Elections in Cameroun are fashioned after the Soviet module. When the administration is not creating election results years before the elections actually happen, the Minister of Territorial Administration is doctoring the books before, during and after the elections to give some semblance of respectability to the voter turnout and the actual results.
Ethnic cleansing of known opposition names from the voter’s register is the key parameter of election fraud in Cameroun.
Manipulation of voters register to exclude opposition luminaries especially Southern Cameroonians because they systematically vote against the regime, creation of bogus registers; registration of sympathizers in hideouts; refusal to give Southern Cameroonians voting cards; registration of sympathetic foreigners; refusal to publish voter’s registers; stuffing ballot boxes; demanding that known or suspected opposition hands produce birth certificate, bank statements, driving licenses, residence permits, ID cards before voting contrary to the law; sending the voting cards and registers of known opposition members to wrong polling stations; ferrying supporters to vote left, right and center; allowing children to vote; releasing voting cards of the ruling to militants days ahead of the election for ballot box stuffing, refusal to produce indelible ink; multiple voting; confiscating ballot boxes; corrupting voters; creating shortages of opposition ballot papers; buying votes; selling votes; using state resources to campaign; hijacking the public media; disqualifying lists of opponents; creating ghost polling stations; proclaiming phony results; creating phony result sheets; canceling opposition votes; announcing phony results of past elections; creating an Election Observatory to…observe the rigging etc. Gerrymandering and inventing bogus constituencies. Doctoring all the laws governing elections, and now, creating a CPDM-sub-section with Ruling party apparatchiks in charge called Elecam to manage the rigging.
The very character of the Camerounese political orchestration makes it clear that every election-heisting is faithfully executed either at the behest of the strongman or for the benefit of the strongman.
Small wonder, Mr. Biya maintains a tight-control of the institutions and processes that organize execute and adjudge on elections in Cameroun.
Those who rig elections do so for the superadded attractive influence of either being maintained in their positions or for the possibility of being co-opted and accommodated by the system.
All appointments into the frontline ministry of territorial administration , the Ministry of Justice, the former National Elections Observatory—NEO or ONEL—and now the so-called independent electoral commission, Elections Cameroun or Elecam are done by the president.
Resultantly, every election time, the regime ingenious warlords ‘bribe, they threaten, they issue veiled and real threats, they loot, they embezzle ballot papers and boxes, they ransack polling stations, they exploit, they pilfer, they shake down, they play bilkers tunes on ballot boxes, they brought in muscle, even the prime minister bought and sold votes—when he was not hightailing down a Victoria street with ballot boxes that is, etc.’ In fact, they regime and its ingenious warlords did everything a president and his party has to do to be world champions in election fraud.
The Ministry of Territorial Administration (hitherto called the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization) organizes elections in Cameroun. This office functions in the true pattern of a one-party state, Stalinist module. It fabricates election results years ahead of the elections, which results (in favour of the state party) are released after the elections to be confirmed by the Supreme Court. Before multipartism, the administration within the single party simply prepared election results years ahead. Those results systematically awarded 99.99% to the ruling party.
The president’s control over the electoral process is so tight-fisted that the man is not beyond reshuffling and re-deploying the entire grassroots organs of the Ministry of Territorial Administration which ministry has always is in charge of the organization of elections in Cameroun.
During these routine pre-elections appointments administrators suspected to be hostile to the regime are redeployed to regime strongholds where the spotlight would be on them in case of attempts at mischief.
The Supreme Court, whose head is the president of the state party and Head of State, has never been known to challenge even the most glaring evidential of electoral fraud.
The Supreme Court always rubber-stamps the results as tabled by Territorial Administration . In all fairness to the Supreme Court, electoral law states clearly that the Supreme Court is there to proclaim the results: proclaim and nothing else.
What is overwhelming is the president’s desire to control every step of the electoral process. The man single-handedly tailor-makes the law to suit him, he creates all the institutions to handle the process and he appoints only his trusted cronies to man the process. What is underwhelming, however, the fact that stakeholders outside the president’s chain of command believe that this system can be beaten.
Resultantly despite the country’s multiparty system of government, the Cameroun People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) has remained in power since it inherited the structures and militants of the Cameroun National Union in 1985. Since the return of multiparty in Cameroun in 1990, elections in Cameroun have always been flawed by irregularities, particularly in the voter registration process.
In an article, Biya’s Democracy or an Exercise in Fraud published by the New York Times on February 14, 2005, Times Staff Writer, Ken Silverstein proffered some disturbing insight into the magnitude of election fraud during the 2004 elections. Ken Silverstein reveals that even the so-called International Observers who witnesses the elections had their palms greased.
Ken Silverstein writes, ‘When the strongman who has ruled the West African country of Cameroun for more than 20 years swept to another election victory last fall, a number of even the casual observers quickly questioned the process.’
International monitors led by a former Canadian prime minister said they had no confidence in the voter registration lists. Roman Catholic Cardinal Christian Tumi of Cameroun said the election, like all others in his country, was ‘surrounded by fraud.’