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« Cameroon: What Next After Debt Relief? | Main | Book Review: Indigenous Minorities & Good Governance in Cameroon »

June 21, 2007

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Elias Oben

Mr. Tande,

What CAMEROON TRIBUNE (aka the Fib'une) says may not be facts. It is unwise to re-state unchecked information as facts in your column.

On electoral matters, the CPDM regime has resisted an Independent Electoral Commission for "good" reasons. The young Cameroonian Dr Victor P. Pungong who bravely used his good offices at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to usher in an improved electoral process in Cameroon died in mysterious circumstances in London in May 2007, followed shortly by a reversal of all gains by Yaounde. The July 2008 elections will be again managed by the MINTAD (i.e. by the CPDM). What chance has life when death is the physician?

The Tribune is 100% owned by the CPDM! The public expects the unmasking of all forces at work behind the mask. How many defeated US politicians is the regime hiring on this ocassion to come nd certify phoney elections?


EOE

Elias Oben

July 2008 should reads as July 2007.

EOE

Justin

Hi Oben,

How are you sure he published the information "unchecked"? Or did he have to include a line saying "I checked this information before publishing it?"

BTW, even The Post newspaper, which cannot be considered a mouthpiece of the government, gives essentially the same figures. These figures are not the problem at all.

As I understand it, the focus of this article was not whether the government will carry out massive fraud; it was just about basic facts surrounding the elections. What is the use, for example, of the government saying 45 parties will be participating in the elections when there are actually 60 parties???

It seems as if our understandable dislike for the CPDM pushes us to lose our rationality.

Njinja

THE MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTER OF TERRITORIAL ADMINISTRATION AND DECENTRALIZATION FACES THE PRESS
As part of the renovated form of Government communication, Mr MARAFA HAMIDOU YAYA, granted this Wednesday, 20 June 2007, in the Conference Hall of his Ministry, an important press briefing centred on the practical preparations of the upcoming 22 July legislative and municipal elections. You will find here attached the entire introductory remarks made by the Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation on this occasion.

The Minister of Communication,
Journalists,

Permit me to, first of all, welcome you to the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization. I would also like to thank you for your positive and massive response to this press conference.

As we all know, following Presidential Decree No. 2007/112 of 20 April 2007 to convene the electorate for the 22 July 2007 legislative and municipal elections, our country is, once more, moving towards a major political event. At the end of these elections, the National Assembly and municipal councils will be renewed.

Following this important presidential Decree and while waiting for the effective take-off of ELECAM, my ministry is still playing a transitory role in the practical organization of elections and, in accordance with the relevant legal provisions, two orders were signed last May 31, publishing the list of candidates retained for the twin elections.

This represents 1,302 (one thousand, three hundred and two) candidates running for the 180 (one hundred and eighty) seats at the National Assembly and 26,608 (twenty six thousand, six hundred and eight) posts in the municipal councils of our 360 (three hundred and sixty) councils. There are candidates from 45 (forty-five) political parties for legislative elections and from 33 (thirty-three) parties for municipal elections. Electoral disputes relating to this publication have already been cleared by the appropriate legal institutions and we do not need to make any particular comment about them, given that these have to do with irrevocable legal decisions.

The order determining the number of polling stations is ready and will be published at least 20 (twenty) days before polling day, in accordance with the regulations in force. May I inform you that, for the upcoming legislative and municipal elections, there are 21, 874 (twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four) polling stations distributed all over the national territory.

Before the beginning of the electoral campaigns scheduled for the days ahead, we deemed it necessary for us to meet so that, together, we could make a general appraisal solely on the practical preparations of these twin elections, which, in our opinion, are of major importance for the advancement of our democratic system.

At the end, this general appraisal will hopefully enlighten national and international opinion on the actions taken by the Government to ensure, for this occasion, truly free, transparent and democratic elections. This is a triple requirement that shows, it should be underscored here, the osmosis between the deep aspirations of Cameroonian citizens for more liberty on the one hand, and the commitment, constancy and determination of the President of the Republic, His Excellency PAUL BIYA, in transforming our country into a true democratic model, on the other.

Communication professionals,

The entire Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization is mobilized in preparation for the long-awaited elections.

Presently, we can let you know that, after the second publication of the temporary computerized electoral register and the petitions thereof, the final computerized electoral register has been consolidated. At the end of the last revision of the registers of electors, our electorate, henceforth, numbers 5, 004, 549 (five million four thousand five hundred and forty nine) electors as against 4, 700, 113 (four million seven hundred thousand one hundred and thirteen) electors previously. This final computerized electoral register will also be published in accordance with the law, 20 (twenty) days before the twin elections. This will be done through posting at sub-divisional offices and district services and on the website of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization.
Already, we can equally assure you that the computerized electoral registers will also be posted in all polling stations on the day of the twin elections.

May I add that the CALL CENTRE set up at the national site for the computerized management of electoral operations after the publication of the temporary computerized electoral register is still operational. It will provide all desirous electors information on their appropriate polling stations.

As concerns the computerized voters’ cards, they are already with the administrative authorities and their distribution has begun throughout the national territory, in accordance with the legal timeframe, that is to say, 40 (forty) days before the elections. We also seize this opportunity to call on all the regularly registered electors to mobilize for the collection of the said cards, which will be distributed under the supervision of the competent mixed commissions set up for this purpose in all constituencies.

Furthermore, considering the fact that we are preparing for twin elections, the Government ordered, in anticipation, a consignment of 27, 000 (twenty seven thousand) supplementary transparent ballot boxes. These will add to the first consignment of 25, 000 (twenty-five) transparent ballot boxes acquired in 2004 with the assistance of our foreign partners. The dispatch of the new transparent ballot boxes to the provinces is almost completed.

