Friday, 5 October 2018

Fear Of Repression Looms Over Voters Before Cameroon'S 2018 Presidential Poll

Separatists in English-speaking regions vow to boycott presidential election, after months of worsening violence. Many Cameroonians face being unable to vote in the country’s election on Sunday because of insecurity and fear driven by worsening violence in its anglophone regions.

Paul Biya, the 85-year-old who has ruled Cameroon since 1982, looks set to capitalise on a divided opposition to easily win his fifth election since reluctantly adopting a multiparty system in 1992.

Separatists in the English-speaking regions have announced a boycott of the poll, and many voters there have said they are too scared to go to the polls. At least 400 civilians have been killed in unrest in the past year, and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

“Who can vote when our brothers are dying? How can we even vote, when you don’t know how safe it will be?” asked Chimene Ngum, a 23-year-old student in Bamenda, capital of the anglophone Northwest region.

The rebellion that erupted in the country’s two anglophone regions was triggered by the violent repression of a peaceful protest a year ago, after lawyers complained that magistrates were being appointed to their courts despite their poor English. It spread to the regions’ teachers and students, then activists symbolically declared the two anglophone regions the independent republic of Ambazonia.
Fear Of Repression Looms Over Voters Before Cameroon'S 2018 Presidential Poll
For years, anglophones have felt deliberately sidelined and neglected, their infrastructure left to crumble. Last year, for instance, Biya’s home region was allocated almost twice the money that the anglophone regions got combined, the public investment budget shows, despite their vital importance to Cameroon’s economy. Much of the country’s oil production is off the coast of the Southwest region, and onshore are its biggest cocoa-growing areas.

Biya was due to visit Buea, the Southwest regional capital, on Wednesday for a rally, but called off his trip at the last minute after the “Amba boys”, as the forces of the Ambazonian separatists are known, issued more threats. It would have been the first trip he has made to the anglophone regions since 2014, in which time he has spent at least 260 days on private trips abroad, many to Geneva.

Teachers who were bussed into a heavily securitised Buea to participate in the ruling party’s rally said they were threatened that there would be consequences if they did not attend. Meanwhile, gunfights broke out between Ambazonian and Cameroonian forces in villages near the city.

It is unclear how many of the 4000 polling stations due to open in the anglophone regions will function on Sunday, though some are determined to cast their ballots.

“I am going to the polls this Sunday, despite the fact that our brothers don’t want us to. They should understand that this is the only way we can get the change we want,” said Judith Mafor, a supporter of the main opposition party. “We have tried with guns and this has taken us to the graves and to the bushes.”

Others said they would not risk voting and described feeling powerless.
“We vote all the time and the outcome remains the same,” said Josephine Ngum, a tailor from Bamenda. “Why do I have to vote again? In a country where real democracy is instituted, when someone’s term of office is over, he steps down for another person to take over. This is not the case with Cameroon.”

Chimene Ngum said she didn’t even have a voter’s card. “Even if I had one, I wouldn’t vote because the results would still be the same. Paul Biya always wins,” she said.

After Robert Mugabe’s fall from power last year, Biya took up the mantle of being Africa’s oldest president, making Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, 74, and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, 75, seem young.

Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang, 76, currently holds the title for the longest-serving president in Africa, having ousted his uncle in a military coup in 1979. Biya, who rules his cocoa and oil-producing country essentially by decree, is second.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our reporting as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. We do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Soiurce -

Copyright © Africa 24 News. All rights reserved. Distributed by Africa Metro Global Media ( To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, Click Here.

Africa 24 News publishes around multiple reports a day from more than 40 news organizations and over 100 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which Africa 24 News does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify Africa 24 News as the publisher are produced or commissioned by Africa 24 News. To address comments or complaints, Please Contact Us.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *