By Elah Geoffrey Mbongale
Elections Cameroon, ELECAM Board Member, Christopher Tambe Tiku has warned ELECAM officials to shun fraudulent or corrupt practices or face the music when the time comes. He sounded the note of warning on May 26, 2017 during an evaluation meeting with ELECAM Fako divisional branch staff in Limbe in the company of newly transferred Elecam Board Member to the South West region, Thomas Ejake Mbonda.
“ELECAM is one of the targets of the current crisis rocking the North West and South West regions because people don’t believe we are credible and I am not prepared to lose my life because of a corrupt ELECAM officer, We have to convince the people that we are credible and transparent.
“Fraudsters will be sanctioned; it will not be business as usual. It is not the public that will expose you to us, we will expose you to the public”, Tambe Tiku warned while adding that ELECAM officers have no business fraternising with politicians. He furthered that if ELECAM should be threatened by the public, it should be while doing the right thing.
Tambe Tiku was corroborated by his colleague, Former Governor Thomas Ejake Mbonga who also warned Elecam staff and representatives of political parties present of the imminence of the 2018 elections. Ejake Mbonda told political parties’ representatives that: “2018 is tomorrow! Political parties should acquaint themselves with the provisions of the Electoral Code; they are partners in this process and should not only come afterwards to complain.”
Earlier, the Divisional Branch Head of ELECAM, Nangoh Stephen revealed that since the electoral register was opened on January 3 this year, only 804 voters have been registered in Fako; a dismal figure compared to about 5000 voters registered same time last year.
Nangoh Stephen blamed the sharp decline in voters’ registration on a flurry of factors; lukewarm attitude by some of the stakeholders, including political parties, insecurity in the English speaking parts of the country which has exposed the staff to numerous threats, limited finances to penetrate enclaved or distant areas, breakdown of electoral kits amongst others.
Some of the representatives of political parties present expressed worries over the complicity between some ELECAM officers and politicians of the ruling CPDM party. Ndoke Philip, SDF district chair for Muyuka narrated an instance where an ELECAM officer in Muyuka solicited the services of the Muyuka council by asking for a vehicle to use for ELECAM activities. This was hugely frowned at by the ELECAM board members who warned ELECAM staff to stop fraternising with politicians and elected officials irrespective of the party.
Christopher Tambe Tiku called on political parties to be more involved in the selection of Electoral Commission presidents during elections and make sure to select credible people to represent them at polling stations. He advised them to also take care of their polling agents because some of them have reportedly sold their votes for a few francs during previous elections.
At the end of the annual revision meeting, it was agreed that there is need for mass mobilisation of the electorate and that stakeholders should not wait till when the elections are at hand to get registered. Security forces were also enjoined to ensure the safety of ELECAM staff and property.
Speaking to The SUN after the meeting, Christopher Tambe Tiku revealed that the meeting was aimed at evaluating the mistakes of the past so as to lay a sturdy platform for the future. He stressed that it was necessary to expose some of the irregularities of the past so that stakeholders understand that the mindset of ELECAM in 2017 is not the same as was during the 2013 elections.
Reacting to the low voters’ registration Tambe Tiku said given the prevailing peculiar circumstances in the North West and South West regions, ELECAM staff should be commended for ensuring that 804 voters were registered during this period.
“We all know the volatile nature in which these two regions found themselves and it was very difficult to talk about elections; in the North West region for example, an ELECAM vehicle was burnt down and in some areas our staffs have been threatened. It is quite a disturbing situation and for the Fako divisional head to have succeeded to get the numbers he did, it shows that the ELECAM staff have not been sleeping despite the odds.”