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Cameroon Reacts to Presidential Election Results

This post is part of our special coverage Cameroon Elections 2011.

Humour, outrage, allusions to Muammar Gaddafi's demise and calls for peace have dominated online reactions to the official results of the Cameroon presidential election, which was won by the incumbent, Paul Biya.

Barely a few hours after the Supreme Court proclaimed Biya winner with 77.9 percent of the votes cast, some Cameroonians showed how adept they are at deriding the challenges they face. Tweets inspired by a rap song suggesting that ‘Biya always wins’ quickly made rounds via the #cmr11 hashtag:

@titaleslie: “Paul Biya Feat Dj Khaled : All i do is win, win, win No matter what…”. #cmr11

Biya has ruled Cameroon since 1982. The association of Biya with the ‘no matter what’ bling-rapper theme even has a photo-montage in which the long serving leader is made to look like the rapper DJ Khaled.

DJ Khaled “All I Do Is Win” featuring Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain & Snoop Dogg:

In any case, Cameroonians needed all the good humour they could muster to keep them going while waiting for the final results of this poll organized on 9 October.

President Paul Biya is made to look like the rapper DJ Khaled. Image courtesy of camerounmonpays blog

President Paul Biya is made to look like the rapper DJ Khaled. Image courtesy of camerounmonpays blog

The court session for the proclamation of results was long and tedious. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Alexis Dipanda Mouelle read continuously for nearly nine hours.

Dibussi Tande tweeted saying:

@dibussi: Justice Dipanda's reading is now officially longer than Fidel Castro's longest speech ever which was 7 hrs 10 mins #cmr11 #cameroon

Bate Etah said:

@BateEtah: You could fly from Dakar to Yaounde with Abidjan, Cotonou stopovers b4 Chief Justice is done reading election results #cmr11 @gefsoutlook

But he also had some advice:

@BateEtah: To Cameroon authorities: Reading election results for over 8hrs does NOT make them democratic. It shows the height of incompetence. #cmr11

Here is a video (in French) with excerpts (not the 9 hours!) of Justice Dipanda Mouelle announcing the winner. He said:

First Biya RDPC (CPDM party) 3,772,527 (votes cast) giving 77.989 percent…By consequence of obtaining the majority of votes cast, candidate Paul Biya is declared President of the Republic

Leslie Tita put together on his Diary of an African Designer blog, an infographic depicting the election results and process for those who are interested.

Beyond the results, what have Cameroonians learnt from this electoral process? Dibussi Tande at Scribbles From the Den publishes the address by the United States Ambassador to Cameroon at a civil society post-electoral roundtable organised by his Embassy. Dibussi highlights this excerpt from the Ambassador's statement:

Democracy cannot exist in theory if it does not exist in practice. It cannot exist on paper if it does not exist on the streets. As I have said on several occasions, we cannot wait until the conditions for democracy are perfect before we start exercising our democratic rights. We must create conditions for democracy by exercising our democratic rights.

Further down the script Ambassador Jackson said:

As Americans we believe that as the world as a whole democratizes, the world as a whole prospers and frees itself from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, hatred, discrimination, and war. The underlying premise is that we must progress in tandem rather than apart and that the people of every country should have equal opportunity and freedom. Promoting democracy and civil society around the world is not interfering…it is simply sharing our vision of what we wish for all peoples of the world.

So is there a possibility of an external intervention as seen in Libya?

Some Cameroonian bloggers have connected dots between former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Paul Biya, suggesting that Gaddafi's death at the hands of revolutionaries a day before the Cameroon results were published, should be an eye-opener to Biya.

The Chia Report said:

As Kaddafi may testify to Biya from the great beyond, there is no such thing as loyalty to a falling King. Human nature is infallibly treacherous if the price is right. The picture of a bleeding and dying Kaddafi in Sirte, his birth town and now place of death, is yet another reminder to Biya that even his native Mvo Meka will not hide him from the wrath of the people as much as his leaving office will.

But there are those who believe that the election results are an endorsement of Paul Biya's vision for Cameroon. At least, that is the view of a journalist working for the country's state-run television. His analysis (video) could be seen on the Up Station Mount Cameroon blog.

This post is part of our special coverage Cameroon Elections 2011.

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