THE SETTLEMENT OF ELECTORAL DESPUTES IN CAMEROON
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All citizens have the right to participate in government, directly or by representatives chosen through genuine democratic elections. International and national laws guarantee the right to a fair hearing to everyone. In Cameroon, it is enshrined in the preamble of the constitution. However, in Cameroon, the laws, institutions, and procedures put in place for the settlement of electoral disputes are a problem to guarantee free, fair, and quality justice in the settlement of electoral disputes. Our main aim is to make a critical analysis of the settlement of electoral disputes by courts in Cameroon. In this light, we adopted a doctrinal methodology. Primary sources of information were explored as well as the secondary source. The study found out that the inaction of courts enables incumbents to consistently retain power, thereby negating the principle of consolidation of democracy. Thus, the courts are failing to play a role in promoting democratic consolidation. The research concludes that the settlement of electoral disputes by courts in Cameroon has a lot of challenges. We recommend that candidates be given the right to appeal
All citizens have the right to participate in government, directly or by representatives chosen through genuine democratic elections. However, conflicts can arise even in the most democratic electoral process. Cameroon commitments to follow international obligations and standards to provides court settlement, do not only guarantee electoral rights, but in such cases also provide guidance when electoral disputes occur. Election disputes are inherent to elections. The rules and procedures in place for any given election should allow voters to challenge violations through an effective system of election dispute resolution that addresses their concerns and takes into consideration due process guarantee. The Cameroonian lawmaker ensuring access to legal redress during the electoral process is important to increase public trust in elections, contribute to the legitimacy of the government, and protect voters’ rights, assembly and association. The existence of election complaints in Cameroon therefore does not indicate any weakness, but on the contrary a fair and comprehensive process for resolving disputes, reflecting a strong commitment to democracy and human rights. International standards protect the settlement of electoral disputes, effective remedy, through the efficient, independent and transparent administration of justice. Disputes over electoral outcome are a common feature of electoral politics. Yet, very little is known about how people of the bench resolve these challenges and what effect, if any, this has on the contrary dissatisfaction of electoral stakeholders. This is why electoral disputes are often limited to all complaints and appeals on election results. The proper settlement of electoral disputes is an essential part of a successful electoral process. This implies ensuring an effective system of challenging electoral violations and examination of election disputes, by combing and effective mechanism of lodging complaints and an effective decision making process on election and electoral complaint. It is on this aspect this research work is based upon to analyst the settlement of electoral disputes by courts in Cameroon.
Election disputes are inherent to elections. Challenging an election, its conduct or its results, should however not be perceived as a reflection of weakness in the system, but as proof of the strength, vitality, and openness of the political system.
In Cameroon, the settlement of electoral disputes is a very pertinent issue and it has passed through a crucial climatic atmosphere without any democratic transition for presidential elections. Since the first multi- party municipal elections in 1996, legislative election in march 1992 and presidential elections on the 11 of October 1992. The elections were marred by widespread of irregularities, violence and human rights abuses. At the helm of the municipal elections, a total of 96 appeals were submitted to the Supreme Court relating to irregularities. The court annulled 18 election results but was unable to rule in most of the cases. As the presidential elections of 11 October 1992 took placed, on the 20 October 1992, John FruNdi of the social democratic front(SDF) claimed that he had won the election with 38.7% of the votes. However, the next day the National Vote Counting Commission announced that president Paul Biya had won with 39.9% of the votes, compared with 35.9% for the SDF and 19.5% for the UNDP candidate. The Supreme Court endorsed these official results.
The election results sparked a series of protests, particularly in the Anglophone North west province, where the SDF was based. This led to destructions of property and attacks on RDPC members. On the 27 of October the government declared state of emergency in the North west province now region; hundreds of opposition supporters were detained for several months and others beaten John FruNdi was placed under house arrest until the end of the year. This was the same scenario in the last presidential elections of 7 October 2018 were the constitutional council gave its ruling on the 22 of October 2018. In Cameroon, there disputes related to elections are constitutionally mandated and given to the courts. Since the power to settle disputes have been given to the courts in Cameroon, a research work to look on how courts effectively settle electoral disputes in Cameroon with emphasis on CC which handles presidential and parliamentary elections was consider inevitable for the prone to accelerate democracy.
Disputes over electoral outcome are a common feature of electoral politics. When courts are considered apolitical and a symbol of blind folded justice, society is likely to trust them to resolve disputes fairly. When aggrieved people avail themselves of judicial processes to redress their grievances and are treated fairly, the more likely that democracy will grow and there will be stability in the country and consequently increase social cohesion, participation in politics and democracy is achieved. The aggrieved choose the law as the law. This practice will facilitate the institutionalization of succession and entrench the rule of law and constitutionalism. However, when the laws and institutions put in place are in adequate to guarantee just and fair decision from courts it becomes a problem as to how the settlement of election disputes should be free and fair in elections. In a related view, when some of the laws are clumsy and interpretation of the laws conflicting, it causes some restrictiveness to challenge electoral results.
How effective is the settlement of electoral disputes by in Cameroon?
What are legal frameworks for the settlement of presidential, legislative and senatorial elections in Cameroon?
What are the institutional Framework in the settlement of municipal and regional elections in Cameroon?
What possible recommendations can be improve the settlement of electoral disputes in Cameroon?
The main objective of this research is to critically examine and understand the settlement of electoral disputes in Cameroon.
- To explore the legal frameworks for the settlement of presidential, legislative and senatorial elections in Cameroon.
- To analyse the institutional Framework in the settlement of municipal and regional elections in Cameroon.
- To make possible recommendations and conclusion in the settlement of electoral disputes in Cameroon.