Low Turnout Frustrates Election In North West, South West Regions
Calls for a boycott of the February 9 local polls by the Interim Government of Ambazonia, and other Ambazonia leaders, fighting to restore the independence of former British colony, Southern Cameroons, were largely respected as polling stations remained scanty or deserted in some cases in the two Anglophone regions. Cosmetic measures put in place by the state and top personalities could only guarantee their safety and not that of the people concerned, reasons why many decided to stay at home. The Interim Government’s Communication Secretary Christopher Anu has told Voice of America, that it was a major victory for the Ambazonians.
But before the interview of Christopher Anu on VOA, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji, told the press in Yaounde on Sunday night that though they were some hitches observed, the polls took place as planned and that they are expecting results. “In all, 16,765 national and international observers witnessed the election, alongside 150 accredited journalists.” Atanga Nji revealed.
President Paul Biya after voting on Sunday in Yaounde told State media, CRTV, that the calls for boycott are coming from a “Minority political parties”, hence, it has no effect on the polls. The President further revealed that regional elections will hold in the near future, to polish Cameroon’s democratization process.
The head of Cameroons Election management body, ELECAM, Erik Essousse, has also said the all went well in all 10 regions. And contrary to declarations of the interior minister, the election boss said there were no hitches.
Ambazonia Fighters Mount RoadBlocks
Members of government and some political party leaders were opportune to be transported in armored cars and heavily guarded into election grounds but most places were deserted. Those who voted in Buea, Limbe, Kumba, Bamenda, Tiko, did so under tight security while separatist strongholds like Kumbo, Bafut, Batibo and some major towns were ‘out of bounds’. In Bafut subdivision, Mezam division in the North West region, two armored cars were bombarded with IED, while an armored car was attacked in Ekiliwindi, South West region.
Roadblocks were mounted, fire set on major road axis as locals remained indoors. The Ambazonians claim that over 98% of the people boycotted the polls.
Soldiers Drag Civilians To Polling Station
Hundreds were arrested in Bamali, Ndop in Ngoketundjia division, northwest region by soldiers, who forced the locals to cast their votes in polling stations randomly selected for them. From three corners to the Bamali Baptist Church, people were rounded-up and taken at gunpoint.
The same scenario was witnessed in Ntumbaw, a village in the Ndu subdivision, northwest region.
With the low turnout on Sunday’s polls, the leaders who will emerge from the exercise will be legally elected but will lack legitimacy throughout their term in office.
The Un Secretary-General recently called on the government of Cameroon to organize another dialogue which will have the Ambazonians on the same table. He lauded the initiative of October’s Major National Dialogue but said the results have not been up to the expectation of the international body.