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2011 Election: Participation And Political Change In Cameroon

Posted by Admin on Sep 14th, 2010 and filed under Featured, Politique. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The massive registration and voting by Cameroonians in the 2011 Presidential Election is indispensable for change in the country. Registration and voting may not be an immediate panacea to our problems, but it is a significant step towards signalling that we want change and even implementing the change in the direction that we want. Massive registration would definitely mean that the people are ready to defend their votes. This will make would-be riggers to be cautious.

It is equally easier to rig elections when there are less registered voters and actual voters, than when there are many people who registered and actually vote. Massive turn out is always a very important signal. Unfortunately, the SDF and other misguided “opposition” parties in Cameroon are again telling Cameroonians not to register, by not encouraging them to register. They are creating voter apathy already and, they would be the first to claim that voters’ were disenfranchised and elections rigged.

Amateurish, Lacklustre Political Leadership

In a recent interview in Le Jour, SDF Chairman, John Fru Ndi, was too ambiguous, saying it is not him to tell Cameroonians to go or not to go and register and subsequently vote. His focus was more on Elections Cameroon-ELECAM. Massively mobilising his militants and sympathisers to register is a better tactics than keeping them in the wilderness.

It is even a condition sine qua non for the success of any party; if at all the SDF wants real business. It is not only the duty of the opposition to verbally criticise. What are they doing to turn the tides? Still in the same newspaper, (Le Jour), Hon. Jean Mitchell Nintcheu, SDF MP in the Littoral Region, was even more radical by vibrating that no elections will take place in Cameroon under ELECAM.

The SDF has always made such similar comic statements at best, before. During the era of National Elections Observatory-NEO, it was that they (SDF) would not participate in elections, but they did. When government signalled the creation of ELECAM, they changed strategies by saying; No ELECAM, No Elections.

Yet, the 2007 Municipal and Legislative Elections were  conducted without ELECAM and the same parties which never asked it members to register, took part in the elections and are now managing councils and have seats in parliament. Though ELECAM has been created with its flaws, now, the same rhetoric is ongoing.

Instead of focusing on winning more militants and sympathisers through the selling of party programmes on different issues affecting public life and also by encouraging people to register, vote and defend their votes, the SDF, which remains the main opposition party, is still engaging in fruitless hide- and-seek “belly” politics.

This pushes some people to believe that the SDF is either complicit with the CPDM, or the party decision-making body is highly incompetent and not motivated. In the same dossier in Le Jour, little known Progressive Movement party of Jean Jacques Ekindi, also took a rather radical stand on voter registration. According to the article, the MP says it would not collaborate with ELECAM.

Furthermore, on September 06, 2010, the National Bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune revealed that there are dissenting voices in the SDF as to its participation in elections, which should begin with calling on its militants and Cameroonians to register on voters’ registers.
Anembong Monju, the Communication Secretary for the party said that the SDF, as of now, will not tell Cameroonians to go and register, neither would it instruct its militants not to register. I wonder who are the communication and political advisors for this party.

The recent declarations of the SDF and the  of little known MM parties are nothing short of amateurish political gimmicks, which smacks of senile political leadership just as the leadership of the CPDM itself. This is because, the same political parties receive funding from the state, have MPs in the National House of Assembly and some of them manage councils won from elections which the same parties have always described as flawed.

I find it utterly ridiculous for the “opposition” not encouraging people to register and subsequently vote. Time is running out and we are left with just a few months to the elections. That notwithstanding, when the results would be declared, the same parties who are mute now on registration of voters, would be the first to call on Cameroonians to go and defend their votes. Which votes?

These parties, just as the CPDM, are terribly wanting. Unfortunately, change in Cameroon is likely to come from two main parties – CPDM or SDF. But when leaders of the ruling and opposition parties choose just to behave alike, it becomes really hard for the voters to decipher.
Don’t ask me to go and create my own party because it is virtually impossible for any new party to succeed now. This is partly because; the hopes and aspirations of the people have been destroyed by the outdated leadership of both the SDF and the CPDM. Most Cameroonians do not believe in political parties again. Many think on ethnic lines.

Implanting a viable opposition party would need several years of education, selling of manifesto and sensitisation. All these require considerable political and economic capital. A bit of political capital may be there, but the economic/financial capital needed to set the ball rolling is missing or very difficult to garner. That is why we have not been able to see a better and well organised opposition in Cameroon.

The SDF profited from the overwhelming frustration of people in the early 90s. It is not the same now. Frustrations have grown even further albeit this time around, our people are so scared of political parties again. They gave their trust to these parties, but mostly got nothing in return but disappointments.

However, I still see a few elements in both parties (CPDM and SDF) who can turn the tides. Unfortunately, the issue is that the old ideology of dominance and suppression is still very strong in the main parties. Proponents of this old and centralised ideology sack opponents from the parties or simply demote people with different views from strategic positions in the parties.

Aloysius Agendia, Sweden|Tuesday, September 14, 2010|The Post|

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