Like every other day, the much awaited and talked-about October 7, has come and gone. It is obviously a day in history that will constantly remind Cameroonians, even generations yet unborn that the nation of Cameron has for too long been seeking its true identity. That on that day, a crucial presidential election was conducted to shed light on where exactly such an identity lay. It was indeed a battle between forces of change and what cynics have continued to identify as a conservative regime.
Conservative in the sense that the governance approach does not seem to respond to the hard challenges of a nation that must compete in contemporary world where everyone looks forward to the best in the various areas of our national life.
The regime in place has determinedly been absorbing accusations of corruption and inertia, to name but these few, as factors which are standing on the way of the much needed rate of advancement. For this reason therefore, cynics see the need for change. And that the incumbent is seeking a sixth mandate after more than 35 years in power is another issue altogether.
Whatever the case, we can only add our voice in appreciating the fact that the voting went on relatively well in most parts of the country according to reports, but not without some incidents especially in the South West and North West Regions which however did not disrupt the process. We commend the level-headedness of the electorate. We can only hope that this will be taken care of by the appropriate quarters.
There is no doubt, however, that the election has in its course left behind moments of anxiety, undue speculations and even wild rumours. This, we believe has been occasioned mainly by an unclear clause in the electoral law, which provides that results of elections can only be proclaimed after a period of two weeks. This, we are certain provokes anxiety among both voters as well as those who may nurse the fears that votes may be tempered with and the true results over-turned in favour of the ruling party.
We share in these fears which may be true or imagined. Yet the chances cannot be outrightly dismissed as impossibility in a country where corruption reigns and in a contest that has given both the ruling party and the opposition sleepless nights. We can therefore arrive at no other possible conclusion in the case of candidate Maurice Kamto, if in fact it can be taken into consideration.
That he has rushed to proclaim himself the winner ahead of what the law provides, is certainly not the best approach in avoiding the fraud which he might have been worried about. We agree that the spirit of the law may not be respected after all by those who should have done so. Yet we strongly believe his initiative will only justify whatever action the government may decide to take to back up themselves in accordance with what the law states.
We would still insist that candidate Kamto’s approach at this point in time provides neither the chances for change, nor does it give an acceptable answer to the questionable bad electoral law. However, all that we have been able to deduce from the outcome of this election is that, if any of the eight candidates who stood to face the outgoing president fails to win a majority vote to usher in a new man at Etoudi this time around, the opposition will certainly be held to blame mainly for their selfishness. That they were unable to form a real force by way of a coalition has finally destroyed the little pride that was left to keep the image of the opposition above the waters. Even the Kamto/Akere Muna drama sounded childish especially as it came at the dying minutes.
If we can go back to history on the 1992 presidential elections in which Fru Ndi was widely believed to have won, but was deprived of that victory through manipulations which history has since absorbed, it was so because there was a strong and determined come-together of a number of opposition parties for a common purpose which made Fru Ndi’s aborted victory possible.
To add to this, we had in this newspaper clamoured that due to the crisis rocking the two Anglophone regions, there was
no propitious environment for a free and credible elections except we mean that the voice of the over five million people in this regions is of no importance. We have all witnessed an incredibly low participation rate in these regions. The opposition was well aware of this but decided to play the regime’s game. They have themselves to blame.
For those who therefore desire change, this election will certainly provide a wide range of lessons to learn. At this stage, we can only wish that Cameroonians hold their patience and wait for the ultimate declaration of the results.