Cameroon’s Presidential Poll: The crackdown begins! 0

As results of the presidential poll get known based on the reports submitted, the ruling party has set its crackdown machinery in motion, hoping to stop Professor Kamto from leading the country out of its numerous crisis. Change has come to Cameroon and Prof. Kamto is the country’s next president. The results clearly indicate that Cameroonians need change, even those in areas considered as the president’s stronghold.

After having received all the results reports from our agents in the field, Cameroon Concord News Group has provided a detailed result of the poll and the people are prepared to defend their victory. Early today, thousands of Cameroonians descended onto the streets of Yaounde to express their joy and fear that their victory might be stolen like it happened in 1992.

Last night, the country’s territorial administration minister, Paul Atanga, had issued veiled threats to Prof. Kamto and his team, stressing that nobody was above the law. Of course, the law works well when things are against the incumbent. Mr. Atanga Nji still holds that Cameroonians are scared of the military, even when Southern Cameroonians have demystified the country’s military.

Also, the government had dispatched its security operatives to arrest Mr. Kamto, but he had been duly informed by an informant and he promptly left his home. He is expected to hold a press conference later today where he will be claiming his victory and calling on the people to stand up for democracy. He will also urge the international community to be solidly behind democracy so that it can sprout in a country that has known a veiled dictatorship for more than five decades.

Some of his advisers have been arrested and the destructive regime is already coming up with trumped up charges to intimidate them and the population. Unfortunately, this will not work, as the population is prepared to defend that victory. Mr. Biya’s military cannot kill everybody and it is rumored that there are cracks within the military, with a huge segment seeking real change.

After Southern Cameroonians, it is now the turn of the non-Beti Francophone majority that has been standing on the sidelines for a long time. The majority has to do its job. It must liberate itself. The world knows that Mr. Biya has been running a crime syndicate in the name of a political party.

All opposition parties must come together to defend democracy in Cameroon. This is not Kamto’s victory, it is Cameroon’s victory and it must be defended. Cameroonians must take to the streets to ensure Mr. Biya and his people yield to the people’s demand. 36 years are long enough. The Biya regime has spread death and destruction to all the corners of the country. The people are sick and tired of their mismanagement and ineffectiveness.

It should be recalled that Professor Kamto’s victory was never in doubt, but as a measure of precaution, Cameroonians were just going about their business as if nothing positive was not going to happen. Elections in Africa are usually unpredictable and the winner sometimes ends up in jail, as the loser usually uses the military to his advantage. But this will not be happening to Cameroonians. They have been looking for change for decades and it has finally arrived and it will be defended.

The indicators were already there for all to see yesterday. Cameroon Concord News Group’s exit polls had already pointed out that Professor Kamto would be the next president of the country, though many CPDM – the party that has been in power in Cameroon since independence – members were questioning the results of the exit poll.

But after having received all the polling results from our reporters and undercover agents, it is clear that the man who once served under the incumbent, Paul Biya, will be the country’s next president.

According to the reports sent to our global headquarters, Professor Kamto has a clear lead in the far north, littoral, Center and west regions which are heavily populated regions.  Professor Kamto’s vast victory margin in these four regions makes it hard for the incumbent to narrow the gap, as his victory is only in sparsely populated regions like the south and east regions.

A computation of the entire results gives Professor Kamto slightly over 37%, while the incumbent ends up in fourth position with 18.4%. Mr. Joshua Osih comes second with 22.3%. Cabral Libii, the political novice takes home 19.2%. The other small and unpopular parties share the rest.

In Mfoundi, which is supposed to be Mr. Biya’s stronghold, Professor Kamto took a huge bite out of the votes. He came out with slightly over 39% while Mr. Biya had 36%.  Mr. Biya is being trailed in this precinct by Mr. Cabral Libii who is the youngest among the candidates with 22%.

The poll was marred by irregularities, many of which were designed to favor the incumbent. However, it must be pointed out that it is hard to organize perfect elections in a developing and infrastructure-poor country like Cameroon.

This situation has been made all the more challenging by the Southern Cameroons crisis that is tearing the country apart.

In the two English-speaking regions of the country, due to insecurity, the number of polling stations was reduced, but voters were not given the means to reach their new polling stations.

For example, Prime Minister Yang Philemon was allowed to vote at Up-station in Bamenda while he had registered to vote in Oku which is his hometown since the government could not guarantee security in Oku.

While the Prime Minister voted, his fellow Oku residents were never given a similar opportunity. The same applies to the Senate President, Niat Njifenji, who was allowed to vote in Paris when he never registered to vote there.

It should be recalled that the country’s Senate president was evacuated to a French hospital one month ago and there was no way he could have known that he would be ill before the election.

But the most sickening irregularities took place at the polling stations. In some polling stations in the country, opposition returning officers were not allowed into the polling stations.

There were reports of polling stations being lodged in unofficial locations. Some ballot boxes also arrived already opened and a lady was caught in the Littoral region trying to stuff the ballot boxes with CPDM ballots.

In the south region, some opposition returning officers were beaten and thrown out of the polling station. This actually happened to Cabral Libii’s returning officers and his party is already talking of taking the matter up with the election organizing body and the constitutional council.

The incumbent has gone down so easily. He was popularly unpopular even among his fellow Betis. After 36 years in power with no results to show for, it is just normal that the people look for other leaders that can help clean up the mess created by Mr. Biya and his party.

From the voting pattern, it easy to notice that even in his home region, many people did not vote for Mr. Biya. The South region is still the poorest in the country and it is totally bereft of infrastructure.

This is also true of the East region which is endowed with mineral resources, but has the largest number of poor and illiterate Cameroonians.

For more than two decades, the country’s economy has been in a free fall, with millions of Cameroonians being unemployed. It is common for millions of young graduates to look outwards for opportunities than in their country.

This situation has also been prompted by corruption and nepotism that have become the government’s hallmarks.  Today, it is common to see an entire institution full of people from the President’s ethnic group.

The Beti ethnic group constitutes less than 10% of the population, but it accounts for 70% of the country’s ministers.

The country has about 30 army generals, but the center and south regions, which account for less than 10% of the population, have 18 generals. This has been one issue that has been frustrating other Cameroonians.

Of the 34 state-owned corporations, 21 are run by the Betis and Anglophones have just one managing director although the two English-speaking regions of the country account for 20% of the country’s population.

But it is the management of the Southern Cameroons crisis that has delivered a deadly blow to the incumbent in this election. For over two years since the crisis started, the government has conducted itself as if the two English-speaking regions are not part of the country.

The president just like his ministers has displayed the most annoying form of arrogance that has left the people wondering about the future of the country. Mr. Biya has never addressed the issues and has not laid the groundwork for the inclusive dialogue that the world has been calling for.

On the contrary, he and his government have opted for military violence that has consumed some 4,000 Cameroonians, including some 2,000 soldiers. The region’s economy has also collapsed and more than half a million Southern Cameroonians are refugees in their own country.

It should be highlighted that some 300,000 Southern Cameroonians are currently in Nigeria after escaping from the military violence that the Yaounde government unleashed on innocent civilians who were simply complaining of the pain the system was inflicting on them.

Mr. Biya has been conducting himself as if the country was his personal estate. He has been using the country’s treasury as his personal ATM.

For 36 years, Mr. Biya, who is mockingly known as the monarch, has not built any world class hospital, and he and his political cronies always seek better healthcare abroad and this has been costing the taxpayer a pretty penny.

These and other factors have converged to give the government a very bad name. Mr. Biya should have left honorably, but he felt his rigging machine would deliver the fake results he was used to.

But times have changed. The people need change. The hardship, poor economic situation, the conflict with the country’s rich Diaspora and the government’s arrogance have been some of the mistakes that will linger in the minds of members of the crime syndicate that has ruled the country for decades.

Social media has finally cut down the Biya regime to normal proportions. The lies of the past cannot be cloned in the era of social media. The people have the means to mobilize and Cameroonians are hell-bent on achieving their goal. Mr. Biya will have to kill all Cameroonians to stay in power. 2018 is the year. Enough is enough!

By Kingsley Betek and Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai