*Seek to know force behind the presidential candidate's popularity
By Christopher Ambe Shu
|Hon. Ayah Paul:braving the odds|
Police in Bamenda on Monday reportedly arrested supporters of the People’s Action Party(PAP), whose presidential candidate is Hon.Ayah Paul Abine and detained them .
According to PAP officials , “The coordinator of AYAH's People's Action Party, PAP, in Bamenda, Mr. Caspa Frankline was arrested at 9:40 AM Monday morning at the Bamenda Commercial Avenue by the Mobile Wing of the Forces of Law and Order. He was detained alongside other PAP members and held until 4 PM”.
PAP officials say that “They were forced and intimidated to explain the force ‘behind Paul AYAH and PAP'. The Recorder by press time did not succeed to independently verify the reason of the arrest with the Bamenda police.
But The Recorder has learned that PAP-which was registered in the early 1990’s with headquarters in Kumba and was little known, is now gaining more grounds in many towns even in Bamenda, the fief of the leading opposition party .
The arrest of Caspa Frankline and others is considered by PAP as intimidation by the Biya administration of presidential challengers.
Reports have it that ever since Hon. Ayah ,the only courageous CPDM MP who opposed a 2008 constitutional amendment scrapping limits to presidential terms ,resigned from the ruling CPDM several months ago and joined the PAP to contest the coming presidential polls, police have ,more than twice, in Bamenda and Buea reportedly acting on instruction from hierarcy,prevented him from educating Cameroonians at gatherings on his vision of a born-again Cameroon.
The arrest of PAP adherents took place against the backdrop of calls from civil society organizations for a level playing ground for presidential competitors and prayers from Christian communities for peace during this electoral period.
In Buea, for example, hundreds of clergymen and Christians, under the banner of Gospel Ministers’ Forum, coordinated by Martin Tem and Rev.Dr.S.M Mbote, last Sunday, September 18 marched about six kilo metres from Bongo Square to Molyko Stadium in what they described as a campaign prayer for peace before, during and after the presidential election.
There is the general fear that supporters of some candidates that will end up as losers may retort to violence and vandalism in protest. But informed sources have told us that all security forces have been put on red alert to check any disturbances during this electoral exercise.
Twenty-three (23) candidates including the incumbent, 78-year old Paul Biya of the CPDM will be competing to become the next president of Cameroon.
One of Biya’s top challengers will be John Fru Ndi, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Front, who like Biya has been chairman of his party since its creation in 1990.
Cameroon has over 240 political parties and 53 of them submitted their candidatures for the coming presidential polls, but Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the body charged with the conduct of elections rejected 30 applicants for non-compliance with legal requirements.
Cameroon has a population of about 18 million people.
According to Njang Emmanuel, Southwest Regional Delegate for ELECAM, more than seven million Cameroonians are enrolled in electoral registers at home and abroad. ELECAM had planned to register up to nine million voters.
Since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in Cameroon in 1990, this central African country has had three presidential elections: 1992, 1997 and 2004.
And the incumbent, Paul Biya emerged as winner of all the three polls ,against wide-spread accusations by the opposition that he was an election rigger.
Campaigns for this year’s presidential will officially kick off tomorrow September 24 and the 23 candidates are already strategizing to win over voters
(First published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of September 23,2011)