The Board Chairman of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), Enow Abrams Egbe, has insisted that the October 7 Presidential Election must hold in the English-speaking part of Cameroon, despite a plethora of challenges advanced by various electoral stakeholders.
“Come rain, come shine elections will hold,” Enow Abrams stated.
He was speaking in Bamenda, on Friday, August 17, 2018, during a working visit to size-up the level of preparedness of the North West Region ahead of the October 7 Presidential.
After listening to the various concerns from political parties and the other electoral stakeholders, Enow Abrams maintained that despite threats from Separatist Fighters, the October 7 poll will hold hitch-free.
He said “ELECAM is ready and ‘nothing will prevent the election from taking place.”
The ELECAM Board Chair’s tour was to address pre-electoral operations like: the distribution of voters’ cards, location of polling stations, mobilisation for the distribution of voters’ cards the participation of political parties into commissions, and the designation of representatives of candidates into polling stations.
The ELECAM Chair expressed indignation that North West politicians have not descended to the street to protest against the recent upheavals brought about by the socio-political unrest plaguing the two Regions.
Some North West politicians like Honourable Evaristus Njong, SDF Member of Parliament for Njinikom-Belo, who also doubles as SDF Regional Chairman for the North West Region took exception to Enow Abrams’s utterances.
Hon. Njong told the ELECAM boss that he is surprised by the ignorance he (Enow Abrams) has exhibited. Njong said the ELECAM boss is aware that any street protest at this point in time will lead to more killings.
Njong said he is equally surprised that Enow Abrams is still handing down instructions as if he is still a Governor or SDO. “With due respect, Biya who appointed you into ELECAM is a candidate in this elections, Sir, take this message to him, that as Head of State and candidate for this election, with the insecurity, killings, looting currently going on in the North West and South West Regions, we don’t think we can carry on free and fair elections. So, if he desperately wants to be elected, let him not bother, he should quietly take the seven years and continue his rule. We should stop pretending, Cameroon is on fire,” Njong fumed.
Corroborating Hon Njong, Senator Henry Kemende Gamsey, an SDF Senator, wondered how voting will take place in a Region that has been suffering under an imposed curfew for over five months.
“How will elections take place in Bafut, Belo, Batibo, Njinikom, Widikum and Wum, where the population is in the bushes and some relocated to towns? Who will carry voters’ cards to these areas and will not be attacked by Amba fighters?”
Meanwhile, Enow Abrams insisted that “security is assured.”
Politicians also frowned at ELECAM’s decision to merge polling station as it greatly reduced the number as compared to previous years.
This is the case with Belo in Boyo Division where there are only 2 polling stations, when previously there were 40 polling stations, Njinikom 2 polling stations from 22, in Bui, Kumbo Central that use to harbour 62 polling stations, only has only 6, Nkor has 4 polling stations out of 41 in previous years, Nkambe Central 30, instead of 89, Nwa15 instead of 86, there will be 6 polling stations in Mezam, Bafut 3 polling stations out of 61, Bali 2 polling stations out 42, Bamenda I, 9 polling stations out of 47, Bamenda II 15 polling stations out of 47, Bamenda III 8 polling stations instead of 27, Santa 19, out of 75, Tubah 8 out of 52, Momo-Mbengwi 3 polling stations, instead of 43, Ngoketunjia- Ndop Central 11 polling stations instead of 76
Political analysts have expressed worries that by drastically reducing the number of polling stations, many people will be disenfranchised as they will be unable to live their areas to go and vote in others areas that are hosting the polling stations.
The situation is further compounded by the fact that on election’s day, all taxis, bikes and buses are prohibited from circulating. So how will the people be transported to the various polling stations to perform their civil responsibility? Many believe that have by relocating some polling stations several kilometres from voters’ homes, ELECAM has already started rigging the October 7 Presidential poll.