From: Kah Walla
October 20, 2011 ~
I had to go through and reread the Yaoundé Declaration to determine if some inopportune phrase had slipped in without my knowing. As I observe the Minister of Communication (whose salary I and some 19 million plus other Cameroonians pay for with our taxes) go round the media organs to dictate editorial lines and buy the broadcasting of specific messages, as I read headlines which claim the “opposition has declared war”, as I listen to radio interviews where people are calling for “peace”, I had to go back and reread what I signed to ensure that somehow a phrase calling for war had not slipped into this declaration.
But no, I could find no such phrase. There are currently armed forces all over the country. Cameroonians are under siege. The question is why? Here is a government that claims it organized elections well. Tomorrow in all likelihood, the Supreme Court will announce that the vast majority of Cameroonians participated in these elections and that close to 80% of those who voted, voted for Paul Biya. The remaining 20% of the vote has been divided up amongst the opposition parties. We understand the CPP has been awarded a 6th place position with less than 1%of the vote!!
The elections were irregular and fraudulent on many different levels.
Voters’ Register: The voters’ register produced by ELECAM contained numerous names which appeared more than once, contained deceased persons names and at no point was this list corrected despite work that had been carried out to identify duplications and deceased persons.
Voters’ Cards: Many voters were in possession of two, three, and more cards. ELECAM proved to be totally incapable of distributing voters’ cards. Thousands of voters were unable to find their cards. On voting day, people were still lined up outside ELECAM offices looking for their cards. Cards were stacked in polling stations under little or no control. As a result all across the country, people were caught with 20, 30 and even more cards. They were using these cards to vote multiple times.
Indelible Ink: Each person who votes is supposed to make a thumbprint with indelible ink on their voter’s card. The indelible ink on their thumb, is supposed to serve as a control mechanism, prohibiting people from voting more than once. The ink used on October 9th could be rubbed off the thumb without the use of water or soap. With thousands of voters’ cards floating around under no control, it was no accident that all over the country people were caught voting 15, 20, 28 and more times.
Polling Agents: Undoubtedly, opposition parties were unable to cover all 24,000 polling stations. However, for the polling stations they could cover, opposition parties saw their polling agents refused entry and/or chased out of the polling stations at various stages in the voting process. As a result, no opposition party has complete minutes from the electoral process. No one is able to provide viable alternative figures to the ones the process has cooked up.
Buying and Intimidating Voters: Across the country there are reports of the CPDM buying and intimidating voters. Witnesses report voters received money for voting for the CPDM candidate and in rural areas; older persons were given just one ballot to put into their envelope and intimidated to vote for the CPDM candidate.
These are just a few examples of the widespread fraud that led the CPP to join six other political parties (SDF, CDU, La Dynamique, PAP, AFP, PADDEC) in signing the Yaoundé Declaration. This declaration calls for three key points:
1. The cancellation of the October 9th election.
2. Immediate work to begin on electoral system reform in order to develop a consensual system that includes: a unique electoral code, a truly independent electoral commission, effective use of technology to ensure transparency and security in the process.
3. The organization of new presidential elections within the next 6 months.
In addition, the seven signatories asked the Cameroonian population to come out and demonstrate for their right to free and fair elections, should the Supreme Court persist in announcing the results of the October 9th election.
The CPDM government propaganda machine, has transformed this call for Cameroonians to stand up for their rights into a call for war. The government has deployed armed forces throughout the country and in several cities has banned all public protests. A state-sponsored intimidation machine has been deployed throughout the national territory on the pretext that the opposition has called for “war”.
Neither the CPP, nor any other opposition parties has called for any form of violence activity. We have called on Cameroonians to demonstrate peacefully in defence of their right to free and fair elections. The right to demonstrate is a fundamental democratic right which is guaranteed to Cameroonians. It is one which in our opinion, Cameroonians must defend the right to exercise, no matter what type of intimidation they face.
The Supreme Court has rejected all the requests for cancellation that were before it. It will pronounce the results of the election tomorrow October 21st. The CPP stands by the its right and the right of all Cameroonians to demonstrate peacefully against this violation of their right to free and fair elections.
The Way Forward
Following the October 9, 2011 elections, the CPP has determined that we must refocus on the fundamentals that will enable us to bring about political change in Cameroon. We have determined these to be:
· Electoral System Reform
· Building a political force that is informed, trained and capable of carrying out political action at various levels.
The CPP will be focusing on these key objectives going forward. We remain determined to bring about democratic change in Cameroon and ensuring the change of leadership at the head of our country. The Time is still Now!