Cameroon: CPDM fear safety during presidential Campaigns in the North West Region.
The Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Movement party CPDM which has been the ruling party in the country for the past 35 years is currently facing its worst challenge in the English Speaking regions of the Country as Presidential elections approach on October 7, 2018.
The Anglophone regions of the Republic of Cameroon have been in a socio-political crisis since November 2016 which has led to war between government military forces and armed separatists fighters who do not want to set eyes on top government officials in their regions. Given that about 95% of top government officials in Cameroon are members of the ruling CPDM party under the leadership of President Paul Biya, those from the Anglophone regions have become targets to the separatist fighters as they blame the CPDM regime of Mr. Biya for plunging the Anglophones into a biased system of governance.
This has made separatist fighters who are fighting for what they call the liberation of Anglophone Cameroonians and the restoration of the statehood of Southern Cameroons Ambazonia. They are thus bent that there will be no elections in their part of the country coupled to the enormous damage they have caused the economy of the entire country by putting economic activities at a standstill as well as grounding schools for the past two years.
Meeting in Bamenda at the conference hall of Ayaba Hotel on Saturday, August 18, 2018, the Northwest CPDM elite led by the North West permanent representative to the central committee Philemon Yang who doubles as the PM of the country, accompanied by Atanga Nji Paul, the country’s minister of territorial administration and all section presidents, mayors parliamentarians and other big wigs of the party to brainstorm on safe campaign strategies for the upcoming presidential elections on October 7, 2018, the party big wigs of the hostile North West region of Cameroon brainstormed on safe campaign strategies for forthcoming presidential elections.
Brainstorming in all sincerity and speaking the truth more than ever before away from the ears and recorders of pressmen, the CPDM big wigs examined all possibilities of having a successful presidential election campaign in the North West region without facing hostilities from the hands of the more than ever determined self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia fighters who have succeeded in making so many parts of the region ungovernable even by military force.
It is worth noting that about 90% of the over 120 participants at the meeting cannot go back to their divisions of origin for fear of being kidnapped by Amba fighters. Those who dare to go only do so in disguise or under heavy military escort and dare not spend the night.
Considering that the Amba fighters are highly against the regime for which these CPDM bigwigs work and dine with, this elite class is wondering how they will stand to start telling their kinsmen, women, and youths to give Paul Biya another chance to rule the country for another seven years to clock 43years of continues leadership at the helm of the country. They are wondering if they have even bought their own heads to be able to buy that of Paul Biya and their brainstorming has landed them on only one conclusion.
They are determined to depend on heavy military protection to do a few campaign gatherings in safer areas like Bamenda town where it is easier to be properly protected and are not very sure of areas like Batibo, Bafut, and Belo where things are dangerously deadly even for the same military personnel that is supposed to protect them.
However, some militants are determined to vote so long as they are offered military protection to and from the polling station.
At the end of the meeting that took over six hours of serious brainstorming, some worries filtered out from the lips of truly scared militants who happen to occupy key positions in the party. A group of delegates from one of the most hit areas of the crisis which we choose to hide for fear of exposing them to victimization was divided over the idea of voting on October 7, 2018. While one worried that the Amba boys as the separatist fighters are called will trace voters back to their homes and that military cannot protect them morning day and night after the election, the other said he did not care and that if only he can be protected at the polling station, he will vote and go away. Another retorted “you say so because you do not stay in the town so you can run off after voting and be safe while those of us who are obliged to stay become targeted.”
Although the CPDM elite sounds convinced about their campaign and election strategy in the North West which they have refused to disclose, many still ask the question how will those in the villages vote especially those in Batibo, Belo, Njinikom and Fundong as well as Menchum, Bafut, Ngie, Njikwa to name but these.
CPDM campaign and voting on October 7, in the North West region, remain a wait and see the affair as fingers are crossed and minds eager to learn the outcome.