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Violence, Irregularities Mar Nationwide CPDM Elections 

By Basil Afoni


CPDM women activists welcoming party officials

Cameroon’s ruling CPDM grandees ordered reruns of elections into the party’s “basic organs” in several parts of the country, after nationwide voting to renew local party structures were marred by irregularities and violence.

Internal CPDM local elections also known as the “reorganization of basic organs”, which held on separate dates in different parts of the country over the last several weeks, reflected the organisational lapses and widespread fraud typical of national elections, observers said, and underscore the electoral challenges Cameroon still faces 25 years after the country’s institutionalisation of multiparty democracy.

Violence, organisational flaws and electoral malpractices were reported across the country, with the CPDM party hierarchy forced to intervene in the most serious cases to calm the situation by calling in law enforcement officers or ordering a re-run.

In Fako III, that covers the Buea Municipality, angry supporters of Mayor Ekema Patrick descended on polling stations and vandalized ballot boxes. They were protesting the rejection of the mayor’s list. The CPDM follows a list system, and does not accept single candidates.

Mayor Ekema’s supporters marched through the streets of Buea and also directed their anger at perceived traitors Comfort Ojongmpot, 4th Deputy Mayor of Buea, and Emmanuel Konchou, the head of the Sub-divisional Committee for the reorganization exercise. The militants only dispersed after the intervention of law enforcement officers.

In Momo I, where elections were annulled, reports said supporters of Joseph Asanji briefly held hostage some members of the Divisional Electoral Commission on November 23. These supporters decried gross injustice and manipulation after the list of their preferred candidate, Asanji Joseph, was rejected.

Their protests bore fruit as a rerun was scheduled. In the rerun on November 24, Joseph Asanji’s list emerged victorious to the detriment of Humphrey Tangu, whose list was unopposed in the original election,

Similar situations were reported in the locality of Elig Mfomo on November 24, in Yaoundé II, Yaoundé VII, and in Makombe.

Meanwhile, on November 23 in Bui IV Section in Jakiri, election results were declared at a police station because of threats of serious violence by irate militants, who were crying out against fraud. Even as election officials huddled with the police, furious militants threatened to burn down the police station. At one point, we learnt, the head of the divisional reorganisation committee, Prof. Uphie Melo Chinje, fled to safety when the threats became just too much to bear.

According to Le Jour newspaper CPDM militants of the Vina South Section II seized the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPDM, Jean Nkuete, on November 20.

In Mfoundi II Section, in Yaoundé, fuming militants besieged the party’s headquarters over electoral fraud with some candidates complaining that they didn’t know the election venue.

Thirteen sub-section presidents and 45 party activists and officials in Ngan-Ha have signed a memorandum addressed to the CPDM secretary general denouncing irregularities in the reorganization exercise.

In Limbe, Frida Muke and Francis Ekema Luma who both lost the Limbe II elections, decried the high level of fraud that characterised the polls. According to them, the total number of votes cast surpassed the number of people on the voters’ roll. Similar complaints were voiced by many other losing candidates across the country.

Rather than “reorganising” the party, the ruling CPDM only seems to have installed chaos in its local structures across the country.