The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, has sealed Cameroon’s borders 48 hours before the Presidential election.
“The national borders would be closed 48 hours before polling day,” a communication signed by Atanga Nji on Friday, October 5, stated. According to the Minister who has territorial competence over Cameroon’s national territory, these borders would only be reopened after polling must have been done.
The Minister also forbids all movement of persons and goods by vehicles, train and air from 06:00pm on Saturday, October 6 to Sunday, October 7, at 06:00pm. However, Atanga Nji also spells out some exceptions to the rule and says circulation within the same locality of goods and persons is permitted, circulation of vehicles of security officers, ambulances and vehicles with special permits signed by Regional Governors and Senior Divisional Officers are also exempted from the order.
Added to these categories are airplanes transporting security and health officers as well as members of the election management team.
Airplanes effectuating international flights are also exempted from the prohibition. While delegates of ELECAM, observers and journalists duly authorised by competent authorities can also freely circulate.
However, all business places, markets and cabinets housing games of chance would also remain close on Sunday as voting goes on.
Atanga Nji also prohibited all gathering, protest or clamour beside polling stations and centres.
Some Yaoundé city dwellers were quick to criticise the Minister’s decision wondering how business places and cabinet of games of chances would affect voting on that day. One of them, Charles, said in 2011, after voting he went to the market and opened his boutique and all went well. “I don’t see how my business further away would affect the voting exercise which is taking place in a school compound.
At the level of the North West and the South West Regions, these measures would have very little impact since for days now, the two Anglophone Regions have been on a near total lockdown with very rare cases of movement following actions taking by Ambazonian fighters aim at thwarting the elections.