The fates of most Senatorial hopefuls in the other 10 Regions of Cameroon must have been sealed following Sunday, March 25, 2018, elections. But those of the South West Senatorial hopefuls are still shrouded in uncertainty following various incidents that almost undermined the conduct of the 2018 elections.
While only two Divisions (Meme and Fako) can as at now boast of having obtained the full results of the March 25 Senatorial elections, the results of the other four Divisions (Ndian, Kupe-Munenguba, Lebialem and Mayu) are still being bantered around on political party lines and affiliations.
While some South West CPDM Senatorial hopefuls have already rolled out their celebration drums to commemorate what they termed “their resounding victory in the March 25 polls, other political parties who took part in Sunday’s elections have cautioned them to hold their peace for awhile, and look back at the elections’ atmosphere that prevailed in the Region.
This is because the South West Region did not fare very well on Sunday, despite the security dispositions taken by the administrators and EELCAM to have hitch-free Senatorial elections. Elections in four of the six Divisions were mired in chaos and rancour.
In Bangem, capital of Kupe-Muanenguba Division, gunmen ran riots in the area when voting was about to commence at 8:00am. According to our source in Bangem, there was sustained gun battle between troops and gunmen.
Going by our dependable source, the gun battle between security officers and some unidentified gunmen forced Councillors to retreat to their various homes and some into the bushes for refuge. “Some Councillors from Nguti who came in to vote were forced to go back home due to numerous threats on their lives”
Our source also said Councillors of Tombel did not even make it to Bangem where voting was taking place.
As the situation in Bangem surged on, that of Menji in Lebialem Division was even more precarious. On elections day, elements of the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) took over the town firing guns in the air and threatening Councillors from going out to vote.
The situation was further compounded by the fact that the elections were taking place days after the SDO of Lebialem, Zachary Ongitoh and some State functionaries were killed in the Division.
According to information gnarled by this reporter, as at 8:00am, the Menji polling station was opened, ELECAM officials were present and the competing political parties, but they were no electorate.
This reporter further learnt that Councillors in Lebialem were allegedly transported by helicopter to Dschang to vote.
It was a similar situation Ndian and Manyu, where a few Councillors answered present in Mundemba and Mamfe respectively. Councillors in places like Akwaya, Tinto and other Council areas who could not make it to Mamfe because of the Ambazonian Forces, were considered to have absconded.
But in Meme and Fako Divisions, voting went on smoothly and all political parties that took part in the elections lauded the conducts of the elections in the two Divisions.
Speaking to reporters in Limbe, Thomas Ejake Mbonda, South West ELECAM Board Member, admitted that there was tension in Bangem, but said the tension later subsided and Councillors voted, even though the reports from the Division state the contrary.
Ejake Mbonda further asserted that there were some delays in Menji, but assured reporters that the Councillors in the Division will vote.
However, many political observers said even if the Senatorial elections in the South West Region were carried out in a peaceful atmosphere, the CPDM would still have won, given that the party controls over three quarter of the electorate.
Whatever be the case, the Constitutional Council should already be bracing up to receive petitions from the South West Regions after the elections, because they will certainly be petitions given the atmosphere under which the elections were carried out.