Voters Registration: Decisive Moment


COMMENTARY

The electoral body in the country, Elections Cameroon, ELECAM, has of late intensified efforts to encourage citizens get themselves registered for future polls in the nation. There are still some who keep dragging their feet as if time is on their side because, the general understanding that there are no elections this year may be true but void of some substance. In principle, next year 2018 is a charged electoral one in the country with Legislative, Council and Presidential elections expected to take place.

Put this way, the issue may appear benign. However, the law requires ELECAM should revise the electoral register each year. Such a preparatory activity to an election is a prerequisite for any potential voter to be able to cast their vote. That notwithstanding, Section 75 sub two of the Electoral Code states that the: “annual revision or, where applicable, the recompilation of electoral registers shall be suspended from the date of convening the electors.” What this means is that, should electors be convened for April 2018, those who failed to have their names on the electoral register three months before the election date will not be able to vote.

Taking into consideration the importance of citizens contributing to nation-building through the putting in place of those to govern their local or national affairs, the need to have an electoral card becomes paramount. Thus, the 31 August, 2017 deadline for the registration of voters has all its usefulness in terms of participating in decision-making by being in a position to vote either during the election of local councillors, Members of Parliament or the President of the Republic.

Stepping up mobilisation efforts and working hard to get a maximum number of people have their names on the voters’ list can no longer be taken for granted this year given the stakes that are ahead of Cameroonians. Casting a vote may not be compulsory but a civic duty and those who remain indifferent will certainly risk seeing others imposed leaders on them through the ballot box. Such a situation might deprive non voters of the possibility of having the type of leadership that they require. In a country like Cameroon that is grappling with the democratisation process, making the country better can only best be through the exercise of such civic duty as going to cast a vote that could bring about meaningful leadership, development, and progress. By choosing to stay indifferent no matter the justification, others will fill the vacuum and the consequences are always likely to affect even those who stayed away from the polls. Thus, elections begin with registration of voters and the time is now!


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