By NOELA EBOB BISONG
The legal battle that ensued following the election of the pioneer City Mayor for Kumba and deputies on March 5, 2020 has harvested a rerun.
The news broke out like wild fire, Thursday, September 24, following the decision by the Administrative Bench of the Supreme Court ordering for a rerun of the election of the Kumba City Council executive.
The Kumba ruling follows a complaint filed by Gregory Ntemeyock Mewanu, main challenger of Victor Nkelle Ngoh, the latter who had already taken oath as the city mayor months back and was in full action as city boss.
The dust was yet to settle since March, as reports were rife that Mewanu was the party’s choice candidate and the central committee of the CPDM had been crossed when Nkelle Ngoh narrowly emerged victorious at the hot and tensed election.
However, Mewanu did not deter, as he took the matter to the South West Administrative court. On April 9, 2020 the South West Administrative Court Holden at Buea and presided by Justice Mbu Edward Osoh alongside Justice Christopher Ofon and Justice Lonje Martin dismissed the petition. This news was celebrated in many streets across Kumba by Nkelle Ngoh fans, and at that moment, it was believed, the battle was over.
Nonetheless, information did filtered out, days later that, the file had been transported to the Supreme Court and this was confirmed on April 24, 2020.
The SUN learnt that Mewanu Gregory alleged that the election of the City Mayor was marked by “gross irregularities, corrupt practices, and the non compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Code and the General Code of Decentralisation and Local Authorities; that there was massive bribery and corruption by Ngoh Nkele Victor as he “quarantined” electors in a local hotel and gave them money not to vote objectively and cast votes in his favour.” For these reasons, the petitioner urged the court to order for “total cancellation of election for the Kumba City Mayor and Deputies that took place on Tuesday March 5, 2020”, and for the court to order “a re- run of the elections as statutorily provided.” His plea has yielded fruits and the rerun is expected soonest.
It should be recalled that the Kumba City Council Mayoral elections of Tuesday March 5, 2020, had three candidates contesting for the top job including Ngoh Nkele Victor, Mewanu Gregory and Ekoko Muelle. The results of the hotly contested polls saw Ngoh Nkele Victor emerging with 38 votes, Mewanu Gregory 31 votes and Ekoko Muelle 6 votes.