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Cavaye Accused Of Violating Secret Ballot 

By Yerima Kini Nsom — The outgoing Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, has been accused of violating the provision of the Electoral Law that stipulates the secret ballot.

“On polling day in his native Mada village in Tokombere in the Mayo-Sava Division of the Far North Region, Mr. Cavaye openly selected the CPDM ballot paper, put it in an envelope and squeezed that of the NUDP to the glaring view of everyone in the polling station,” an expert who observed the September 30 twin elections told The Post in Maroua recently. According to the election observer who asked not to be named, Hon. Cavaye voted in a polling station near the Mada Chief’s palace at 9 am.

He said after selecting the CPDM ballot paper, Cavaye twisted that of the NUDP, saying in his local Mada dialect: “This is nonsense, they can’t win here.” He is also quoted to have said in French after voting: “I have won.” Local reporters who witnessed the act told The Post that the election in Cavaye’s village was anything but free and fair. They said that after voting, Cavaye came back and installed himself in front of the polling station with an intimidating squad of security men and soldiers. Chartered voters from Ngaoundere, Garoua and other towns were identified at the polling station.

Away from Mada, the Prince of Kolofata reportedly shocked onlookers when he was seen choosing CPDM ballot papers for some old women. The Prince, brother to the Lamido of Kolofata, was the CPDM representative in the polling station lodged at the Kolofata Government Primary School. It is also where the Vice Prime Minister in charge of Relations with National Assembly, Amadou Ali, who hails from Kolofata, voted. The NUDP representative at the polling station, one young girl, is said to have watched helplessly as the Prince selected CPDM ballot papers for voters.

According to eyewitnesses, the representative of ELECAM equally watched helplessly as the CPDM representative violated the law. In one of the polling stations in the Mayo-Sava Divisional capital, Mora, where some CPDM bigwigs voted, vote-buying was reportedly the order of the day. It was all brisk business as some rented voters presented ballot papers of the opposition parties and received money. One of the bigwigs is said to have stopped sharing the money only when TV cameras appeared on the scene.

The Post equally learnt that most of the CPDM bigwigs and State officials who voted in a polling station behind the Total Petrol Station in Mora, later sat in front of the station for long. They included the SDO for Mayo Sava Division, the Mayor of Mora and the representative of the Sultan of Mora. Observers hold that the intimidating presence of the authorities at the entrance to the polling station frightened many voters from making a free choice.

Meanwhile, NUDP militants in Maroua III went amok following allegations that a former Minister and CPDM Parliamentary candidate was mounting a ballot-stuffing operation in one hotel.
Talk was equally rife that Chadian nationals were issued Cameroonian national identity cards and registered to vote for the ruling CPDM party.

In that area, some voters who brought back the ballot papers of opposition parties as proof that they voted for the CPDM were given FCFA 10,000 each. After the incident by the irate NUDP supporters, it emerged that Sarli Dairou had trained some thugs who were ready to attack anybody who did not work in the interest of their master. Sarli Dairou later admitted such a move before the judicial and administrative officials of the Far North Region, telling them that he wanted to ensure his security.

The ELECAM Regional Delegate for the Far North, Adji Masao, took note of all the irregularities.
Despite efforts by ELECAM to organise credible elections, widespread rigging, including vote-buying still characterised the September 30 twin polls. In a related story, The Post learnt that despite protest by SDF officials, CPDM bigwigs still connived with the local ELECAM officials in Bamenda I to ensure the voting of some 683 chartered voters that secured the party’s victory in the Municipal elections.

First published in The Post print edition no 01471

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