BY NDUMBE BELL GASTON
Members of the business community in Douala and the Littoral region in general went to the polls last Tuesday July 7 2020, to choose the new 160-member strong General Assembly of the Chamber of Commerce, to mark the end of the last 4-year mandate and the beginning of another.
The election exercise was coordinated by the incumbent President of the Chamber, Christophe Eken, as early as 9.00 am at the Chamber’s headquarter precincts in Bonanjo, where he gave his blessings for a very serene atmosphere that will reflect the future realisation of the institution.
The voting exercise commenced in other regions of the nation before happening in Douala, where 65 out of the 160-member General Assembly is expected. The Littoral region harboured 33 voting centres located in markets, Divisional Offices and more, and Douala alone had a total of 21 voting centres. It was officially disclosed that 120.000 businesspersons were expected to take part in the election exercise nation-wide.
The Secretary-General, Halidou Bello, who is also the Secretary of the Electoral Commission, explained that the results of the election will be out only after 14 days from election day, while the President of the Chamber will only be appointed by the Head of State after 30 days.
In this light, it is expected that the incumbent President, Christophe Eken, may either be retained to replace himself after having served three 4-year terms since 2008, or be replaced.
Sequel to having known the President, elections will continue at the 160-member General Assembly’s four sections, namely that of Industry and Mines, Commerce,Crafts and Service, where elections will be organised at this level to know their leaders and officers to run the affairs of their different sections.
Further elections will be carried out at the level of 9 sub-sections of the four major sections, in brief.
The Secretary of the Electoral Commission, Halidou Bello, whose chair is the Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Dodo Ndoke, intimated that “this election exercise has faced turbulent times. It was not only postponed due to the organisation of the twin legislative and municipal elections of February 2020, and the socio-political and economic problems, the election has been held within a period where we are grappling with the spread of the killer pandemic.” He however maintained that despite all these challenges, CCIMC has remained close with the business community. Steps were then taken to decentralise election strategies to respect the sanitary measures, so regional elections were organised across the nation. This exercise has now given hope to the business community and is the most adequate means to assure continuity of the Chamber’s objectives and reforms, Halidou expressed.