Against popular expectations, President Biya has billed senatorial elections for Sunday, April 14. Biya made the announcement in a Presidential decree that was broadcast on State radio on Wednesday, February 27. Biya surprised the nation by deciding to organize senatorial elections before municipal elections.
He also made nonsense of the appeal of the leading opposition Chieftain, SDF Chairman, John Fru Ndi, that it was logical for municipal and parliamentary elections to be organised first.
The announcement means that the ruling party will carry the day since the Electoral College for the senatorial election is made up of councilors. In the 2007 council elections, the CPDM emerged with a controversial majority of councils following reports that the polls were heavily rigged.
The news of the election was broken after Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, had convened Fru Ndi and some other political leaders to give them the information before it could be announced.
But Fru Ndi told journalists at his Yaounde Omnisport residence that the Prime Minister did not have the opportunity to break the scoop to them given that before they arrived at the Star Building, the State radio had already broken the news. He said, while traveling from Bamenda Wednesday morning, he delayed at Obala because he was involved in an accident.
Fru Ndi said a motorcyclist who was carrying one person suddenly bumped into his car. The motorcyclist and his passenger died on the spot, Fru Ndi narrated. “That is what delayed me and before I went to the Prime Minister’s Office, the radio had broken the news,” he said. Reacting to the convening of the electorate, Fru Ndi still repeated what he had said several times before: “The SDF will not allow senatorial elections to hold before municipal elections.”
He said if senatorial elections are predicated on the present councilors whose mandate had long expired, it will not have any iota of legitimacy. To him, the 2007 municipal elections were heavily rigged in favour of the ruling CPDM party. He said all the stakeholders were unanimous that the election which was organised by the defunct National Elections Observatory, NEO, was a total mess.
To Fru Ndi, even President Biya, in tandem, with all other stakeholders admitted that the 2007 polls were heavily flawed. Fru Ndi warned that the senatorial elections will not be organised in the present situation if Biya does not sit down with him to explain on what logic he convened the electorate under such messy conditions.
Asked what he would do if Biya ignores his threats, Fru Ndi retorted: “I and SDF militants will sharpen our machetes and come out for a full-blown onslaught to stop the election.” Fru Ndi said, while he was looking for every means for Cameroon to remain peaceful, Biya was instead looking for all avenues to provoke a civil war.
He warned that by convening the electorate for senatorial elections against popular opinion that municipal elections be organised first, Biya was pushing Cameroonians to the wall. With their backs on the wall, they will be forced to fight back, he said. Meanwhile, the councilors that make up the Electoral College for the elections are predominantly CPDM. Following the current dispensation, only a few parties would be involved in the senatorial elections.
The ruling CPDM party has 300 out of 360 councils. The opposition parties have 60 as follows: the Social Democratic Front, SDF- 18, the National Union for Democracy and Progress, NUDP-11 and shares some 9 councils with the CPDM, the Cameroon Democratic Union- 8, the Movement for the Defense of the Republic MDR- 5, the Union des Population du Cameroun, UPC- 2 councils and others.
Although there are conflicting statistics as to the number of councils that each party won in 2007, it is clear that the CPDM has some 10,632 councilors while the SDF has 801. NUDP of Bello Bouba Maigari has 389 councilors. From this premise, it is clear that the CPDM will have an overwhelming majority in the Upper House of Parliament.
According to varsity don and political scientist, Dr. Mathias Owona Nguini, it will be the worst thing to happen because the present councilors were elected in the 2007 municipal elections that were heavily flawed. The election, he said, was fraught with irregularities and widespread rigging in favour of the ruling CPDM. It was due to such rigging that the Supreme Court ordered for a rerun of the polls in certain areas.
One of the areas where a rerun took place was the Lobo Council in the Lekie Division of the Centre Region. Partial elections were equally organised in Douala II, Bafang, Mogode, Matomb, Pette and Mesondo councils. Due to its sophisticated rigging machinery, CPDM still carried the day at the end of the exercise. There is evidence that the opposition parties going in for the race will face a crushing defeat from the CPDM.
For one thing, the law governing the organisation of senatorial elections empowers the President of the Republic to appoint 30 percent of the senators. This means that Biya will appoint 30 out of the 100 senators that will make up the Upper House of Parliament as provided for by the 1996 constitution.
By virtue of last Wednesday’s Presidential decree, campaigns for the senatorial elections will begin on March 30. Candidates for the election have to pay a caution fee of FCFA one million. According to another Presidential decree, each member of the electorate will be paid FCFA 50,000 allowance on Election Day.
- I Will Run For Senatorial Election – Fru Ndi (lebs295.wordpress.com)