UN pledges to help Cameroon organise 2018 poll

Senior UN elections adviser Akinyemi Adegbola during a meeting with the Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) officials in Yaoundé on July 11, 2017. NDI EUGENE NDI | NATION MDIA GROUP 

The United Nations has pledged to assist Cameroon organise a credible General Election in 2018.

A senior UN elections adviser, Mr Akinyemi Adegbola, made the promise Tuesday during a meeting with the Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) chief in Yaoundé.

The promise has raised hopes for possible free, fair and transparent polls in the Central African nation that has been ruled by President Paul Biya since 1982.

Mr Adegbola is heading a four-man delegation to Cameroon on a visit that came in response to a request from the country’s elections and referenda management agency.

Be respected

Should the electoral calendar be respected, Cameroonians will vote for president and senate, legislature and municipal representatives.

The election of the regional representatives could also be added to the above list.

ELECAM Director-General Enow Abrams Egbe said the agency needed technical and logistical assistance to organise the elections.

He said the visiting New York delegation would conduct a thorough needs assessment of the poll agency for the 2018 exercise

The UN experts were also scheduled to meet with political party leaders and the civil society activists in the the Northwest and Far North regions, as well as visit the National Elections Biometric Centre.

Get it right

Experts say the UN’s commitment could be a milestone in the country’s limping democracy, but authorities have a lot of work to enhance meaningful citizen participation in the electoral process.

“Elections are a process and not an event, and if we have to get it right in 2018, we must begin by freeing politically motivated detainees, expanding space for political parties and civic organisations to conduct their activities freely, enhance press freedoms and facilitate media coverage of politics and all phases of the electoral process, and generate more political will for fair and transparent polls," said Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, an expert on democracy in Africa.

Dr Fomunyoh is also the regional director of Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) for Central and West Africa.

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