News / Africa

Voter ID Card Controversy Mars Cameroon Campaign

A man searches for his voting card at a polling station in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde (file photo).
A man searches for his voting card at a polling station in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde (file photo).
— Campaigning for parliamentary and local elections is officially underway in Cameroon, amid controversy over the alleged fabrication and buying of fake voter cards ahead of the September 30 poll.

Loudspeakers placed at strategic locations and in populous neighborhoods of Cameroon’s capital blare campaign messages by 35 political parties running in council and parliamentary elections this month.

This message by one opposition party, the National Union for Democracy and Progress, promises to unite the country and keep it out of conflict.
 
Meanwhile, Denis Kemlemo, a candidate with the main opposition Social Democratic Front, tells VOA he will focus on reviving the economy.  “Our economy is failing due to the adoption of unrealistic budgets, absence of true social justice and snail pace development.  It is for this reason that we are begging for your support during these upcoming parliamentary and council elections to help bring the change that we desperately need,” he said.
 
But the campaigns have been overshadowed by a simmering controversy over voter registration.  
 
The Social Democratic Front and other opposition parties have lodged complaints with the country’s elections management body, Elections Cameroon, known as ELECAM.  They allege that voter ID cards have been falsified and note that one such case has been uncovered in the  town of Kumba, in the southwest.
 
Emmanuel Njang, the southwest regional delegate for ELECAM, acknowledges there have been problems, and says his group will take corrective action.  “They will not be allowed to vote, and individuals will be prosecuted for bringing in unauthorized material into the polling station,” he stated.
 
ELECAM’s officer in charge of preparing election materials, Thadeus Menang, said the incident was isolated.  He said the biometric registration system will make it nearly impossible for a person to vote more than once.
 
“We have come across cases, [where the] same voters go around with several ID cards, and who on the basis of these several ID cards register in several places.  And when initially you see a case like that it is difficult to determine that it is duplicate," Menang said. "But that is what biometry is trying to help us deal with.  With the biometric voter registration system, those cases have been reduced to minimum.”
 
But some of the opposition parties are also accusing the ruling Cameroon's Peoples Democratic Movement of buying voter cards.  John Fru Ndi is the leader of the Social Democratic Front. “Ministers have come from Yaounde and are buying voters' cards from people.  We are saying that we will not tolerate any rough game again.  We are doing this because we want justice before, justice during and justice after [the elections].  And justice will bring peace,” he said.

President Paul Biya’s party denied the allegations.  Fru Jonathan is campaigning for the CPDM ticket in Cameroon's northwest.  “The CPDM is not relying on giving material or money to militants for them to vote.  I think the CPDM has all the arguments to win the electorate,” stated Jonathan.
 
The ruling Cameroon Peoples Democratic Movement, CPDM, looks set to win about 100 out of 180 parliamentary seats and about 250 out of 360 councils in constituencies where they are unchallenged or are competing with very weak parties.
 
Some five million registered voters go to the polls on September 30.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: emmile from: douala
September 16, 2013 2:41 PM
I wonder why voting when its clear cameroon is a one party state. Actualy there is no opposition in cameroon but paul biyas franchises all governed by the cpdm. All the claims and complaints are mere propaganda.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid