Cameroon :Gunshots, Ghost towns rock First-Ever Regional Council Elections
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Councillors in Cameroon have participated in the country’s first-ever regional council elections. The councillors went to the polls December 6, 2020, to elect their representatives at the Regional Council and those of the House of Chiefs for the South West and North West Regions.
The putting in place of Regional Councils will establish the special status for the North West and South West Regions; a strong recommendation of the Major National Dialogue.
From Mundemba, the chief town of the Ndian Division to Menji, the chief town of Lebialem Division, all in the South West Region and Wum, Menchum Division of the North West region, councillors came out in their numbers to participate in Cameroon’s first-ever regional council elections.
In compliance with the regulations in force, the polls started in the 272 polling stations at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m
The paramount ruler of Nso, HRM Sehm Mbinglo speaking to the media said: “… what we want is peace, and that peace the Regional election will bring to us.” To the others who are yet to adhere to the peace endeavours, the paramount ruler said it is impossible to temper with the government.
The CPDM is running unopposed in elections in the North West for the first time since the rebirth of multiparty politics in 1990. And in the South West Region, the party faced limited resistance from other political parties as the party swept most of the council seats at the Municipal elections last year.
The proclamation of the results of this election will start as from today (December 6) by the Regional Supervisory Commission. In conformity with the legal provisions in force, the sessions as of right shall meet shortly to elect Regional Organs.
SDF Councillors defy party, participate in the elections
SDF councillors of Bamenda III, the only SDF controlled council in the North West actively voted at the December 6 polls. This was the case equally with SDF councillors in Douala. These decisions by the councillors to participate in the regional elections go against the party who had called for a boycott of the elections.
Reports from Bamenda indicated that the SDF Mayor for Bamenda III, Fongu Cletus and his assistant came out and voted alongside other councillors. When approached by Journalists for comments, he refused.
The councillors, 31 of them, arrive the former public works department at about 10 am and decided to perform their civic duties, though the SDF party is not taking part in the elections.
Ghost towns, Gunshots characterized voting Exercise in NW/SWRs
Inhabitants of the North West and South West Regions have before the D-day been living under a 3-day lockdown called by separatist fighters. Since Friday, December 4, some business premises have been shut down for fear of reprisals.
On Saturday evening, there were gunshots reported in Mile 16 after separatist fighters detonated an explosive device. No one was reportedly injured from the blast.
In Momo Division of the North West Region, a councillor of the CPDM-run Widikum council was reportedly shot dead after participating in the voting exercise, the Guardian Post reported. The Newspaper added that Encho Elias Ambi was reportedly killed during crossfire between separatist fighters and security forces outside mbengwi.
No incident likely to cast doubt on the credibility of the polls was recorded – MINAT Boss Atanga Nji
The election of Regional Councillors convened by the presidential decree of 7 September 2020 took place today Sunday 6 December 2020 in all the 58 electoral constituencies.10 236 municipal councillors and 14 002 traditional rulers, members of the electoral colleges, were called upon to vote nine hundred (900) first Regional Councillors in the political history of our country. The first, that is municipal councillors were to vote seven hundred (700) divisional delegates, while the latter, traditional rulers, were to elect two hundred (200) representatives of the traditional chiefdoms.
Considering that this election is held in a special context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections Cameroon took important precautions, in each polling station, for the respect of barrier measures in compliance with Government’s health protocol (taking of temperature, use of hand sanitizers, wearing of face mask, social distancing and handwashing with soap).
At this moment, the Minister of Territorial Administration can say in clear terms that the election of Regional Councillors took place nationwide in a serene, calm and peaceful atmosphere. No incident, likely to cast doubt on the credibility of the polls or sincerity of the results from the ballot box, was recorded.
Minister Atanga Nji further stipulated that the election of Regional Councillors of today will be a landmark in the current mandate of Greater Opportunities.
“… The election of Regional councillors today has come to complete the setting up of institutions provided for by the Constitution of our country. This election will bring the administration closer to the people and guarantee to each Region close development in the sense that citizens, at all levels, sit in Regional Councils and participate effectively from the base in constructing our common destiny.
With election results slowly coming in, the traditional rulers of Baba 1 and Bambalang, have emerged winners in Ngoketunja Division for the election to the House of Chiefs. The Division is reported to have had two lists. The December 6, 2020 elections will Institute the Regional council with 70 members and the house of chiefs with 20 members