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CAMEROON: Like the ruling and opposition parties: Why participation in the 2011 presidential election may be poor

Cameroon has over 200 political parties, with more than three-quarter just satellite parties causing confusion and ensuring current political continuity. Since 1985, Cameroon People Democratic Movement CPDM a transformation of the Cameroon Nation Union has been in power.


Current party Chairman Paul Biya has been the unchallenged ruling party candidate. Note should be taken that he came to power in 1982, through appointment, under the canopy of the CNU.



According to the constitution of Cameroon and following the electoral calendar, the next presidential elections are expected in 2011. Some ruling party elite who claim to be speaking for the masses are calling on president Biya to stand and inundating the press with motions of support.



For twenty-seven years that Biya and the CPDM have ruled Cameroon, various institutions of the country have gone weaker and corruption, embezzlement, impunity and total decadence prevailed. The president spends more time out of the country, squandering taxpayers’ money than visiting various towns in Cameroon and listening to his compatriots.



Few roads, hospitals, professional colleges etc have been constructed. The few jobs done so far, terribly contrast to the works of President Amadou Ahidjo.


Several companies have closed and unemployment has skyrocketed yet, the government has increased consumption (running), rather than investment budget.


Supporters or fans of Biya have always argued that he has maintained peace and stability forgetting that it has been the work of Cameroonians who are naturally peace loving.

It goes beyond maintaining only “peace” for successful governments, which should also sort for economic development, social justice, fight against corruption etc.


What explains Paul Biya's long rule


It is certain that president long rule is largely because of the overwhelmingly sophisticated fraudulent election machinery put in place by government.

Nevertheless, Cameroon has a plethoric number of opposition parties with no clear agenda. Many preach virtues and practise vices. They hardly talk of their plans for the education, health, social and other sectors other than criticising the current government’s incompetence.



The opposition has failed to reap the fruits of Biya’s ineffectiveness and inefficiency. They have been thinking Biya’s evil deeds would make Cameroonians just vote for them. No, it does not work that way. Inasmuch as there is corruption, clinking to power by promoted by the elites in the ruling party, the same thing is happening in the opposition parties.



President Biya has led his party and ruled Cameroon for 24 and 27 years respectively, that is since the transformation to the current CPDM. The SDF was created in 1990 and since then John Fru Ndi has been the unchallenged party chairman sidelining all rivals or out rightly sacking them from the party. This is same with the Ndam Njoya of CDU, Bello Bouba Maigari of the NUDP, and Augustin Frederick Kodock of the Kodock faction of the UPC.



In April 2008, the ruling CPDM parliament changed the constitution giving Biya more powers and the possibility to run as many times as he can. The SDF, which cried foul, has equally changed its constitution giving extra powers to the chairman.


The SDF chairman in a press outing castigated those on Biya’s payroll but trying to distort his party, yet, he accepted Biya’s financial “aide”.


While constantly castigating France and its neo colonial institutions in Cameroon, Fru Ndi rents his apartment to the largest French gambling company in Africa, PMUC. He has to learn that in assuming certainly positions one has to make sacrifices.



Why participation for 2011 may be very poor


When one therefore looks at the opposition in Cameroon, it is just has bad as the ruling party. Just as the ruling party leader appoints people from his region to key government posts, so to are the opposing parties’ leaders getting their people to lead various sections or organs in their camp.


In view of this stalemate, many Cameroonians have lost hope not necessarily in the opposition per ser but in the current leaders. It is for this reason that inasmuch as the Fru Ndi, Paul Biya, Ndam Njoya, Belo Bouba etc would continue to lead their parties and represent them in elections; most Cameroonians would stay home and refuse to vote.


These various parties have others capable of taking the mantle of leadership and proposing something better to Cameroonian rather than inertia.



During the 2007 council and legislative elections just a little over 3 million of the 12 million potential voters registered and less than 60 percent of the registered voters casted their votes.


With this growing resignation and frustration, the ruling party is always able to mobilise idle youths with a few bottles of beer or bank notes and register them several times or pay them to vote for their party


Added on to this as earlier said, the complex rigging machinery put in place by government and supported by successive electoral bodies such as National elections Observatory, NEO II and I and now, seemingly ELECM have made many to lose hope.




Cameroonians should massively register on voters’ registers. They should protest if their votes are rigged and leaders of the opposition, civil societies, religious bodies etc MUST lead the protests. It must not be an issue of sitting at home and asking militants to go to the streets.


That is how change may come to Cameroon because Biya has the neo-colonial backing of the so called internationl community, to validate his fraud and turn around to give us lessons on democracy and corruption.


True change can only come from Cameroonians and led by patriotic leaders who should be ready to fully assume their responsibilities. If this is not the case, most ministers, DOs, governors, delegates, GMs may have to collapse and die simultaneously for the change to come. But since that is certainly not the best wish for them, the civil society, religious leaders, opposition leaders and the Diaspora have a great role to play.



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