Cameroon’s Head of State, Paul Biya, has convened the electorate for the 2020 Legislative and Municipal elections.
In Presidential decree N0 2019/612 of 10 November 2019, President Biya set February 9 for the elections. The Presidential decree has not only set the stage for the local elections, but it has also undermined the deepening security challenges posed by the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
Before Biya’s November 10 decree, many Cameroonians were hoping that the President will declare a ceasefire in line with the spirit and resolutions of the Major National Dialogue, so that, all elected officials of the Northwest and Southwest Regions, who are now taking refuge in other regions of the country, will return and campaign, while the civilian population that has sought safe havens in the bushes and forest, will return to choose their leaders.
However, in the November 10 decree, the President announced that he has convened Municipal and Legislative Elections for Sunday, February 9.
According to President Biya, in accordance with the laws in place, the polls will open from 8:00am to 6:00pm on February 9 across the national territory.
The announced elections will see the voting in or out of old parliamentarians and municipal authorities, who were elected for a five-year mandate on September 30, 2013.
Their mandates were due to expire in October 2018, but for the two extensions by the Head of State.
Before initially postponing the elections, President Biya claimed that the main reason behind the postponement of the two elections was because Cameroon’s electoral calendar for 2018 was crammed-up and that it was imperative that some elections be postponed.
In the Anglophone Regions, separatists’ activities have crippled Government operations in most of the communities, limiting it just to cosmopolitan areas like Kumba, Buea, Limbe, Bamenda, and Nkambe Central.
Most rural areas are largely under the control of Amba Fighters. If elections were to hold under the present circumstances, it is likely that many electorates in Lebialem, Bui, Menchum, Ndian, Kupe-Muanenguba, Boyo, and Ngoketunjia will be disenfranchised due to the crisis.
In the Northern Regions of the country, Boko Haram terrorist activities have also perturbed normal life and disrupted Government activities in many communities. Many were hoping that the security conditions will be tackled to provide a level playing field for all political parties to campaign. As it stands now, most political parties will not be able to campaign in the two Anglophone Regions.