AAny electoral process has several key concerns that must be taken into consideration even if it is taking place within a context that is undergoing democratisation like what Cameroon is facing today. The publication of the results of the 7 October, 2018 presidential poll that saw nine candidates on the departure point will be another culminating point in efforts by Elections Cameron, ELECAM and the other actors to ensure that Cameroonians emerge from the exercise with a leader that reflects the choice of the people.
Since the start of the year when ELECAM opened voter registers, the entire nation had the opportunity to begin the process of exercising their civic rights. Even though not everyone perceived the stakes, those who are conscious and followed up were given the chance to vote and no matter the appreciation that the different persons involved could have, the bottom line is that the all is well that ends well. ELECAM that holds the key to the successful organisation of elections and referenda in the country has a number of responsibilities that must be carried out to fully accomplish its mission.
Section One of Law N° 2012/001 of 19 April 2012 relating to the Electoral Code, amended and supplemented by Law N° 2012/017 of 21 December 2012, requires that ELECAM should be the body responsible for the organization, management and supervision of all election and referendum operations. Given that the operation involves political parties that function within the national territory, the administration equally comes in to ensure certain material and operational details that both voters and the political parties need to exercise their civic duty.
The synergy of action fully came into play during the presidential election and cases of anxiety, being expressed at various quarters are gradually being relegated to the background because not only did voters go out peacefully to vote, the public handling of petitions linked to the election and the live broadcast took the people by storm and some are already talking of the most highly followed media event in Cameroon for the year 2018.
From the registration of voters, to the convening of electorate, the campaign and voting stages of the Presidential, ELECAM is today heaving a sigh of relief for accomplishing its missions. Any shortcoming identified can be said to be for future correction given the four-day marathon hearing at the Constitutional Council.
The support role played by the Ministry of Territorial Administra tion, the Defence Forces, and the National Communication Council as well as the Civil Society in ensuring that no excesses occured to hamper the entire process all seemed to combine efficiently. Ballot papers were printed and distributed on time, the voting exercises recorded no major setbacks and all independent election observers who witnessed the polls talked of a free, fair, and transparent election except in situations that required particular security measures to get voters on board.
As the country awaits the official proclamation of results today 22 October, 2018, the general opinion is that the debates over the various petitions tabled at the Constitutional Council simply stole the show. The conclusions might not have been evident to all observers and members of the public who followed the live broadcast, partly due to the complexities in the legal proceedings or the nature of the complaints raised by candidates involved and even those rejected from competing, but the lesson remains that those who had any organisational role to play did their best to serve Cameroon.
The high-spirited debates at the Constitutional Council even made some to qualify the litigations variously as either a bone given to a child to chew or a prayer said in tongues that needed translation. However, no matter the conclusion arrived at, the 7 October, 2018 Presidential Election in Cameroon undoubtedly created a precedence and demonstrated once more that the sovereign people of the Republic of Cameroon know where their interest lies because, despite the complex nature of the country and the cross-road issues to tackle, the way has been paved for election results to be proclaimed today.
As such the other take home message will be that the victor will have the entire nation and all the complications to lead for the next seven years. Needless saying; the way that plays out will best be told in 2025 and any other affirmation will be mere conjecture.