Similarly, all envelopes needed for the next legislative and municipal elections have already been printed and distributed all over the national territory. This is equally true of counting and result sheets. In the same vein, all the necessary accessories for the conduct of the elections such as indelible ink tubes, waste paper baskets, date stamps and inkpads are already in sub-divisional offices and district services.

Within the purview of the sensitization of electors, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization published various bilingual radio television commercials calling, from time to time, on potential electors to register, or showing how to vote. Two brochures have also been produced. One shows the applicable legal framework for the next elections and the other is a guide for the chairpersons and members of the local polling commissions.

Concerning campaign papers, their printing is even ending today for all the contesting political parties, in proportion to their number of candidates. Their distribution will be done immediately in order to enable the contesting political parties to have a hitch-free campaign when the time comes.

Regarding ballot papers, their printing is underway and their dispatch to the various constituencies will be carried out subsequently.

Without being comprehensive or restrictive, the actions we have just talked about, sufficiently prove that the Government has taken all the necessary measures to ensure that on 22 July, only the verdict of the ballot box should prevail. The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization is, therefore, preparing for the twin legislative and municipal elections in total calm and serenity. To this end, we are calling on all the stakeholders of the electoral process to adopt the required civic attitude that ensures free and fair elections.

Thank you for your kind attention. I am ready for your questions, if any.

Mbang John

Hey Justin,

Many of these parties are fronts for the CPDM. Why is the regime afraid of an Independent Electoral Commission?

Take propaganda #5 claiming that 52,000 ballot boxes will be used. That is a forward looking statement and not a material fact as CLAIMED by Dibussi. This kind of stuff does not fly with savvy Cameroonians. You cannot fool all the people.

Mr. E. Oben is wise in challenging uncritical consumption of CPDM propaganda wrapped up as Cameroon Tribune articles and rebroadcast by Dibussi. Many Cameroonians are no longer fools.

Justin

Do we all have the same understanding of what a word as simple as "fact" actually means? Are facts immutable? No!. Example - FACT: Elections will take place on July 22nd. That does not mean that the election date cannot be changed tomorrow! Facts simply describe things as they are now, especially when they concern future events.

Another example: Fact: 45 political parties are registered to take part in legislative elections. that is a fact today only 30 might actually participate in the end. Would that mean that today's fact was wrong? No!

The information in this posting contains accepted pre-election facts - facts accepted by all political parties, including the Cameroonian private press (Le Messager, The Post, Mutations, etc). Whether post-election facts turn out to be different, or whether the elections would be rigged (they will be!) is totally irrelevant to this discussion.

I think the problem here is not really with the information presented in this posting but with the fact that Dibussi committed a crime of lese majeste by referencing Cameroon Tribune. I am sure if he had referenced The Post, we wouldn't be having this discussion today.

From my perspective we need "Raw" facts such as these before we can make any credible pre or post elections analysis. Too much analysis chasing too few facts has been a large part of the problem with our democratization process.

So unless Mr. Oben and Mr. Mbang have facts to challenge what is found here, I think they are just lashing out in typical Cameroonian style...

Mbang John

Justin,

By failing to distinguish clearly the public statements of politicians from material facts, you inadvertently invest in a disability to censor politicians. This is the ill-fated phenomenon consuming the nation - the misguided deification of Government and public officials. Now, we have Dibussi's channel carrying unedited speeches of politicians in the manner of Radio Cameroun.

Justin, FACTS mean:

1. something that actually exists; reality; truth;
2. something known to exist or to have happened;
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true;
4. something said to be true or supposed to HAVE happened.

None of these standards matches Justin's explanation. In short, Justin may be just "lashing out in typical Cameroonian style" as if failure is inconsequential - a slippery slope to total confusion.

There is no room for mediocrity in public reporting. Many Cameroonians are increasing setting higher standards for themselves. Even the Post Newspaper has been censored on several ocassions by readers.

The pathetic failings and inabilities of this pre-independence born generation in power deserve total extinction.

Justin

Mr Mbang,

This is one of those discussions that can go on for ever because they are based on generalities. So let's end it all by making it specific. Five points (facts, lies, or whatever you call them) were listed in this article.

Can you simply go through each point and present the counter facts that you have unearthed? It is not enough to say since these facts come from the organ that organizes elections they are not true. without counter facts, then you are simply blowing the usual "opposition steam".

So tell us the following without making a speech:

How many candidates are registered for both elections?
How many parties are registered for the elections?
How many polling stations are there?
How many registered voters do we have?

If you can't answer those questions conclusively, then I will give the Minister the benefit of doubt - that is rational thinking and not deification; I can't deify a guy whose name I can't even remember.

BTW, if Tande had published these facts without mentioning the source, then there would have been a problem. However, because the Cameroon Tribune link is right there at the beginning of the article, it is clear to anyone that the facts are not his but from another source. In Cameroon you get official election statistics from either the government or from the opposition. Since the opposition has not challenged these figures since they were announced, they are fine by me. Unless you have info from a 3rd source....

I have been visiting this blog for close to six months now, and I have never heard a complaint that the blogger published information from another source without "cross checking", that is, until CT entered the mix. That is a double standard which borders on censorship because we are saying that we authorize him to reference any paper except Cameroon Tribune.

Mbang John

Justin,

You asked key questions! Now you may understand why the nation deserves an "Independent Electoral Commission". Set yourself a higher standard.

Neither Cameroon Tribune, the minister nor anyone can claim any facts on electoral statistics. Why is the CPDM scared of an IEC?

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