October 09, 2011
Cameroon accredits record number of observers for presidential election
Six thousand observers have been accredited to participate in Sunday’s presidential election in Cameroon.
According to a senior official in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Mr Jean Claude Tchewa, the observers include those from the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the British and Canadian High Commissions in Cameroon, Transparency International and the National Episcopal Conference. The Commonwealth delegation of six is headed by Frederick Mitchell, former Foreign minister of the Bahamas.
Their mandate, according to the organisation’s secretary-general, Dr Kamalesh Sharma, is to “observe the election preparations, the voting process, the counting and declaration of results and the overall environment of the election”.
According to Mr Hilaire Kamga, an election observation expert and leader of local NGO Offre Orange, international observers usually bring credibility to elections than their national counterparts.
He, however, complained that “people close to the government have in the past imported fake international observers to come and lend credibility to badly organised elections as was the case in 1997”.
Offre Orange has been accused by the government of colluding with the Americans to use the election as an excuse to foment trouble in the country, a charge it denies.
The observers have been handed a code of conduct in which the wish is expressed that their presence during the election and “their objective and balanced reports would contribute, on the one hand, in consolidating Cameroon’s democracy and, on the other, instil a culture of accepting the verdict of the polls”.
Article source Africa Review