Jun 2018

In a premonitory declaration of 2017 entitled “CRM and the people of Cameroon say NO to electoral shift in elections expected in 2018!“, in which I quoted a passage from my address to Cameroonians of December 29, 2016, I said: “The year 2017 is the last turn before the crucial electoral year of 2018. Indeed, the year 2018 will see the organisation of senatorial election in April, legislative and municipal elections in September and presidential election in October. To these elections, one could add, if the electoral calendar was not considered a state secret by the power, regional elections. This very busy schedule calls for rigorous government organisation and planning in terms of both financial resources and project management. Without attributing any intention whatsoever to the Government, the CRM considers that it is very important to maintain the electoral calendar. It will reject, with utmost energy, any change of this calendar for any reason whatsoever. Neither the war against Boko Haram in May 2014, nor the instrumentalisation of a possible electoral reform at the last moment, nor budgetary issues will justify such a shift against which the CRM warns the Government one year before. The Government must therefore implement everything during this year 2017, in order to settle details of all kinds for the successful preparation and organisation of all the elections scheduled for 2018.”

I went on to say that: “Despite these warnings, the government is currently manoeuvring to postpone the long-awaited elections in our country in 2018. Its strategists want to put forward specious arguments about the security and financial resources that the CRM has been constantly rejecting for more than a year, to try to extend their stay in power, beyond presidential, senatorial, legislative and municipal terms. They also want to use the same arguments to delay the organisation of regional elections, without which regional councils provided for by the Constitution twenty years ago, and never put in place, will remain a political mirage for Cameroonians.”

Our fears, which some felt at the time unfounded, have been confirmed since June 13, 2018. Is the correspondence supposedly signed by the Head of State, Paul BIYA, and circulating on social networks, not ultimately an additional manoeuvre of panicked power? Indeed, the mobilisation of the CRM, which engages militants in the field, in the ten regions of the country and in the diaspora, has recently reached an intensity that any objective observer can attest, the chaos created in the North-West and South-West regions of the country by a useless war and more generally the terrible record of president Paul BIYA and the CPDM are causing the regime to fear a certain electoral defeat.

Insofar as this correspondence can be a political manoeuvre, I call on those responsible for the basic structures of the CRM to remain vigilant and to intensify the preparation of all elections scheduled for this year, until the adoption of laws or decrees formally postponing them. To this end, I urge all comrades to remain focused on our political objectives for this year 2018. They must therefore speed up the preparation of lists and applications packages for various elections.

If the correspondence in question was authentic, the consultation of the president of the Senate by the President of the Republic on the possibility of a postponement of the legislative elections initially scheduled in September 2018, behind which we can also see the project of postponing the municipal elections, would be the proof of what the CRM has been denouncing since its creation: the instrumentation of the electoral calendar by the president Paul BIYA and his party the CPDM in order to stay in power. The confiscation of the electoral calendar by the sole president of the CPDM, president of the Republic, Paul BIYA, is, as everyone can see it for almost forty years, one of the unrepublican “little secrets” of the capture of power.

When, in addition to an electoral code designed in his favour and that of his party, one has the power to decide alone the political calendar for competitions in which one is engaged oneself as well as one’s own political party, one can afford to declare that “He who stays long in power is not he who wants, but who can!”

Whether the above-mentioned correspondence is authentic or simply a political manoeuvre of the regime, it reveals in the eyes of foreign partners and observers, the conception that President Paul BIYA and his regime have of democracy. This conception does not accept free, fair and transparent elections, let alone democratic power change.

The CRM strongly condemns the idea of a postponement at the last minute of the legislative elections, even though President Paul BIYA, during his2017 end-of-year message, hammered that all the elections scheduled for 2018 will take place, that under his instructions the budget of the year 2018 took into account all the polls of the electoral calendar with a budget line which went from 30 billion to 50 billion, and that at the opening of the parliamentary session of June 2018 the Speaker of the National Assembly also reiterated that the scheduled elections will be held on a timely basis.

Whatever the final outcome of this correspondence, probably from the President of the Republic, the CRM reminds Cameroonians to turn out massively and register on the ELECAM electoral roll for the remaining few days before the convening of the electorate, so that, together, we can succeed, through the ballot box, in the scoring of the PENALTY that history has offered to our people who have been struggling with the Paul BIYA – CPDM regime for decades in a social and economic gruelling battle that has now affected the security sphere.

Maurice KAMTO

National President

Yaoundé June 26, 2018