Special News Roundup: February 9, 2020, Cameroon’s Twin Elections

Cameroon’s Minister of territorial administration has said voting was hitch-free in all the 58 Divisions and 368 councils across the country. Paul Atanga Nji said boycott calls by what he qualified as Facebook activists, politicians and “terrorists” have been ignored by voters, who came out en mass to elect their local representatives and parliamentarians. “Over 150 journalists were accredited to cover the election in the North West and South West regions, their reports are testimonies of the serenity that reigned throughout the polls,” Atanga Nji said in a press conference this evening. He warned Cameroonians not to be swayed by “terrorists” who are out to manipulate them on the social media, adding that President Paul Biya has opted for decentralization, as solutions to address the problems of all Cameroonians. Minister Atanga Nji, however, said, minor skirmishes were recorded, though “insignificant”.

The Director-General of elections of Cameroon has appreciated the elections throughout the national territory. Dr Erik Essousse in a press statement this evening has mentioned that no major incident was recorded. As concerns the availability of voting materials, he says Elections Cameroon provided the needful.

Elections for the regional council in Cameroon may take place this year. President Paul Biya hinted on this after voting in the February 9 elections today. The Head of state went on to criticise what he said were “minority parties” that had called for a boycott, asserting that Cameroon’s democracy is at its best. The regional election emerged as an outcome of last year’s major national dialogue in the West African nation.

The Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations in charge of Cooperation with the Commonwealth, Felix Mbayu today, called on voters in the North West region to overcome fear and vote for their local leaders. “Step out and vote, step out and conquer the fear. Don’t rot in your homes, your card is your strength, it is stronger than any guns, weapons and intimidation. Go out and vote, they do it in darkness, let’s do it in daylight,” the minister encouraged the population after casting his own vote.

Dorothy Limunga Njeuma has appreciated the voting process in Douala. The Elections Cameroon Board Member of was speaking at Lycee Bilingue Bonaberi, Douala 4, after inspecting some polling stations. To her, Cameroonians have not heeded to the call for a boycott.  Dorothy Njeuma refused to answer questions on how credible the polls unfolded in the restive Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

A woman caught with 42 voter’s cards at Cite de Palmiere quarter in Douala is still under detention. Security forces are investigating how she got hold of voter’s cards. In a related development, Makia Enow Ayuk, Chairman of a Kumba polling station arrested earlier today for fraud is still under police custody.

SDF candidates for the legislative election in Lebialem division have stated that voters’ turnout was extremely low. Registered internally displaced persons from Lebialem living in other parts of the West region were transported in military vehicles to Lebialem to cast their votes. Few voters took part in the exercise.

A massive turn out of electors was observed in Nkambe town in Donga Mantung, today. The governor of the North West region visited the town to evaluate the process, which he described as hitch-free. Meantime in Ako, Nwa, Ndu and Misaje sub divisions witnessed a timid turnout.

Election day broke with heavy shooting and explosives in Miles 7 and 8 Mankon, Alakuma in Bamenda. A post office in Bafut where election materials were reportedly stored was also set ablaze Saturday night. Kumba residents had similar gun battle experience, forcing many to remain indoors. Several parts Ndop, Bui, Boyo, Kupe Manengouba, Ndian, Manyu, Meme, Mezam, Momo.. were deserted with voters indoors or seeking refuge in bushes.

The Divisional Officer for Douala V subdivision ordered the closure of churches and worship venues in his area of command, throughout this Election Day. Business premises were also closed across the country as voters went to the polls.

Territorial Administration Minister, Atanga Nji Paul voted at the army camp polling station in Bamenda. He was accompanied by North West governor, Adolphe Lele who appreciated the process after voting and called on Cameroonians to do same.

In Ikiliwindi, Meme Division of the South West region, two members of the Cameroon armed forces were injured following fighting with Ambazonian fighters. The uniformed men were members of a convoy accompanying ELECAM members. The ELECAM team had travelled to Konye with election materials and payment for polling officers.

In Mamfe and Muyuka, only administrative authorities are said to have voted as residents remain indoors. A similar scenario played in Bamessing in the North West region where roads have been blocked for about a week now.

After voting in Bamenda, North West Governor  Adolf Lele L’Afrique arrives Nkambe to inspect voting. The North West chief administrator arrived Nkambe via a military helicopter and went ahead to visit polling stations under tight security.

In Bum, the DO residents say forced them to take part in the voting exercise. Accompanied by the military are said to have been moving from house to house in Kimbi village collecting IDs and forcing locals to go vote in Fonfuka instead of the usual polling station in Kimbi. To ensure they come to vote, locals were photographed by the soldiers.

The Social Democratic Front, SDF party parliamentary list leader for Lebialem division says internally displaced persons duly registered on the electoral list were transported from the West region to vote in Lebialem division. Denis Nkemlemo, however, noted that the turnout was extremely low in the division.

Kumbo in the Bui division was calm for most of the day. Residents remained indoors as the calmness was likened to a “graveyard”. “Ambazonian fighters have been patrolling the streets ready for any eventuality,” a source revealed. Chaos was however reported in Ta Mbve, Kumbo, though it didn’t last for long.

A physically challenged voter at Ecole Maternelle Prive La Pepiniere in Yaounde 1 subdivision criticised ELECAM for not taking into ignoring the needs of people with physical disabilities before allocating polling stations. Others were however satisfied with available voting materials for persons with visual impairments.

Vote counting has taken place at Mabanda at Douala 4 in the dark. There has been a blackout in the area since 4 pm. Workers of Electricity Company – ENEO provided lamps in some polling stations to assist in the vote-counting process.

Inmates at the Kondengui central prison in Yaounde have reportedly been held indoors all day long as the twin election was being held. The inmates complained about not being able to get what to eat due to the lockdown.

Going by statistics of registered voters for the local elections across Cameroon, The Far North region topped the chart with the most registered voters. The South region ranked last with 272,356 registered voters.

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