Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Biometric Registration: Dr. Fuh Calistus, Others in Difficulties

By Shey Marco
When the recompilation of voter’s registration using the biometric system kick-started in Cameroon, the President of Elections Cameroon-ELECAM said ELECAM's target is to register at least seven million Cameroonians. Yet latest national statistics as of last weekend portray that if biometric registration were to end by February 28, 2013, that figure will not be realized. Dr. Fonkam Azu’u will surely be on the wrong side of history if ELECAM cannot realize at least 75% of it projection. Notwithstanding, indicators are rife at that only 3.3 million Cameroonians have registered on the electoral list. However, it becomes a nightmare when Dr. Fonkam Azu’u says Elections Cameroon should be judged from their determination and not figures, sad indeed. Even President Biya himself is alleged to have donated 25 million FCFA to galvanize voters in his own region. February 28, is just few weeks away yet some politicians are still hoping that the date will be extended. 
Electoral fraud is a widespread phenomenon, especially in Cameroon. Despite abundant qualitative and anecdotal evidence on its existence from around the world, there is very limited quantitative evidence on the extent of electoral fraud. Eventhough democratic societies are built around the principle of free, fair, transparent and credible elections as Ntumfor Nico Halle usually says, and that each citizen's vote should count equally, some CPDM militants in Donga Mantung Division are yet to understand the meaning of democracy. The case of Donga Mantung Division where Dr. Fuh Calistus Gentry is the leader of the CPDM Central Committee to sensitize the population to register massively is pathetic. Judging from the state of registration, it is no doubt very clear that the machinery that in the past use to fabricate figure is in serious difficulties. Donga Mantung that registered over 100.000 voters is yet to realize 50.000 voters. The question many have been asking is where are the voters who two years ago voted President Biya to power? Considering the fact that no disaster took place in Donga Mantung Division, everyone is looking at Dr. Fuh Calistus to explain whether the people of Donga Mantung have rejected his team.  If this is not true, where have the people gone to?
However before the recompilation of the voters registers, the potential voters in the 2011 Presidential elections in the division stood as follows; Nkambe 28,703 yet Nkambe has only been able to register 16,391 voters with biometrics. Ndu which registered 28,116 voters has only been able to register just a meager 13,696, while Nwa has dropped drastically from 30,296 to 11,700 voters. The situation of Ako is pitiful that out of the 14,247 voters registered during the 2011 Presidential elections only 4,831 voters have registered. In Misaje, allegations are rife that the 6,416 voters already registered is the summit Dr. Calistus and co could afford down from the 10,624 voters in 2011. Biometric registration may not be the panacea but the way it has exposed electoral malpractices in Misaje and Ako speak volume. In Misaje for example, another strategy to rig with the complicity of ELECAM officials has been unmasked. Minors are reported to have been registered. The trick we gathered is that since the kit will reject anyone below 20 years, while keying in the date of birth, it is inflected.
Even though confidential sources hinted that Dr. Fuh Calistus held a crisis meeting with the administration and even disbursed funds to cajole for support, the trends are not favourable at all. Chunghe village (Dr. Calistus’s own village) which in 2011 registered over 700 voters is yet to register 200 voters. It is intriguing and flabbergasting with all these lapses these Yaounde cronies are always ready to assassinate the truth though bitter. But since truth is like a stone that when thrown into the air must finally fall down, Hon. Kwalar acknowledged while presenting his report during the evaluation meeting in Nkambe recently accepted that complete absence of double registration has impacted on registration. It was like a joke but deeply into it, that statement is a fact.
Implicitly, it is alleged that in the past photocopies of identity cards were collected from students at a pay of 1000 FCFA and today such practices may not be attained.
Meeting on Saturday February 3, at the Nkambe Community Hall CPDM bigwigs from Yaounde were all dumbfounded to the point that none was able to explain why a drastic drop in voters registration. The evaluation meeting that was chaired by Madame Regina Mundi (CPDM Poliburo member) was the first of it kind that brought members of the Regional coordination to Donga Mantung Division. Dr. Fuh Calistus in his speech acknowledged that many people still find it very difficult to get to Donga Mantung Division due to the deplorable state of the Ring Road; he however convinced himself that very soon the situation will not be the same. But yet, he (Dr. Fuh Calistus) failed to state how soon is very soon. Reports from Nwa Sub Division revealed that the population of that part is yet to benefit from the issuing of free identity cards due to the fact that there is only one identification post. According to Hon. Genesis Mbuksek, the topographic nature of the area makes movement very difficult. As the process draws to it end, more than six villages in Nwa are yet to receive the visit of Elections Cameroon mobile team. Ako sub Division on the other hand is also hindered by the fact that there is no identification center. To benefit from President Biya’s largess of free identity cards, the people must travel to Nkambe.

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