Sept 30 Polls:AU Urges ELECAM To Ensure Free, Fair Elections

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

ELECAM Head Office Yaounde

The Executive Secretary of the African Union, AU, Advisory Board on Corruption, Prof. Adolphe Lawson, has called on Elections Cameroon, ELECAM, to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

Prof Lawson made the call in Yaounde on August 22 during a meeting with some members of the Electoral Board of ELECAM, led by Dr. Samuel Fonkam Azu’u. In a press briefing after the meeting, the AU Official said the discussion he had with ELECAM officials was because there is a link between free, fair, transparent elections and the fight against corruption.

During discussions, he encouraged ELECAM to continue to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country. Prof. Lawson, who began his working visit to Cameroon last August 19, said his organisation was bent on cleansing the African continent of all forms of corruption including fraudulent elections.

The AU Official visited ELECAM at a time that the outfit is trying to enhance its credibility by refusing to be part of the fraud that surrounded the CPDM council list in Tiko that the Administrative Bench of the Supreme Court had condoned. Poor governance emanating from fraudulent elections and corruption, observers hold, constitute the bane of progress in the African continent that is, paradoxically, endowed with huge material and human resources.

It was in a bid to tackle these vices that the Member States of the African Union adopted the African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, in Maputo, Mozambique, on July 1, 2003. To date, only 34 countries, including Cameroon, have ratified the convention.

 The AU Advisory Board on Corruption emanated from the convention. It was created on May 26, 2009. It aims at promoting and encouraging State parties to adopt and carry out actions to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in Africa.

Observers hold that the visit of the AU Official at ELECAM translates the organisation’s desire to see Cameroon come out as one of the countries wherein, free, fair and transparent elections reign. With ELECAM’s implementation of the biometric registration of voters, Cameroon’s electoral process is likely to be free of multiple voting and the stuffing of ballot boxes that had, hitherto, characterised elections. While promising Cameroonians that the upcoming September 30 twin elections will be free and fair, the ELECAM Board Chair, Fonkam Azu’u, has called on all potential voters to collect their cards in order to be able to vote on that day.

Fonkam Azu’u and some members of the ELECAM Board began inspecting the printing of electoral material at the National Printing and Publishing Corporation, SOPECAM, last Thursday. After the visit, Fonkam told reporters that ballot papers for some political parties have already been printed.