The bubble about fake election observers

EDITORIAL 17 Oct 2018
The bubble about fake election observers

Within the last three years or so, we have progressively moved from one crisis to another. Needless to recall the horrors of the yet-to-be resolved Anglophone problem, which out of our own arrogance and treachery, we have allowed to assume its present proportion. Again, needless to remind ourselves about the loss of lives of our beloved ones indeed, fellow Cameroonians.
As if this is not enough, a presidential election, the necessity of which in the middle of a crisis had widely been criticized for its timing. On the one hand, the recently held presidential elections raised some hopes in some quarters about the possibilities of a solution to the raging Anglophone crisis. This expectation has instead taken a new turn likely to avert attention from the real issues at stake at the moment.
That, the elections went on smoothly void of violence is a statement of fact. That, other factors which could possibly discredit the face value of the conduct of the election is what is contestable in the process of appraisal. For example, the alleged strange presence of what is being described as a group of ‘fake’ election observers, whom no one seems to own up for their presence in the country, nor for their participation in the current election process is fast becoming an explosive issue.
Transparency International whom they claimed to represent, have surprisingly denied knowing them, or having mandated the group to represent Transparency International at the elections in Cameroon. The suspicion about the authenticity of the group is based on the fact that Barrister Charles Nguini is a senior official of Transparency International who, under normal circumstances would have been contacted from head quarters that a delegation was coming. Moreso, one of the current players in the on-going election saga, Barrister Akere Muna is a highly esteemed figure in Transparency International. Entering into his backyard and faking an a Transparency observer without being caught in the act is one of those sordid things the group and those behind it ever contemplated.
It therefore becomes pertinent to ask the simple question: Who actually invited this group of people and even allowed them entry into the country, and for what business? It is verifiable on records that election observers have always been invited to observe elections at various levels in the country, including both national and international organisations. In the first multi-party contested elections in 1992, international elections observers, such as the U.S based National Democratic Institute, alongside local observer groups, effectively covered the elections. In subsequent elections in the country, other bodies such as the Commonwealth, the African Union and a host of other credible bodies have always been invited. They have usual done what they are able do and, their respective reports submitted to the appropriate quarters.
But the present situation does not only raise many questions. It also provokes suspicion that something must have gone seriously wrong somewhere along the line, which someone must explain to the Cameroonian people and the world at large. That someone must sort out to clear the air in order to restore the credibility of our election process which we seem to be progressively losing without us noticing it.
The other issue is the one relating to Professor Maurice Kamto’s auto declaration as having scored a penalty. This particular act has provoked diverse reactions and we can understand why. Professor Kamto’s outburst could be seen from several angles, one of which could mean that the learned Professor’s declaration was a political act. His admirers and supporters may argue that it fits in well in the country’s political game. He might have seen some dark shadows at the end of the tunnel.
Again others may justifiably stick to the provisions of the electoral law which gives the exclusive right to the body known as the Constitutional Council, as the only authority to proclaim the results of the election. Whichever way we look at it, it seems obvious that we are at the verge of another crisis, which at the end will only prove itself as a test of how much our laws actually are well intended for the good of both sides of an argument.
It would therefore be wise for both the government, including those who argue vehemently that Professor Kamto has erred, as well as those who tend to believe that another Article in the electoral law also gives Kamto a leeway to score a penalty, to hide their swords for the time being for the truth to surface naturally. But this will depend largely on how much ELECAM has this country at heart. How this much expected truth will surface is difficult to think. But we strongly believe that the proposal put forward by the US State Department, that the results from every polling station be made public could solve this riddle.

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