Cardinal takes on electoral fraud
President Paul Biya of Cameroon recently took the oath of office at the Cameroon National Assembly, Yaoundé, for his sixth term in office. He won the election on 9 October, 2011, which the opposition and some prominent church leaders, like Archbishop Emeritus of Douala Cardinal Tumi, described as fraudulent.
The cardinal who has been very vocal about the handling of the election says there have been no trustworthy elections in Cameroon for more than 50 years.
In a recent interview with L’Actu newspaper, Cardinal Tumi, who has retired as archbishop of Douala said, "It is 50 years since independence. Even during the one-party system, there have never been transparent elections in Cameroon because results were proclaimed before they counted the votes. Biya’s regime is set on the same logic. I was thinking that the October 9, 2011, election could be transparent, but I was disappointed.”
On October 21, the Supreme Court, playing the role of the Constitutional Council, declared the results of the presidential poll. Biya won with 77.9 percent of the vote. The opposition parties in Cameroon have decried these results - and the entire election process - as not credible and completely undemocratic.
Cardinal Tumi who voted at the cathedral in Douala says the exercise there was truly catastrophic, and there can be no excuses for that. He added that he had two voter cards and if he wanted to vote twice he could have done so without difficulty. This is a shame, Tumi said, recommending that the Biya regime be very careful because with such discontent, Cameroonians could resort to physical confrontation as a way to express their frutstrations.
Tumi warned that God will ask Paul Biya, “What did you do with the power I entrusted to you?”
Now installed, President Biya has been receiving congratulatory messages from other heads of state and international observers like the African Union and La Francophonie. Cardinal Tumi says this is done in complicity with the regime in power.
"In my opinion, they didn’t observe anything," Tumi asserted. "It was their place to disperse observers right to the interior of the country. Instead, they were cruising around cities in luxurious cars. The church deployed over fifty independent observers in the field.”
Questioned by L’Actu on whether the logic of insurrection to liberate Cameroon makes sense to him, Cardinal Tumi remarked that it is true that the Catholic Church has it in its Holy Scriptures that the people can take up arms against a dictator.
He was quick to emphasize, however, that “in modern times there are other means like dialogue and pressure.”
Meanwhile, Rev. Kisob Bertin, leader of the Maatist Universal Center, claims he is a “divine lion”. Unlike Cardinal Tumi, Rev Kisob believes in rebellion and has claimed responsibility for earlier incidences when gunmen created chaos in Douala, demanding that Biya leave power.