By Felix Teche Nyamusa
That CPDM has unreserved access to the country’s treasury for campaigns is a determinant-disadvantage to her adversaries, which has often escaped the notice of elections observers.
Elections require huge amounts of campaign money. In democracies, the ability of raising funds by various candidates and / or parties determines the winner. In such good systems, elections are organised and supervised by unanimously chosen independent elections body. Its independence (financially and otherwise) is secured by the parliament. In Cameroon it is one political party (CPDM) despite the existence of hundreds of others (opposition political parties) that organises this.
CPDM formerly CNU has been in power since independence more than 50 years ago.
Elections observers particularly those from abroad (international monitors) go by the Cameroon electoral code and other local poll documents. They, like in the past, will observe the conduct at polling stations but will hardly know what happened prior to polling day not to talk of the country’s governance draft. In this country, unscrupulous politicians influence voters’ choice by criminally using Cameroon taxpayers’ money; conscience buying is characteristic here. In the just past senatorial poll, each councillor reportedly backed home circa half a million FCFA bribe from the powers that be in order to vote in their party’s favour - councillors constitute the electoral college for that election, it should be recalled . During election-campaigns and CPDM meetings, government offices are paralyzed! Ministers, directors and other government functionaries abandon duties for such events - regularly in state cars and on unbudgeted allowances - this stresses the entire nation’s economy - because of one party. A country, which operates like this, can hardly progress - common basic experience indicates; with such ugly practice, we (Cameroonians) are in for unending dependency and consequent suffering! In Cameroon, the difference between the government and the ruling party, CPDM is not quite clear. Head of state Paul Biya is also national president of CPDM. The Powers that be would not allow other parties to defeat theirs, the ruling CPDM in elections. Cameroon is an exclusive executive-manned government. The legislature and the judiciary exist only as lackeys of the president (executive). Thus, Biya uses the country’s treasury as he pleases with impunity. Funding for elections participating political parties is said to be given by government – this year, 2013’s is said to be FCFA 1.7 billion shared proportionately to the various parties. But CPDM alone through the executive visits the treasury as often as they wish. Her adversaries or other Cameroonians and elections observers now do not know the unannounced amounts of money withdrawn by CPDM. Consequences – Cameroonians get elections whose outcome is embarrassing but in books and reports - “The polls went on with minimal irregularities that could not change the outcome of the elections”. Though seemingly shielded, these wrongs have often brought uprisings and war in Cameroon (e.g. the February 2008 nationwide strike) and other poorly governed countries. Such governance breeds stagnation. Cameroon is poor, corrupt, and heavily indebted and lives at the mercy of HIPC (Heavily indebted poor country) funding.
In Cameroon, election results, always in the favour of CPDM, are known before polls day. For example before the September 30, 2013 polls, CPDM has, out of 360 councils in the national territory, already 120 councils uncontested. Out of the 180 seats parliament, CPDM by now before elections has 31 seats. The other parties including the main opposition, SDF were screened out of the contest by the ruling regime inclined structures – ELECAM, Supreme Court and others.
Imposed personnel on elected officials like SDOs and DOs, government delegates, regional governors further complicates the work of elected officials.
The supposedly non-partisan state armed forces are blackmailed into errors of fighting for CPDM fraud victory.
A Biya created composition, supposedly for fighting corruption, CONAC, recently said she would fight electoral malpractice - We challenge her to also find out why in a multiparty setup like Cameroon’s, CPDM and sister political parties do not sit down together and take joint acceptable decisions before implementation nationwide; why separation of powers in governance as obtained in democracies is anathema here and why the ruling CPDM solo uses the country’s treasury and government workers for her campaigns to the detriment of her adversaries ?
President Biya appoints members of the otherwise independent and government-controlling legislature – here the number of parliamentarians of the national assembly and the senate are manipulated to often be above 70 percent CPDM. The president of the republic is the chairperson of the higher judicial council, which outfit disciplines, transfers, and promotes amongst other tasks the nation’s magistrates – Litigations-rulings particularly those involving Biya and his CPDM are arrived at with the presidency’s say.
It is almost certain that with this kind of one-man endemic progress-inhibiting governance, the country can only be freed from the streets not via due process of law. Street power or peoples power have delivered many an archaic regime, history teaches us.Way-out:– continuous struggle through the ballot box. Let us, fellow Cameroonians collect our vote cards and vote. There comes a day when we will all stand up and out rightly and permanently reject CPDM and corruption either from the streets or otherwise as other countries do – that day is near before or after 30 September 2013 probably. The days of an insensitive regime like Biya’s are numbered should she continue ruling without the concern of majority Cameroonians.
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