Since the convening of Councillors on 7 February, 2018 to the polls for the election of Senators on 25 March, 2018, various actors across the board have intensified preparatory efforts to ensure that they put all the chances of success on their side.
While political parties that are eligible to vote are busy screening candidates who can best represent the interests of the parties, Elections Cameroon board members and officials of the Directorate General of ELECAM have been making rounds across the regions and finalising issues concerning practical organisation.
Administrative authorities who have the equally challenging task of assisting electoral officials continue to give assurances even to the most sceptical segments of the population that everything is in place for the elections to be smoothly organised.
Meeting at the first Ordinary Session of ELECAM Board on 15 February, 2018 members remained upbeat that no hitches existed at their level concerning the effectiveness of the polls next month. Among several disclosures at the Board meeting was the fact that all 9,666 voters were to cast their votes in 81 polling stations across the 58 divisions of the country.
Such reassuring messages have not stopped some speculations as if to cast doubts on the ability of government and other election stakeholders to deliver on their promises. Yet, the Head of State on 31 December, 2017 while addressing the nation at the start of the New Year was so clear on the issues.
People seem to take delight in thinking that what they wish for would invariably happen because they have expressed the wish to see things go in their own direction. The management of State affairs requires that those in charge take things to the right direction. It has most often pointed to a track that demonstrates a greater sense of insight and determination.
The convening of the Electoral College for Senatorial pools and the appointment of members of the Constitutional Council on the same day came to confirm a presidential promise and equally underline the resolve to move on with State institutions the way President Paul Biya had begun. He already announced in his New Year message that;
“The completion of the establishment of the institutions provided for in the Constitution will contribute towards consolidating the rule of law and open a new page in our democratic process. The year 2018 will be an important election year. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that elections are held in peace and security.”
This simply confirms the fact that those who continue to cast doubts over the effective holding of elections in certain parts of the country for security reasons may have to think twice. Once the Head of State comes out to declare his intentions to ensure that elections take place in “peace and security”, it should sound a special bell in the minds of each and every Cameroonian, and the general spirit should be towards preparing for the elections and not spending time on speculations.
Some naïve minds tend to follow those who take pleasure in spreading information that only goes to highlight negative values in society and at times deliberately undermines field realities. The right to vote is a democratic choice, but the law equally protects those who want to exercise such a choice in a free and fair atmosphere.
Any attempt at either hampering voters from casting their votes or derailing the same should clearly be seen as violation of the law. Acknowledging the pockets of insecurity in the North West, South West, Far North and East Regions in no way reflect the casting of doubts over the holding of elections.
This is even more so given that the Head of State before addressing the nation on 31 December was already aware of such difficulties. By calling Cameroonians to the polls, the Head of State must have taken the temperature of events.
Thus, those being summoned to decide on the fate of senators only have one responsibility – to actually go to the polls come 25 March, 2018 throughout the national territory