By Boris Esono Nwenfor
With barely 14-days to Cameroon’s first-ever Regional elections, CPDM politicians in the South West Regional have set the ball rolling by launching their campaign for the elections of regional councillors.
Launched this November 21, 2020, at the Buea Independence Square or popularly known as “Bongo Square”, the Members of both houses of parliament, traditional rulers and CPDM big wigs said the party is very much ready for the December 6 Regional Elections across the country.
The Regions will elect 90 councillors, who will have limited powers on local issues. Twenty of them will be representatives of traditional chieftains. The indirect elections on December 6 in the country’s 10 regions will put in place councils provided for in a 1996 constitution in a move towards decentralization but not yet implemented.
Erstwhile Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge “We are at the last phase of decentralization and the election of 6 December is a highlight of the process.” “We are going to have a Regional Assembly, House of Chiefs which are important aspects of our special status and so they (population) should help realize this goal by voting us on that day,” Peter Mafany Musonge. Head of CPDM Permanent Delegation to the South West Region said.
To Chief Etina Monono Emmanuel, Head of CPDM Representatives of Traditional Rulers said they are very much ready and they have discussed on how to get resources which is seen as the “main thing for now and without it, we cannot function.”
He added: “The South West Region has been marginalized for far too long. That marginalization will have to stop as a result of the changes we are going to bring. We must have quotas for our main institutions; NASLA, ENAM, Police College and so on. Go to the Police College now you will see that out of the hundreds of students who have been taken we may not have even twenty-five South Westerners.
“These are things we are going to tackle immediately. We are going to look at why CDC is down, what is happening to SONARA, the issue of roads and so on and we hope that things will fall into place as soon as we get there,” Chief Etina Monono of Great Soppo said.
“The chiefs being who they are, we have started our groundworks some two weeks ago, and at this level, we were just waiting for the official authorization for us to commence. The chiefs are prepared for it,” Chief Ndike Kombe Richard said.
“What the population should expect from us is the contribution to ensure that the economy of this Region will change and many more. We want to ensure them that by the text what we have at our disposal, competence we shall give them the best of it.”
With the launching of the Regional campaign, the CPDM officials are expected to do same at their various Divisional levels. In the coming days, the campaign will be launched at the Divisional level in Limbe while a calendar will be drawn up to tackle Muyuka, Tiko, Idenau, Buea, and Limbe itself.
In the crisis-stricken North West and South West Regions, the ruling party will be alone on the ballot in regional elections taking place on 6 December. John Fru Ndi, leader of a key opposition party, has said he will boycott the election unless there is a ceasefire first in the English-speaking Regions. The John Fru Ndi-led party demands that the crisis affecting the Anglophone regions be resolved before any new elections are held. The MRC Party of Maurice Kamto is the other party that will be boycotting the Regional elections.
The two restive Anglophone regions are home to a large minority of English speakers in a country where French speakers are the overwhelming majority. The four-year war has led to thousands becoming refugees in neighbouring Nigeria. The UN reports that the ongoing crisis has led to over 3,000 lives lost.