Thursday, 4 October 2018

Opposition Candidates Drawing Feet for Coalition against President Paul Biya

As the countdown to the October 7 presidential election narrows, with candidates criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country to campaign for votes, pressure is mounting on opposition candidates to form a coalition against incumbent, President Paul Biya. 

The media and main stream media have been inundated by calls for the opposition candidates to come together in a coalition, which, many, political pundits say, “is the only way to oust the current regime”.

Social media users in particular, in and out of the country, have been calling for an opposition coalition as the only means to defeat the ruling CPDM party. 
Maurice Kamto
The calls have urged the opposition candidates to put aside their ideological differences “for the sake of the people”, with Joshua Osih, Akere Muna, Maurice Kamto, Cabral Libii topping the list of those to form the coalition. The calls began to make waves a couple of days ago when Cameroonian Grammy award-winning musician, Richard Bona, wrote an open letter to the opposition leaders. “…put your differences aside, and cast a UNITED front work for the people,” Richard Bona wrote on his Facebook timeline. 
The artist, who is a staunch critic of the ruling party, then went on to say such a force would be unstoppable. Similar statements and open letters have also come from several other social media users both in and out of the country, with most directed to the aforementioned candidates. Another letter from Buea-based blogger, Arrey Bate, called for the opposition to nominate one leader whom amongst other things, will be “ready to annihilate the practices of corruption, bad governance, dictatorship, and form a platform for citizen participation in their own governance…”

In the meantime, diaspora based civil society actors have waded in, calling on challengers of incumbent candidate, Paul Biya, to “harness their forces behind a common candidate to increase their chances of victory”. The group, 237votes CAC or Cameroon Alliance for Coalition, held simultaneous demonstrations, September 28 in Yaounde, Douala, Garoua and Ngaoundere to drum calls on the eight opposition candidates to pull their weight together. “We have met and engaged all eight opposition candidates and their surrogates in all regions of Cameroon,” Sylvie Bello, CAC partner and communication consultant, is quoted as having said. She said all the candidates gave their verbal consent to the venture though up till the week-end, one week to October 7 vote, that was yet to happen. Bello said their organization was further bolstered in their campaign after reading an article titled “Opposition Alliance This Weekend Or No More” by Franklin Sone Bayen which, said, captured the essence of their campaign. 

The article was published on websites and on social media only hours before their nationwide demonstrations.

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