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“The United States has no preferred candidate” Under fire US Embassy debunk rumors of possible election meddling in Cameroon

The Embassy of the United States of America in Cameroon has dismissed media reports of financing the political campaigns of Cameroon’s opposition leaders.

About four newpapers had front page stories accusing three Cameroon opposition figures, Joshua Osih, Maurice Kamto and Akere Muna, of disagreeing over an alleged 2.7 billion Francs CFA handed over to them by the US Ambassador Peter Henry Balerin to help finance their campaigns.

However, a spokesperson of the Embassy of the United States in Cameroon Lee McManis said described such news as false and unfounded.

“The U.S. government has not contributed and does not intend to contribute financially to any political party or parties, be they governing or opposition,” Lee McManis said in a statement.

He also frowned at the authors of the articles of not contacting the US Embassy to verify the information before publication.

“The U.S. Embassy would like to underscore that (the) reporter did not contact the Public Affairs Section, which, like at any foreign diplomatic mission, receives all questions from media outlets and responds promptly and appropriately,” the spokesperson added.

The media reports were based on the meeting between the US Ambassador Peter Henry Balerin and some political, civil society and religious actors in Yaounde over two months ago.

However, the Embassy has made it clear that it is in its tradition to meet and discuss with a wide range of actors in the society.

“As part of its diplomacy, U.S. government officials routinely meet with a wide range of people of any host country, including government leaders and other officials, opposition party leaders and members, the press, religious leaders and members, and civil society representatives,” Lee McManis said.

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Cameroon is expected to hold Presidential elections later this year with the electoral code forbiding candidates from benefitting from external financing.

“The United States has no preferred candidate or party with respect to Cameroon’s elections. We adhere to the position it is the will of the Cameroonian people to decide on their leader and that elections should be free, fair, and credible elections so that the will of the people is heard,” the US spokesperson said.

The United States embassy in the country has been under fire from the government of Cameroon who has accused its officials of being undiplomatic.

In May 2018 after the US ambassador to the country Peter Barlrin visited the head of state and told the commander in chief to think of his legacy like Mandela and George Washington amidst worsening Anglophone crisis in a statement issued on the embassy website, the nation’s top officials and regime loyalists went to an overdrive.

Foreign affairs minister summoned the US diplomat and communications boss and government spokesman Issa Tchiroma describes his statements as “regrettable”.

The US reacted by saying its diplomat will not be intimidated and relations between the two countries has  taken a dive even though no official diplomatic contacts or corporation has been severed.

 

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