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Catholic Church officials decry fraud, irregularities in October 7 Presidential election

Catholic Church officials say the October 7 Presidential election in Cameroon was marred by fraud and irregularities in many polling stations across the country.

While making its appraisal of the election which just ended, the President of the National Episcopal Council of Cameroon, Mgr Samuel Kleda, said its observers discovered and witnessed many cases of irregularities and fraud, which to them, thwarted the democratic process in Cameroon.

In a report released recently, the Clergy said in some places like Sangmelima, election observers were simply chased away by the authorities.

There were also cases of multiple appearances of one and the same names as was discovered in Garoua and other places. He added that even though ELECAM had given the public the assurance that chief’s palaces would not host polling stations, they found the contrary on the field. He cited the example of two polling stations placed in Chiefs’ palaces in the Mefou and Afamba Division of the Centre Region.

The Prelate further stated that the fraud was well organised to the extent that some voters arrived polling stations only to find out that other persons have voted and signed on their behalf. Such cases were discovered especially in Yaoundé.

Many polling stations in the North also opened late with some only opening at 10:30am instead of the usual 08:00am, the report stated.

The Catholic Church according to Mgr Kleda trained and dispatched more than 200 election observers to the field and it is based on their reports that they came to this conclusion. However, the Church called for calm as the results are being awaited.

It should be recalled that last month, Mgr Kleda held a press conference and announced that the Catholic Church would create its own Electoral Commission and dispatch observers to the field on election day.

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