The opposition in Cameroon has accused President Paul Biya of intent to steal the forthcoming election in the country. They are saying that Biya has made moves to seize control of vote preparations from a specially created independent body. Elizabeth Tamanjong, head of the main opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), said “Paul Biya doesn’t want change. He wants to die in power.” Biya, who is now 77, has been in power since 1982. Tamanjong said that the only way Biya can hold on to power is by ensuring that there cannot be free, fair and transparent elections.
Parliament in Cameroon passed a bill on Friday giving the government oversight of poll preparations through the Ministry of Territorial Administration. This responsibility was previously carried out by the independent electoral body, ELECAM. According to Ben Muna, head of the opposition Alliance of Progressive Forces, “This means that ELECAM is only a shadow organisation, no more an independent electoral authority.” The Cameroonian President is expected to sign the bill into law within two weeks. Once the bill is signed, the Ministry of Territorial Administration will have the authority to appoint representatives to various commissions overseeing the full range of electoral preparations.
The executive president of the Foundation for Human Rights and Development, Afany Ngeh, has said that the law is the worst law the country has ever had because it brings back the administration and members of the judiciary into the electoral process in full force. Multi-party politics was introduced by Biya’s Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM in 1991 but despite this, Biya and the CPDM have won every election since then and a constitutional ammendment in 2008 removed presidential term limits. Paul Biya has been accused of being a dictator.
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