The Director General of elections at the election management body, Election Cameroon, ELECAM, Dr Erik Essousse has said, for municipal councillors to seek election to be regional councillors, they must resign from their previous position.
The ELECAM boss made the observation in an incisive interview granted the state media on the specificities of the first ever regional election in Cameroon. The interview was aired Sunday September 13. He also touched on key issues such as the composition of lists, respect for sociological component among other provisions of the electoral code.
Municipal Updates herein publishes for the information need of its ever increasing readers the content of the educative and timely outing from the top ELECAM official. Read on…
People have been asking questions. Who is eligible to run for the election of regional councilors in Cameroon?
The first aspect is that each Cameroonian can leverage within the divisions but only that he has to be presented by his party.
Now for the traditional rulers, they have to be presented by the best. That is to say that they are to be promulgated by the authority which have that competence such as the Senior Divisional Officer, the ministry of Territorial Administration or the Prime Minister according to the degree.
We are talking about traditional rulers. A lot of Cameroonians are asking who is who among traditional rulers? How many traditional rulers could be eligible to run?
We’re working with the Ministry of Territorial Administration because it is the Ministry of Territorial Administration that gives the list. But what I can tell you is if we’ve seen the figures, there are about 15000 who are recognised. Now we are to see if all those who are promulgated are in the role. The traditional rulers and families must be recognised. They shouldn’t be created now. You can’t be a traditional ruler in the West and at the same time a ruler in littoral or Centre region. You’re only one.
Some municipal councilors have been asking questions. Is a municipal councillor eligible to run for the election of regional councillor?
It is possible but they have to choose when you’re elected because you can’t be here and there. But I think that this is a problem that will be solved by the parties because the parties will present their candidates.
We also have traditional rulers who are municipal councillors. What happens in this case?
Yes, but they will have to choose because they can’t be here and there.
We are told that members of the electoral college have to be given some special voter cards. Will this cards be issued to those who have not yet registered to vote?
No. The candidates have to be on the list.
To vote, they have to be in the roll. That is the law. You can’t vote if you’re not in the roll.
ELECAM has had to reject some lists. Do you foresee a list being rejected this time?
According to the law there are two aspects: Sociological and gender aspects. They have to respect all the sociological components. If they have not done so, the list can be rejected.
Now, for the gender, for the women, there is a percentage that they have to respect and when they don’t do that, they can reject but we see that more and more political parties are putting efforts to fulfill this.
But the legislator is not very specific about the quota for Women?
For the Parliament for now, the quota is 31%, for the mayors we’re at 26%, so it is promising.
Take the case for instance of regional representative for a division like Wouri that has 36. Women must be what number?
At least 30%.
Are we talking here only about the list for the divisional representatives or with the traditional rulers?
For the traditional rulers, we know that there are no many women who are traditional rulers. So I don’t know what they can do.
They are some conflicts and that we are going to solve progressively when we meet in the electoral board. So we can study the candidates one by one according to the law or the context.
What special measure is ELECAM thinking of to ensure that the elections will be conducted hitch free in conflict zones?
We are working with the security forces, political parties, civil societies and so we gather all those forces to organise the election in the conflict zones as we did for the presidential elections.
We are talking about the achievement of ELECAM as far as the organisation of elections is concerned. Is there any mistake ELECAM has made during previous elections which you’re thinking of correcting this time?
I think that we have to correct program of trainings. You know that the elections are very complex, so we have to train our personnel and all the persons who are dealing with polling stations.
We have to train them to know how to conduct the election in polling stations and how to fill the reports which contains the results.
You know that this is a key point. We are to put all our capacities to improve the effectiveness of all persons in the polling stations.
We have done it for the previous elections and we have gotten good results and we will continue to do that.
Regional elections are taking place for the very first time. Isn’t that a challenge for you because it’s like everybody is in school as there are many stakeholders who may not know some key aspects about the regional elections?
Each election is special. You can say that because I succeeded in the last, I will equally succeed in this one. So we have to be very attentive for each situation so that we check all aspects of the process from the beginning to the publication of the results at the regional commission where we have to be very careful with to follow step by step.
I think that is how we succeeded in the past elections.
You talked about the ELECAM staff who will be involved in the different polling operations. This week, you took part in an event in Yaounde and emphasis was laid on women to be more active in the elections What is going to change at that level?
I think that we continue every time to improve our capacity and the seminar is there to help us improve the capacity of our personnel and I think it will be good that way.
Are you going to recruit more Women?
No. At ELECAM, we take the figures and they reveal that women are more than men. So I don’t think that will be necessary to repeat that. But if the budget gives us the capacity, we can do that.
Any special message to the other stakeholders?
The message is that we continue to collaborate. The media should do their job well, the civil societies and electors. All those I think are key organs and if all play their role well, we expect everything to be very good.