Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Precipitated Elections in Cameroon unlikely in 2010

The much-contemplated precipitated in elections in Cameroon in 2010 seem to be very unlikely now following the last week First ordinary session of the Board members of the independent electoral body charged with the organisation, management and supervision of all election operations and referendums in Cameroon, Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) in Yaoundé.

Chaired by the president of ELECAM, Dr. Samuel Fonkam Azu’u, the first out of four ordinary sessions focused on the effective implementation of the 2010 plan of action, without any inkling as to the organisation of any elections within the period.

In an interview with the press, ELECAM’s president said the first major challenge of ELECAM for the year 2010 is the putting in place of their newly acquired offices and the training of the staff that they are recruiting in order to prepare them for the better management of elections.

Holding at a time when the bone of contention is the registration of voters for the upcoming presidential elections, Fonkam Azu’u told reporters that if there have been delays in the registration it has been because ELECAM needed a legal framework that was given last year and assured citizens that voter registration will begin soonest.

The ordinary session of Board members of ELECAM comes barely a few weeks that the body received electoral material from the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (MINATD) that has been in charge of elections management in the past. The materials that comprised of ballot boxes, registers, etc were handed over to the Director General of Elections, Mohaman Sani Tanimou, by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Marafa Hamidou Yaya, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Head of Government Philemon Yang and other ELECAM officials recently in Yaoundé.

Following the transfer of the materials from MINATD to ELECAM, the independent electoral body is then expected to also transfer to the various branches, reason why Fonkam Azu’u told reporters at the session that in the days ahead they are going to proceed

With the handing over of the materials to the various branches, that is, regional divisional and district levels voter registration can begin.

Though it has not been made public when the registration of voters will begin, expectations are high amongst Cameroonians who are anxious to see ELECAM manage its first ever elections.

Given that the officials of ELECAM are just a few months old following their appointment by Presidential decrees N° 2008/463 and 2008/464 of December 2008 and their final swearing in early last year 2009, these officials are expected to get hold of the voter registry, master it before any registration to avoid any mishaps. After that the president said “we are going to proceed with the training of the staff that we are currently recruiting on how to use voter registers and other registration processes”

With the complete handover of electoral materials and the intensification of preparations by ELECAM therefore, MINATD has definitely disassociated itself from carrying out election matters in the country.

By NDI Eugene NDI

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