October 28, 2011
ELECAM Admits Shortcomings, Promises Better
The Board Chair of Cameroon’s elections management body, ELECAM, Dr. Samuel Fonkam Azu’u, has admitted that there were a lot of shortcomings in the October 9 presidential poll. Dr. Fonkam Azu’u admitted that multiple registrations, possession of more than one voter’s card by some voters, and appearance of names of dead people on the electoral registers were some of the problems they identified at the election.
The ELECAM Chair made the statement at the Yaounde Mont Febé Hotel, October 25, while responding to questions from the press, shortly before the start of the 4th ordinary session of ELECAM for 2011. He disclosed that the session was meant for the Electoral Board members to examine and adopt both the recurrent budget and that for 2012 elections, amongst others.
On the numerous criticisms against ELECAM on shortcomings observed during the October 9 Presidential poll, Fonkam said; “As a new body, we succeeded in organising the election on schedule and that international observers agreed on the fact that we were able to conduct the election in peace, calm and serenity”. Rhetorically asking whether people wouldn’t have protested if ELECAM did not do even the minimum required of them, the ELECAM Board Chair stated that, since the advent of multi-party politics in Cameroon, things have not always happened in serenity.
“But that apart, I have indicated that we are conscious [of the shortcomings] and we have started doing the autopsy. We are not in the least complacent because we do not think that we have done the best we could have. But I have pointed out also that, nowhere in the world, are elections organised without some hitches. We have seen this even in the most advanced democracies; for example, in Great Britain, the USA and you name the rest,” Fonkam argued.
Recounting that he has also observed elections in many countries in Africa and beyond, Fonkam stated that, “there are certain problems you cannot forestall… Because we are in the political domain; they are people who would want to take shortcuts in order to have the results they desire. We have done the autopsy and we are going to take necessary measures to correct some of the hitches which occurred. Some of them due to the fact that we did not have enough time,” he told the press.
On what ELECAM intends to do concretely to handle the shortcomings, considering that Parliamentary and Municipal elections are due next year, Fonkam noted that, “there are electoral registers on which we identified multiple registrations.” He, however, maintained that in countries such as Ghana and South Africa that are always cited as good examples, there are also multiple registrations on their electoral registers.
“But what is important is what is being done to clean it up. When cards are being issued, there is the possibility that people could have more than one voter’s cards. We have talked about this lengthily, in meetings with electoral stakeholders. So, we must do everything to clean up the electoral registers,” he promised. On the issue of names of dead people found on electoral registers, Fonkam described the problem as a systemic one.
“We don’t have a civil status registry on which we can rely to have information about the dead. Cameroonians don’t have the habit of declaring the dead and not everybody even declares births. The method we are using is to pass around hospitals from time to time to get information on the dead,” he disclosed.
Promising the determination of ELECAM to get an efficient method of distributing voter’s cards, Fonkam admitted that it was one of the major problems they had during the October 9 election, especially in big towns. According to Fonkam, the criticisms they are receiving, especially from some media organs, is not a sign of hatred of ELECAM, but rather a desire by Cameroonians for them to do better. He said the positive things they are doing should also be highlighted.
Article source The Post