Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cameroon’s 360 mayors and their deputies to be elected this week

By Nkengasong Calesta*
Cameroon’s 360 mayors and their deputies are expected to be elected and commissioned in to office from October 16, following last September 30 municipal elections that saw the participation of 35 political parties out of the country’s totality of 291 .The CPDM won a total of 305 of the 360 councils.

The election and commissioning of the mayors was initially required by law to begin on October 15, but due to the fact that Tuesday October 15 is the Muslim Feast of Ram-declared a public holiday nation-wide, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization ,Rene Sadi, moved it one day after.

The elected councilors within a municipality are expected to freely nominate and elect the mayor and his/her assistants, supervised by the Senior Divisional Officer of the Division in which the council is found. By law, Senior Divisional Officers are the supervisory authorities of councils. 

Interim Buea Mayor Patrick  Ekema likely to be  retained as Mayor
In Buea council, won by the CPDM, there is serious electioneering among the councilors as to who to be elected mayor; but party sources have hinted The Recorder that Interim Mayor Patrick  Ekema  is likely to  be retained.
The   number of councilors per Council varies-since there are small, urban and city councils .The composition of councils ranges from 25, 41, and 45 to 60

The municipal election, which took place simultaneously with the legislative one, was the first conducted under Cameroon’s newly introduced biometric registration of voters. 

The twin elections were reportedly conducted in calm and serenity, although cases of electoral irregularities were reported nation-wide, which Cameroon’s Supreme Court did consider serious enough to warrant a re-run anywhere.
Mr. Emmanuel Njang, Southwest Regional Delegate for Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), Cameroon’s election management body, told The Recorder: “In terms of organization, we did our best; the various polling stations respected instructions given to them to ensure a free and fair election. The political parties which have won merit such- because we prepared a level playing ground for everyone to compete”

In the Southwest region, for instance, out of 31 councils the CPDM won 26, the SDF got two councils and the remaining three councils are shared between CPDM and the ANDP.And Kumba III Council is shared between CPDM and SDF
The CPDM won in the following councils: In Ndian 9 councils; kupe Manenguba 3 councils; in Fako division 6 councils and konye.The opposition SDF won the councils of Tiko and kumba II. 

Reactions to the Elections
Mr. Mola Ekongolo, of the Ministry of Basic Education who observed the polls, said they were better organized than the past years, adding that they were free and fair.

 According to CPDM Subsection President for Molyko-Wokoko, Mr. Ketcha M Daniel, the elections were transparent. “We need change and I think we are putting the right peck in the holes”. 

The opposition parties, on their part, think that the ruling CPDM is always rigging to win.
 “I am not happy because the CPDM reportedly bought some polling agents. I voted because I had already registered, if not I would not have done so,” an SDF militant, Mr. Fon Afosi lamented. “I think that ELECAM is the ruling party from the top to the bottom, so they have to do everything to favor the CPDM; they are all corrupt. This is not a democracy; the country should better go back to the one-party system” 

According to Barrister Francis Bache, the September polls were reasonably fair. But the man of law thought thinks  that, the time given for the proclamation of  result can still give room for fraud .“We have to get to the stage where people will vote and the results come out the same day so that falsity should not be there”. 

(*Nkengasong Calesta is a Journalism intern from the University of Buea-Cameroon)

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