The Cameroon election vote count began after polls closed Sunday with the main opposition party Social Democratic Front saying they will monitor the counting and the resultant declaration process.
The results of the elections are expected in two weeks. The government has issued warnings against publishing any trends or estimated results ahead of an official declaration by the constitutional council.
This, however, did not deter Maurice Kamto, a former Biya minister, from declaring his victory in the elections, with Al-Jazeera reporting the likely return of incumbent President Paul Biya for a seventh term. Kamto announced an alliance with lawyer Akere Muna 24 hours before the voting started.
"I invite the outgoing president to organize a peaceful way to transfer power," Kamto, who leads the Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), told a news conference Monday in the capital Yaounde.
But the deputy secretary general of Paul Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement, Labour Minister Gregoire Owona, 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.
Despite the claim by Cameroon’s elections commission and African Union observers that Sunday's presidential poll was largely successful with minor irregularities, Reuters reported three people were shot dead in Bamenda, capital of the northwest region of the country.
The 20 percent anglophone demographic of the country has tried to break away and form their own state for years which had resulted in a major crisis in the northwest and southwest regions since 2016. People of these regions have tried to boycott the elections and three men were gunned down while trying to stop people from voting.
Gunfights between the military and protesters began Saturday in at least six towns and villages including Nkambe, Mamfe, and Kumbo.
Several buildings were burned, including residences where voting material was thought to have been stored.
Both the governors of northwest and southeast regions said the violence did not deter them from doing their jobs and the voting went ahead as planned.
Biya, Africa’s oldest leader who has been in office since 1982 made claims of peaceful voting with more than 20 million people choosing their next leader.
"I am satisfied after performing my civic duty and particularly satisfied that the election is taking place in calm and serenity and without fighting," Biya said after voting. "I hope that the calm will continue after results are proclaimed.”
"My wish is that the results of the ballot should not be tampered with. That transparency should be the watchword and that the choice made by the Cameroonian people be respected," said Joshua Osih, the candidate of Social Democratic Front.