Cameroon’s opposition candidate has claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential polls despite a government warning not to announce unofficial results.
“I was charged with taking a penalty, I took it and I scored,” Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC) candidate Maurice Kamto said at a news conference on Monday in Yaounde.
“I have received a clear mandate from the people and I intend to defend it until the end,” he said.
“I invite the outgoing president to organise a peaceful way to transfer power,” Kamto added.
The opposition candidate did not give results to justify his claim, which was greeted by loud cheers from supporters as he made his announcement.
But the deputy secretary general of the ruling-Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, Gregoire Owona, has 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.
By law, each polling station must submit its results after verification by the electoral commission, to the Constitutional Court which is responsible for announcing the official tally within 15 days.
Ahead of the polls, Kamto formed a coalition with the marginal opposition People’s Development Front (FDP) but was still seen as unlikely to threaten Preident Paul Biya’s 35-year grip on power.
The main opposition Social Democratic Front contender, Joshua Osih, did not participate in the coalition.
The counting of votes has not been concluded in an election expected to return Biya for a seventh term.
Biya, Africa’s oldest leader, has been in office since 1982.