was one of seven candidates seeking to unseat President Paul Biya, 85, who has ruled Cameroon for 36 years and is seeking a seventh consecutive term.

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