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Cameroon Electoral Board To Unveil Provisional Voter Register

Cameroon President Paul Byia leaves the pooling station after voting in Yaounde, Cameroon, October 11, 2004. (file photo)

The chairman of Cameroon’s electoral board (ELECAM) says his organization will soon display the recently compiled voters’ list so citizens can correct any discrepancies ahead of the October 9 general elections.

Samuel Fonkam says the electoral body has implemented measures to ensure the vote will be free, fair and transparent.

“We will be putting up the provisional list anytime soon so that if there are verifications, any corrections, they will be made [by the voters],” said Fonkam. “We will then quickly publish the final list and proceed to produce electoral cards.”

ELECAM is mandated by law to distribute electoral cards 25 days before the elections are held.

More than five million registered Cameroonians were eligible to vote in the 2007 general elections. Fonkam said this registration drive makes it possible for the electoral body to “clean up” and compile a revised and accurate list.

Some people have expressed concern that there’s not enough time between the end of the voter registration process in late August and the October elections for the electoral board to organize the polls.

But Fonkam says the concerns as unfounded.

“On what basis do they entertain such fears? They are not justified,” he said. “I keep explaining the time frames were known by ELECAM; it’s not as if they are new. So, it’s not something that has suddenly been thrust on us.”

He adds that ELECAM is capable of handling any problems that arise.

“There are definitely challenges, which we will meet within the confines of the law,” said Fonkam. “The important thing we are trying to do is to be able to give out the right information because very often…very few people take the necessary time to study the legal framework within which elections are organized.”

He encouraged participating political parties to be vigilant in making sure the vote is credible.

“It is for all the stakeholders who are involved in the organization to ensure that elections are free and fair,” said Fonkam. “Provision is made for political parties to be present at all the levels [of the voting process]…Through all stages, representatives of either the political parties or the candidates are present.”

Fonkam also said ELECAM is prepared to organize a credible vote, despite opposition concerns the election will be rigged.