The upcoming regional elections in Cameroon geared towards electing regional representatives or councilors to fully implement the decentralization process voted by parliament, have had stiff opposition from opposition leaders as well as other stakeholders. Some of the opposition prefer Federation while others reasonably prefer the complete resolving of the Anglophone Crisis before organizing such elections, which they see unrealistic in a dangling nation.
This decision has brought a lot of questions into the minds of Cameroonians. Political parties like the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), headed by Prof. Maurice Kamto have promised to spoil the show. He had on September 01promised he will lead street protest should the President of the Republic convene regional elections.
On September 02, Nih John Fru Ndi, the Chairman of the Social Democratic Front,(SDF), the main opposition party in Cameroon, also said his party will not partake in the elections and like other stakeholders the party prefers the Federal system of government, resolve the Anglophone crisis as well as a review of the Country’s electoral laws. Cameroon People Party,( CPP) of Edith Kah Walla and the Popular Action Party,( PAP), of Denis Njang, the United Socialist Democratic Party( USDP), of Prince Ekosso have all sworn to lead protest to get an end to the Anglophone Crisis and a review of the Country’s electoral laws.
According to Article (2) of the Decree no. 2020/527 of September 2, 2020, during the elections members of the Electoral College shall be entitled to the sum of FCFA 50.000 depending on the participation of the person. The management of Elections Cameroon already gave consent that, they are ready to organize the elections. On August 31, a list of voters was presented to the public. Earlier, a decree fixing the number of regional councilors to be elected per division was presented and in the troubled Southwest Region, Fako has 24, Meme 18, Ndian 16, Manyu 13, Kupe Muanenguba 10 and Lebialem 9, summing the grand total for the region to 90.
These figures have been a call for concern as some complain of uneven distribution of seats according to The SUN Newspaper. Total of 20 traditional rulers are included in the 90 seats in both Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. As part of the special status, a House of Chiefs exclusive to the two English regions is included.
Interior Minister Warns Against Street Protests
The Minister of Territorial Administration, Atanga Nji Paul barely few hours after the decree said, anyone who intends to hamper the elections will face consequences. The Minister in his address sited laws which punish protest of such magnitude with live imprisonment. “I want to make it very clear that no disorder shall be tolerated from any political party or any political actor,” he said. Once more the opposition parties are being put to the test and their reaction to this is still unknown to the population.
Maurice Kamto Sets A Date For “Paul Biya Must Go” Protest
The September 22, protest which will be led by Prof Maurice Kamto, in non-compliance to the threats made by the Interior Minister may prove fatal to the population. The CRM leader had been arrested before after he organized a protest where he contended the October 2018 elections claiming to be the winner of the polls, a protest which registered about six wounded persons. Prof. Maurice Kamto had earlier warned that if the President of the Republic convenes elections, he would spike a protest to ensure the ousting of the Incumbent from power. Protest termed “Paul Biya must go” is practically unavoidable.
On September 22nd 2017, Cameroonian soldiers opened fire on protesters, killing at least five and injuring many civilians during a peaceful protest in the Anglophone regions of Camerooon. This was happening simultaneously when Cameroon’s president Paul Biya addressing the UN General Assembly. This protest later turned fierce as the military disrupted it leading to arrests of many civilians. The fear of a similar fate grapples over innocent population who are always the victims of such political struggles in Cameroon and Africa.
While the government prepares for the elections, the Northwest region of Cameroon have been in serious turmoil, with constant, rubbery, murder and exchange of gunshots between the Cameroon military and the separatist fighters. Both the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon have hardly known peace for four years now and counting. About 3000 people have lost their lives; some villages have been completely razed and deserted, rendering thousands internally displaced. An everlasting solution to the crisis seems far reaching, with both parties (the Cameroon government and separatist) not willing to give a bow to sincere dialogue and negotiations. Both parties have however preferred dialoguing with the gun while innocent civilians are killed gruesomely.