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Cameroon Warns Opposition Parties Against Election Boycott

YAOUNDE VOA | Cameroon has warned opposition political parties against any acts that may jeopardize its local council and parliamentary elections in February. The warning comes after opposition party leader Maurice Kamto, who claims President Paul Biya stole last year’s October election, called for a boycott of the polls.

Cameroon territorial administration minister Paul Atanga Nji says the government will not tolerate any acts that disturb the free conduct of February’s local and parliamentary elections.

“Politicians specialized in hate speech, manipulation and provocation, as well as defiance of state authority should know that they will face the heavy arm of the law in case of any misconduct,” he said. “I want to make it very clear. Promoters of political parties will henceforth be held accountable in case of any disruption of public order related to political parties.”

Nji’s warning came after opposition leader Maurice Kamto at a Monday press conference announced a boycott of the February polls.

Kamto had planned to run for office but changed his mind and accused authorities of trying to destroy his party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM).

Kamto says he does not doubt that the objective of, what he calls, the illegitimate Yaounde regime, in collaboration with the ministry of territorial administration and the different state services, is to destroy the CRM party. He says they want to eliminate the party from the political map and terrorize the Cameroonian people to keep the ruling class in power.

Kamto accuses Nji of scheming with Cameroon’s elections management body (ELECAM) to fix last year’s presidential election to re-elect long-serving President Paul Biya.

The election authorities and Nji deny the polls were anything but free and fair.

Kamto said his boycott was based on electoral laws that favor Biya’s ruling party, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) and the ongoing separatist conflict.

His call for an election boycott received mixed views from opposition supporters like 30-year-old Justin Alega.

He says Kamto has betrayed his supporters and is plugging his political party into the group of losers. Because, when they are not represented at the national assembly, says Alega, they will no longer have a platform for their voices to be heard. He says if Kamto wants to change Cameroon’s laws he says are bad, he should do everything to be voted-in as a lawmaker.

31-year-old Kamto supporter Anabel Mbi, however, says he supports the decision to boycott the elections.

“There is no need going for an election when you know that your victory will be stolen and often when you protest you are arrested. This is dictatorship,” he says.

Political analyst at the University of Yaoundé Divine Kweh says the opposition MRC should fight for political change from within, as the new parliament’s mandate will last five years.

“The meaning is that for the next five years, MRC will only make their voices heard through street protests because they will not participate at decision-making circles directly,” says Kweh. “Kamto should have gone in for the elections and try to effect changes from within parliament.”

Kamto called on Monday for other opposition parties, civil society, and religious groups, to join in boycotting the elections.

Territorial Administration Minister Nji warned he would arrest Kamto, or anyone else, who staged unauthorized protests against the elections.

Kamto and more than 400 of his supporters spent nine months in prison for street protests over the October 2018 presidential election results.

Authorities released Kamto in October for a national dialogue on the separatist conflict in Cameroon. But he was banned from holding public events.

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  1. Same thing happened to Fru Ndi and up to today, he and his SDF party, have remained
    a laughing stock, boasting Biya / CPDM moral. CPDM fooled the SDF, by calling it the main
    oposition party and it fell for it and today, we all know how poorly it can perform. Now,
    it is time to fool the MRC party to Biya`s advantage. No party, can ever fight the cpdm
    from within or without. To beat the cpdm, only a forcefull removal from office, like in
    Zimbabwe, is the magic wand. But the dumb military in Cameroon, can not do that. It
    lacks the basics, to run a country effectively.

    • I kind of get your point. The reality in Zimbabwe is that the military only intervened to forestall Grace Mugabe presidential ascension but they ensured the Vice President of Zanu Party became president & this happened in the twilight of Mugabe’s years. Credit would be due had it happened earlier on. In Cameroon, the same drama may occur as an already infirmed & visibly moribund Biya clings on to his last stretch of his REGIME.
      The truth is Atanga Nji & other kowtowers of Biya know how destructive rigging elections to ensure one party rule is to Cameroon. They hate the idea of democracy & choose to ignore practical cases of which dictatorship transformed to Democracy and better governance than Cameroon; Nigeria, Ghana, S. Leone, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal. For power, they will invite chaos.

    • President Paul Biya’s greatest wish has always been to be remembered as the one who brought multi-party democracy to Cameroon. Will he get his life’s wish?

      Well, he entered the scene at the point of one-party (CNU) rule. First he changed the CNU into CPDM in Bamenda. Under world pressure he bowed to multi-party democracy.

      But it was a poisoned gift!!! Using Gilbert Andze Tchoungui, the Minister of Territorial Administration as the key to the new experiment, he authorized persons to form rival political parties. First the condition was to have parties with a national spread. Then policy shrewdly changed to allow even parties that had only husband and wife as members. In Minister Tchoungui’s calculation, in any election the CPDM would stand like an elephant over the midgets. And so it

      • came to pass. The SDF, UPC, UNDP, PAP, ADD, and lately MRC were knocked out of action by the elephant. 37 years down the road, did the Lion Man get his most cherished wish?

  2. Whenever an ex-convict, school dropout and murderer begins to publicly threaten a world-renowned law professor, you know the country is already a FAILED STATE.
    Paul Atanga Nji could NEVER EVER have become a Minister of Interior in a country where the rule of law prevails.
    Dictator Biya has indeed destroyed the ISLAND OF PEACE he inherited on a platter of gold.

    Sad, very sad indeed!!!

  3. Which electoral laws is he talking about? He is a lawyer ,he can explain .

  4. What a joke.. On the contrary, i think he should be encouraging people to come out in their numbers, VOTE for the opposition and take control of the national assembly. The trip to Etoudi could start from regional and municipal elections. This man is a clown.. Boycott for what reaons? What then happens after the boycott? Cameroon doesn’t even have an opposition party thats ready to convince the public to unit against the CPDM. Until then, Uncle kamto should go get some rest and work on a strategy that will be appealing nationwide..

  5. They had an opportunity several times to unite and make it difficult for the despot to rig but “me alone” mentality consumes them and the infidel easily rigs.
    Last year was an opportunity for Kamto, Osih & Cabral to unit amidst the crisis. The world was waiting but these knuckleheads failed again thinking individually they would beat the Beti monster who apparently lost but easily rigged like he did against the SDF many times. The whole nation would’ve been behind them and the dotard would’ve been in jail by now.

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