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Twin Elections Delayed Due To Financial Difficulties

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

The State of Cameroon is said to be in serious financial slump that is hampering the organisation of the long over due Municipal and Parliamentary elections.

 According to sources from the election management body, ELECAM, the state coffers are so empty that the Government is unable to bankroll the organisation of the twin elections.

Our sources, that asked not to be named, said the state is in dire financial straits because, the funding of the Senatorial elections and the putting in place of the Senate was not provided for in the 2013 budget.

The Post learned that the State needs about FCFA 100 billion to organise the elections. The 25,000 polling stations alone will swallow FCFA 5 billion. Thus, financial difficulties are said to be the reason behind the current prolongation by President Biya, of the mandates of Municipal Councilors and Members of the National Assembly.

It is reported that the Government is hunched with a huge financial burden, given the fact that it is expected to organise the 50th anniversary of the Reunification of Cameroon in Buea, put in place the Constitutional Council and many other state institutions. The just ended summit on Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea in Yaounde equally swallowed a gigantic sum of the tax payers’ money.

Given its determination to organise the twin elections in October, Government is reportedly appealing to its international partners to help bankroll the polls. If the financial miasma is laid to rest, President Biya will convene the Electoral College this July. The Electoral Code provides that the President of the Republic convenes the electorate 90 days to voting day.

Although sources at the Bureau of the National Assembly are mooting that the mandate of the people’s representatives will no longer be prolonged, President Biya will be forced to do otherwise if Government does not gather enough funds to organise the twin elections in October. In that case, President Biya will prolong the mandate of the National Assembly before the July 22 deadline. President Biya signed a decree, June 26, prolonging the mandate of Municipal Councilors by three months. He signed the decree after consulting the Bureau of the Senate as provided for by the Electoral Law.

Snail Pace Collection Of Voters’ Card

 As anxiety for the twin elections swells, ELECAM officials have cried out against what they say is foot-dragging by potential voters in the collection of their cards. Going by the ELECAM Chair, Dr. Samuel Fonkam Azu’u, the distribution of voters’ cards is replete with a lot of difficulties. He made the comment last June 21 while evaluating the ongoing distribution of voter’s cards

 Earlier, in a declaration, the Director General of Elections at ELECAM, Sani Mohaman Tanimou, said only 15 percent of the voter’s cards had been distributed in two months.

According to him, of the 5,000,103 cards printed, only 748,091 had been distributed by June 13. In tandem with the number of registered voters, ELECAM shouldered the duty of producing a circa 5.4 million voters’ cards after the first phase of the biometric registration exercise. But with the ongoing second phase, the figure is expected to swell to an estimated 7 million. This would mean an additional burden for ELECAM in the distribution of voter’s cards.

The effervescence that characterised the last days of the first phase of the biometric registration has slumped. Observers hold that the current potential voters’ foot-dragging in the collection of cards is due to the apathy that has characterised elections in recent years. It is to arrest this situation, The Post learned, that ELECAM has gone on a sensitisation campaign.

The election management body has produced sensitisation messages that are published in newspapers and broadcast on radio and television stations to encourage potential voters to collect their cards. Yet many potential voters would rush to collect their cards only when the Electoral College would have been convened. However, Article 85 of the Electoral Code provides that cards that would not have been collected before voting would be destroyed in the various polling stations.

 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Cameroon Post

 

 

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