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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.