ELECAM bows to pressure reopen voters’ registration

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

The Independent Electoral Commission, dubbed Elections Cameroon – ELECAM, has bowed to pressure from political parties to reverse its decision folding up registration into the electoral registers.

According to a communiqué made public Thursday May 16  by Mohaman Sani Tanimou, Director General of the elections referee, biometric voters registration will resume May 22, in all council areas across the country.

The biometric voters registration began way back in August 2012. ELECAM had set a target of 7.000.000 potential voters to be registered before the fold up date set for February 2013. By the close of the target period, only some 3.000.000 voters had successfully registered. The electoral board headed by Samuel Fonkam Azu’u, summoned an extraordinary session during which the board decided to extend the registration period to March 28, 2013.

The one month extension still did not help out things for ELECAM given that only a total of some five million Cameroonians had registered before Tanimou called off the process.  Tanimou’s decision triggered legal debates and raised so much controversy. While ELECAM officials argued that the decision was in line with the contract signed with the German consortium providing the technical part of the registration, legal experts together with political parties hold that the decision was illegal.

Few days after the Director General of ELECAM called off the registration process, a CPDM official and mayor for Kumba I council, Ekale Mukete sued the electoral organ in the Kumba magistrate court. But the case was thrown out on condition that it wasn’t tenable.

To safe face, ELECAM officials tried to justify that the contract with the German consortium expired in March. But political parties especially the SDF argued that this should have been pre-empted given that ELECAM already knew that Cameroonians had lost conviction in elections and were reluctant to get involved in electoral issues.

According to the SDF, the electoral code spells out that voter’s registration automatically comes to an end immediately the electoral corps. are convened. Tanimou’s decision did not however follow this provision.

During an extra ordinary session of parliament early this month, SDF parliamentary group leader, Joseph Banadzem compelled government to admit that ELECAM has violated the law by bringing the registration process to an end. Amadou Ali, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of relations with the assemblies confirmed the allegation in front of parliamentarians and promised that something would be done.

If allegations that the decision to reopen the biometric registration is that of the government are anything to go by, then the independence of ELECAM is once more called to question

Source: cameroonjournal.com

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