Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cameroon Twin Elections: "Were Justice to Prevail,CPDM Would Be Disqualified in Many Places"-Njoh Litumbe,Minority Rights Leader

 Mola  Njoh Litumbe,86,is the Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Alliance,a Cameroonian political party that does not longer contest elections in the country,citing uneven playing ground. Mola Njoh is also a strong campaigner  for the restoration of the rights of Southern Cameroonians, and as such has been subjected to several arrests by the Biya Administration.Below is his reaction to the Last September 30 twin elections in Cameroon:


Mola Njoh Litumbe
The general opinion is that the recently conducted twin elections were a great improvement on similar exercises in the past, but for my part, I cannot say that the recent elections were FREE and FAIR for the following reasons: 

To have had free and fair elections for the contesting parties to play free and fair political football, there ought to have been a level playing field for all contestants.  This was not the case, for two principal reasons:

All senior officials from the rank, I think, of sub-director upwards, working for the State of Cameroon,  were released from their functions as state employees, and dispatched to their constituencies of origin to campaign for the ruling CPDM. Their salaries and other perquisites, including pension rights, constitute a charge on the Public Treasury.  In effect, therefore, the CPDM had an overriding advantage over the other contesting parties, by not only using state employees and other staff in Government controlled institutions, to invest their influence in their constituencies of origin where they command clout, in favour of the CPDM party, but diverted State resources to their advantage. 

Such a practice is not fair to the other contestants.  Not only that, there have been public prosecutions lately for state officials accused of misappropriating public funds.  Theft is theft, no matter the amount of money stolen.  Therefore all those civil servants who abdicated their state functions and went campaigning for their chosen political party, should similarly be prosecuted for divertion of public funds in respect of the state salaries and perquisites they enjoyed during the campaigns.  Their superiors who released them should also be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the commition of a crime.

Secondly, to have a free and fair game, there has got to be an impartial umpire.  I watched football last night on TV, and very much enjoyed the World Cup preliminaries being played towards getting the world's winning team. To accomplish this task the services of an independent umpire are indispensable.  For a political contest, it is imperative that there should exist an Independent Judiciary to rule on infringements to electoral regulations which prohibit cheating or taking unfair advantage over the other contestants.

Sadly, for Cameroon Republic, a Judicial organ of the African Union has found for a fact that the Judiciary in the Republic of Cameroon is not independent because the President of the Republic is Chairman of the Higher Judicial Council which hires and pays all Judicial officers including Registrars, Magistrates and Judges, and all Court decisions are rendered by delegated powers from the President. 
It is therefore easy to understand that if the President's party is taking part in an election contest, to the extent to which the Judiciary is not independent, the chances of the President's party winning in any election dispute are enormous, so long as the President is head of the Judiciary.

If Justice was was to prevail, the CPDM party should be disqualified in all constituencies where civil servants or other state officials were campaigning openly for the CPDM, and the results declared in favour of the competing parties.  This is the best way for President Biya to demonstrate that he is President of all Cameroon and that the Rule of Law also applies in Cameroon in the conduct of public affairs for which he is responsible.  Otherwise the show-case trials in Yaounde would appear to be for reasons other than misappropriation of public funds.


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