*Campaign and Ballot papers of its candidate were unavailable
By Christopher Ambe
Cameroon’s Supreme Court yesterday October 11 started adjudicating on some 40 or so petitions against the conduct of last September 30 legislative elections brought before it by various political parties including Cameroon 's leading opposition party the SDF that contested the polls for the country's 180 parliamentary seats.
The petitioners cited election irregularities such as absence of their ballot papers on Election Day,buying of opponents' ballot papers, the chasing of representatives of political parties at polling stations by partisans of the ruling CPDM and stuffing of ballot boxes
|Hon. Emilia M. Lifaka|
Campaign and ballot papers for the CPDM candidate Hon. Emilia Monjowa Lifaka were printed and made available by ELECAM, Cameroon’s elections management body, while those of the SDF candidate Ikome Nikenga Joseph were not printed.
Upon realization, the SDF reportedly informed ELECAM and was assured that the mistake would be corrected before Election Day.
But to the unpleasant surprise of the SDF even on Election Day the campaign materials expected from Elecam and ballot papers of their candidate Ikome Nikenga were not available .This almost pushed its numerous supporters to disrupt the polls but for the timely intervention of Buea Divisional Officer, Kouam W.Paul and Mr.Ikome Nikenga ,who calmed them.
After the publication by ELECAM of lists of qualified candidates’ nation-wide, there was some confusion as to whether the candidacy of the SDF candidate Ikome Nikenga was rejected or not. It happened that his name was published in some newspapers as qualified but reportedly not found in some ELECAM publications, putting the SDF in the state of real confusion.
Senior officials of ELECAM later came cleared the doubts, insisting that the candidate was not rejected, raising hopes of the SDF as they were still ready to receive late campaign materials from the election management body; but their wait turned sour when even on Election Day, ballot papers for the SDF candidate did not come.
|Mr.Ikome Nikenga Joseph|
When The Recorder approached Candidate Ikome Nikenga in his village-Wotutu,to find out the origin of the confusion, the embittered candidate received us and made certain revelations.
“I fulfilled the required registration conditions and was officially given a certificate to that effect. My name was published among other qualified candidates in Cameroon Tribune (state-owned daily), The Sun, The Post and other newspapers.
“I was surprised that my election papers did not come … If you go to the ELECAM Website, my name is still there as SDF candidate for Fako West”
He said when he discovered that his election papers had not come “I complained to ELECAM, to the Buea District Chairman Johnson Kwendi and to the SDF Regional Chairman for Southwest George Ngeka Likiye, who said in a provincial meeting on Sunday September 29 in Kumba, that the problem has been redressed and that the ballot papers would be printed and sent”
But Mr. Ikome Nikenga expressed disappointment at the attitude of his Party’s SW Regional Boss Ngeka Likiye, after the election.
“After the election, I have been calling his phone and he would not pick up the calls,” he told The Recorder, doubting why the SW SDF hierarchy has adopted a suspicious lukewarm attitude towards this matter.
Asked if he did not think Mr. Ngeka Likiye was not responding to his (Ikome Nikenga) phone calls because he did not recognize his number, the SDF candidate retorted, “He recognizes my number. I just don’t know the game he is playing”
He dismissed allegations that he (Ikome Nikenga) received bribe from the CPDM party in order not to press on with the sensitive matter.
“If collected money I would not have lodged a petition with the Supreme Court calling for a re-run. I have seen Barrister Suh Ben, SDF Legal Adviser for Northwest and Southwest. And the SDF petition is now at the Supreme Court of Cameroon”
Mr.Ikome Nikenga, who is a popular SDF candidate in Buea District, is holder of the GCE Advanced Levels (GHS Limbe) plus one year university education. (In 1989, he enrolled into the Faculty of Law, Letters and Human Science, University of Yaounde and did one year before dropping out, due to financial difficulties ,to told The Recorder).
Mr.Ikome Nikenga, first contested parliamentary election in the same constituency in 2007 against Hon Emilia Monjowa Lifaka and lost to the latter.
Everybody now looks up to the Supreme Court, to see if it will order a re-run or will dismiss the SDF petition -thereby validating Hon Monjowa Lifaka’s election as MP for Fako West Constituency for her 3rd term.
But Ikome Nikenga thinks that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the SDF by ordering a re-run, “I will beat Hon .Lifaka in a free and fair election .I am very popular in the constituency “