Yesterday, the Director General of Elections met the press to give a balance sheet of the ongoing voter registration process.
As per the law, the registration for the 2016 calendar year begun on January 1, ended last Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Although officials of ELECAM, the nation’s elections management body were rather upbeat about their performance during this period by its increased number of voters on the elector’s lists, the situation is far from satisfactory.
There is an obvious significant increase in the number of new voters registered compared to the same period last year; but that is good as statistics have it. The real problem, however, is to get a considerable number of voters, consistent with international standards, which matches with a Cameroonian population which is in the threshold of 24 Million this 2016. Reasonably and taking into consideration that the youthful nature of the population, one would have, even in the most conservative estimation, put the voting population at around 10 Million and even above.
But successive initiatives taken by ELECAM to get citizens enjoy this natural birth right of participating in the choice of those to govern them have generally never attained the desired results. There have been seminars, workshops and noisy campaigns, but citizens would not budge! By helping set up ELECAM, government was trying to hands off any role in the organization of elections and in so doing hoped that the suspicions citizens held when the said organization was done with very overt government participation would be dissipated and thus bring on board all those suspecting citizens.
The present state of affairs purveys a very negative image of the entire electoral system because it leaves the impression that something is wrong; otherwise how can one explain that Cameroonians, known for their interest in politics and the advancement of democracy, show so little interest in an organized electoral process. Furthermore, registering for elections is a foremost act of responsible citizenship because in is through elections that we fully express our opinion on who and when our leaders or representatives should be selected.
On the other hand, those who continue to criticize those in power and for whom they did not even care to vote because of their apathy to the electoral process, must hold themselves to blame, simply because in so doing they help get undeserving representatives to power whereas they votes might have helped get more credible and accepted people into representative positions.