News / Africa

Campaigning Underway for Cameroon Presidential Poll

Cameroon's President Paul Biya waves to supporters during the opening of his party conference, Yaounde, Cameroon, September 15, 2011.
Cameroon's President Paul Biya waves to supporters during the opening of his party conference, Yaounde, Cameroon, September 15, 2011.
Anne Look

Campaigning for presidential elections set for October 9 is off to a sluggish start in Cameroon.

A handful of candidates have organized rallies in the capital, Yaounde, and commercial hub, Douala, but turnout has been moderate.

Candidates say the government has not yet paid out campaign financing grants as it did for the last election in 2004.

Longtime President Paul Biya, of the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement, faces a record 22 challengers, but is expected to win re-election. The presidential poll is a single-round election, so the large field of candidates could split the vote in the president's favor.

Voters say the poll holds little suspense.

Douala resident Jean Claude Simo said he will vote because it is his civic duty, but commented that he and others already know what the results will be. He said judging from the campaigning going on right now, the ruling party will win. He said he does not think the election will change much in Cameroon.

Biya's built-in lead

Biya has not yet hit the campaign trail, but his banners dominate the main highways and urban centers. Ruling party Secretary General Rene Emmanuel Sadi kicked off the incumbent's campaign on state TV with a focus on experience.

"A man of experience, a level-headed, wise, tolerant, competent and determined statesman. This exceptional man has a balance sheet which speaks for itself," said Sadi.

Biya has been in power since 1982. He eliminated term limits from the constitution in 2008, fueling protests that killed at least 40 people.  Critics say that constitutional reform should have prevented him from running again.

Still, the country's fractured opposition has been unable to mount much of a challenge to Biya in the past. Opposition parties failed to unite behind a single coalition in the last election in 2004.

Biya won a landslide victory in that poll with more than 70 percent of ballots. His closest challenger, Ni John Fru Ndi, won only 17 percent.

Fru Ndi reaches out


Fru Ndi is again expected to be Biya's key competition at the polls. He heads the country's lead opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, which has backtracked on previous threats to boycott, and possibly disrupt, this election.

Opposition members accuse the electoral commission of being pro-ruling party and have expressed concern about irregularities on voter lists.

Fru Ndi is currently on a nationwide campaign tour, and told VOA that this connection to the people defines his candidacy.

"I go to the people. I don't wait for the people to come to me. The SDF is the only party that has toured this country 16 times in the past, and we are going now on the 17th tour," said Fru Ndi. "So we are talking about a country we know. We are talking about a people we know.  We are talking about people who know us."

If elected, Fru Ndi has pledged to decentralize the government and serve only three years of a seven-year term, as a time of transition for Cameroon following three decades of Biya's rule.

Cameroon has enjoyed a certain stability under Biya, but analysts say his stranglehold on power has left it with a weak political class and an uncertain future when the longtime ruler does leave power.

Ntaryike Divine Jr contributed reporting from Douala, Cameroon.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid