Cameroonian presidential election, 2004

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Cameroonian presidential election, 2004
← 1997 11 October 2004 2011 →
  Paul Biya with Obamas cropped.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Paul Biya John Fru Ndi
Popular vote 2,665,359 654,066
Percentage 70.92% 17.40%

President before election

Paul Biya

Elected President

Paul Biya

Coat of arms of Cameroon.svg
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Presidential elections were held in Cameroon on 11 October 2004. Incumbent President Paul Biya was easily re-elected in an election which the opposition claimed had seen widespread electoral fraud.


Biya came to power in 1982 and by 2004 had ruled Cameroon for 22 years.[1] Multi-party democracy was introduced for the 1992 election but Biya was accused of rigging the election to ensure victory.[1] The last presidential election in 1997 saw Biya re-elected with 93% of the vote after opposition parties boycotted the election.[2] The expectation before the 2004 election was that Biya would be re-elected to another term of office, with no chance that anyone else would be able or allowed to defeat him.[3][4]


After announcing that the presidential election would be held on 11 October,[5] Biya confirmed on 16 September that he would stand for re-election.[6] Before his announcement there had been calls from groups such as university lecturers and over 100 former footballers for him to stand again.[7]

Biya was opposed by 15 other candidates after the opposition failed to agree on a single candidate.[1] A 10-party coalition nominated Adamou Ndam Njoya for the election, but his candidacy was rejected by the veteran opposition politician John Fru Ndi who decided to stand as well.[8] Fru Nidi said that he should have been selected instead of Njoya as Fru Nidi's Social Democratic Front had more elected members.[8] Fru Ndi was an anglophone from western Cameroon who had stood in the 1992 election, while Adamou Ndam Njoya was a Muslim francophone from northern Cameroon.[9]

There were also reports that Biya backed some of the candidates so they could act as spoilers.[8][9]


Biya initially did not campaign in the election and only made his first campaign stop within the last week before polling day.[10][11] Biya described his opponents as inexperienced and said that he was only person who could prevent anarchy in Cameroon.[10][11] He also pledged to improve education, health and women's rights, as well as decentralising and developing industry and tourism.[10] One of Biya's campaign slogans was "Free mosquito nets for pregnant mothers" but there was significant scepticism over the pledges made by Biya after the failure to achieve ones made in previous elections.[9]

The opposition candidates said that the government had mismanaged the economy and failed to address widespread poverty.[10] John Fru Ndi attracted the most supporters to his rallies of any of the opposition candidates, with up to 30,000 attending his rally in Douala.[11] He pledged to restore previous wage scales for workers, to reduce corruption and poverty, scrap fees at university and remove taxation from small businesses.[11]


Opposition candidates criticised the election as having seen significant amounts of multiple voting and that security forces had harassed opposition agents at polling stations.[1] They described the election as having been rigged and appealed to the Supreme Court to annul the results.[12] However most international observers said that despite some shortcomings the election was mainly satisfactory.[13] These included a group of former United States congressmen who called the election "fair and transparent"; however, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues dissented and said that the election had seen many irregularities.[12]


On 25 October 2004 the Supreme Court confirmed the results and rejected the complaints from the opposition.[14] The final results saw Biya secure 70.9% of the vote against 17.4% for his nearest rival John Fru Ndi.[14]

Candidate Party Votes %
Paul Biya Cameroon People's Democratic Movement 2,665,359 70.92
John Fru Ndi Social Democratic Front 654,066 17.40
Adamou Ndam Njoya Cameroon Democratic Union 168,318 4.48
Garga Haman Adji Alliance for Democracy and Development 140,372 3.74
Justin Mouafo Nationalism of Cameroonian Patriots 14,915 0.40
Yondo Mandengue Black Social Movement for New Democracy 13,601 0.36
Anicet Ekane Social Movement for New Democracy 13,290 0.35
Fritz Pierre Ngo Cameroon Ecological Movement 13,122 0.35
Jean Michel Tekam Party of Social Democracy 12,785 0.34
Victorin Hameni Bieuleu Union of Democratic Forces 11,920 0.32
Boniface Forbin Justice and Development Party 10,542 0.28
Djeukam Tchameni Movement for Democracy and Interdependence 10,539 0.28
Jean-Jacques Ekindi Progressive Movement 10,158 0.27
Hubert Kamgang Union of African Populations 7,508 0.20
George Dobgima Nyamndi Social Liberal Congress 6,730 0.18
Gustave Essaka Cameroon Integral Democracy 4,996 0.13
Invalid/blank votes 72,051
Total 3,830,272 100
Registered voters/turnout 4,657,748 82.23
Source: African Elections Database


  1. ^ a b c d Peel, Michael (2004-10-12). "Poll fraud claim by Cameroon opposition". Financial Times. p. 8. 
  2. ^ "Landslide win for Cameroon leader". BBC News Online. 2004-10-15. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  3. ^ "Frustration threatens Cameroon calm". BBC News Online. 2004-01-07. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  4. ^ "Cameroon opposition fails to see eye to eye". The Independent. 2004-09-18. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  5. ^ "Old Cameroon foes battle again as election nears". Reuters. 2004-09-12. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  6. ^ "Cameroon leader seeks a new term". BBC News Online. 2004-09-16. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  7. ^ "Cameroon players back president". BBC News Online. 2004-09-06. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  8. ^ a b c "Cameroon leader's 'divide and rule'". BBC News Online. 2004-09-17. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  9. ^ a b c "International: Come back in six months; Cameroon". The Economist. 2004-10-16. p. 67. 
  10. ^ a b c d Peel, Michael (2004-10-07). "Ruler of Cameroon can afford to take relaxed attitude to re- election: President Paul Biya, who has run the oil-rich African country since 1982, looks highly unlikely to lose his job.". Financial Times. p. 14. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Cameroon's reluctant campaigner". BBC News Online. 2004-10-09. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  12. ^ a b "'Cameroon election fair and transparent'". The Independent. 2004-10-15. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  13. ^ "Cameroon's president wins landslide". The Independent. 2004-10-15. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  14. ^ a b "Cameroon leader's win confirmed". BBC News Online. 2004-10-25. Retrieved 2009-12-19.