Board members of Elections Cameroon have met in Yaounde for their second ordinary session, amid unending calls from the ruling party to bring forward the 2018 presidential election.
No details emerged of the board’s discussions on the 8th Floor of Mont Febe Hotel last Thursday. A statement at the end of the meeting contained mainly highlights of the agenda.
Nonetheless, the director of election’s office disclosed in separate documents that the body had registered 227,613 voters in April, nearly three times more than it did at the same time last year, when 87,281 people signed up for a voter’s card.
The updated register, from which Elecam deleted dead people and multiple entries , is nonetheless still a million people shot of the 7.2 million people who registered ahead of the 2011 presidential election.
Right now, Elecam has a list of more than six million likely voters, and the number is likely to rise sharply with a new mass registration campaigns planned throughout May. It will target professionals in the communication, transport, agriculture, livestock, postal, health and education sectors.
Registration on the voter register has climbed slowly since the first multicandidate election in 1992, during which a little under 4.2 million people registered. General apathy kept the roll around five million until the 2011 jump.
Multiple elections will take place in 2018. However, members of the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) continued urging president Paul Biya last week to bring forward the presidential election.
Biya has not commented on the likelihood of an early vote but senior members of his party, including ministers and lawmakers have either joined or championed the call.
It remained a speculation after the government in March failed to table a constitutional amendment bill in parliament to make the change in electoral calendar possible.
Many in Yaoundé now believe an extra-ordinary sitting of the National Assembly and Senate could be called before the next ordinary session in June to take care of the matter.
Opponents of the move have denounced it as nothing short of gamesmanship that will only favour a few within the ruling party to the detriment of national interest.
Elecam appears to be taking steps to get maximum turnout, whatever the eventuality.