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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs