By Christopher Ambe Shu
Cameroonians at home and abroad will go to the polls to elect a president on October 9, following a presidential decree signed and published by Cameroon's President, Paul Biya today ,according to state radio.
According to the decree,polling stations will open as from 8 am and close at 6 pm local .
The convening of the electoral college according to the law brings to a halt the enrollment of voters in electoral registers.Registration of voters officially had as target nine million voters,but it not clear whether the target was hit.
Political parties have up to one week to submit files of their presidential aspirants at the offices of Elections Cameroon(ELECAM),which is the electoral body in charge of conducting and managing of election.
By convening the electoral college,President Biya has ignored calls from some quarters especially the leading opposition party,the Social Democratic Front(SDF) for the election to be postponed to give sufficient time for more enrollment of voters.
The SDF ,which had threatened to boycott this year's presidential election on grounds that ELECAM was not independent and credible, and asked its militants not to enroll in the electoral registers,recently reversed its decision following the review of ELECAM,whose Board of Directors membership moved from 12 to 18.
The recent appointment by President Biya of six more members believed to be independent-minded to the ELECAM Board apparently pleased the SDF,which now called on its militants to enroll in the voter registration.
But political pundits argue that, SDF late registration may negatively affect their votes ,especially as members and sympathizers of the ruling CPDM and other parties had started registration from day one.
The CPDM has scheduled its congress to elect its presidential candidate for the 15 and 16 of September.Paul Biya's mandate as National President of the CPDM expired last July.
His mandate too as president of Cameroon expires on November 3. Biya has ruled Cameroon for close to 29 years,since November1982 when he took over from Cameroon's first president Ahmadou Ahidjo
Presidential campaigns are supposed to begin two weeks to polling day. It is not yet clear how many of Cameroon's more 200 political parties will field candidates
Who will be Cameroon's next President? October 9 votes will tell !