ELECAM slashes polling chairpersons’ money in NW by 70%

NEWS 24 Oct 2018
ELECAM slashes polling chairpersons’ money in NW by 70%

By Ankiambom Terry S.
Elections Cameroon, ELECAM has had so many stones thrown at them during and after the October 7 Presidential Elections for alleged irregularities condoned by them in complicity with some state institutions which have greatly caused the reputation and integrity of the elections governing body to be highly questioned.
The most embarrassing of their irregularities is the illegal slashing of polling chairpersons’ money in the North West Region by over 70% done by the North West Regional Delegate for Elections Cameroon, supposedly on the instructions of the Director General for Elections Dr. Erik Essousse.
The Regional Delegate said during a meeting on Saturday, October 13, 2018 with Council Branch Heads at the North West Regional Delegation of Elections Cameroon that he was simply following the instructions of the Director General of Elections handed to him in a phone conversation in which he was instructed to pay 30% of the total amount of money reserved for polling chairpersons per polling station.
He said this is because the participation rate in the North West Region during the October 7 poll was as low as 5.5%, implying that most polling chairpersons did not work.
It is however worthy of note that though voters did not turn out, the polling chairpersons braved the odds on Election Day in the North West and were present in most of the polling stations waiting for their potential voters.
It is thus estimated that the official 2,343 polling stations in the North West Region that were budgeted to be paid 50,000FCFA each, making a total sum of 117,150,000 FCFA plus 15,000 per polling station for feeding to the chairpersons as well as the members and representatives of the polling commission, making a total sum of 35,145,000FCFA for feeding was highly slashed.
It is worth mentioning that the 152,295,000FCFA meant for feeding and for polling chairpersons was slashed by 70% thus about 106,606,500FCFA (One hundred and six million six hundred and six thousand five hundred francs) has been withheld and supposedly sent back to the Director General of Elections.
Representatives of the administration in the polling stations were also affected by the 70% slash as the 2343 representatives who were to go home with 30,000FCFA each found themselves receiving far less in some sub divisions whose names we are withholding for fear of victimization. It is estimated that out of the 70,290,000FCFA, only 21,087000CFAF was paid to Divisional Officers for their representatives. Some divisional officers refused to sign the slashed sums.
The money meant to pay the divisional commission members however remained untouched as the Regional delegate was seemingly scared of the presence of court presidents at the helm of the Divisional supervisory Commissions. All seven divisional supervisory commission presidents each received their 300,000FCFA unadjusted while their commission members all received their due 75,000FCFA.
It is worth noting that the South West Region held elections under the same security challenges like the North West Region and registered the same low voters turn out of just about 15% but were paid in full.
Some pundits caution in total dissatisfaction the Director General of Elections that if he was actually responsible for such a decision, then it should sink well into his head that the Cameroonians who put their lives at risk on elections day as polling chairpersons in the North West Region in order to see that the institution succeeds in its mission have been highly taken for granted. He should also be aware that many polling stations in the region like Bafut, Batibo, Widikum, Ndumbu, Ndop, Njinikom Jakiri, Nkum and Tubah were attacked by gunmen exposing innocent and willing civilians to grave danger. The say the meager sum paid by ELECAM cannot compensate the brave services offered by the polling chairpersons whose money was illegally slashed.

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