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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Etoudi 2018: chronicle of a bizarre election

The case then took place on Sunday, October 7th. And 3 days later, nothing is always clear, neither in the strategies to be adopted, nor in the continuation of the events, nor in the future of #Cameroon.

Flashback: from the impossibility of consensus to the unique candidate of forceps.

Until the end of September, the population and "commentators" deplored the lack of consultation between the candidates to choose a consensus candidate. Then, in the final stretch of the campaign, the same "commentators" and media identified Mr. Kamto as the one who was most likely to win.

Based on what criteria? On the basis of the attendance at its meetings, the quality and quantity of the people who rallied to him (Paul Eric Kingue, Jean Pierre Bekolo, a rising young debater, Wilfried Ekanga, Penda Ekoka, etc.).

What the regime had tried to answer by launching in the arena his usual jokers that are Eto'o-bread-sardine, after a group of hungry appropriately called "G-hungry" (read "G20"), and some other affid├ęs indebted to the plan.

At the same time, the last week of the campaign, we no longer see much Libii or Osih, let alone Akere in the mainstream media.

The "Kamto mobility" thus created, was immediately coupled with a question (im) posed to the other candidates, first in the background then very frontally: "You join Kamto to win the change or you remain at the risk of to save the immobilisme? "

So in the absence of sitting down together to consensually decide a common strategy against the dictator, is a sort of balance of power" ground, "not made by all the team Kamto, with his visible, shadowy media, political and financial backers, has imposed the latter on public opinion as one who MUST be the "unique" candidate.To strengthen his status as a candidate for alternation, the staff of Mr. Kamto multiplies (if he had not already started) the contacts with some other staffs. Its communication cell, which held the last week the top of the media, leaks that at least 2 candidates are ready to rally: Muna and Matomba.

For the first, what is Friday night, late, that the rally will be effective. The second will end up defending himself within 24 hours of the vote. No doubt Libii's team has put a stop to these solicitations? Still, we observe that Kamto supporters relay in social networks (although the official campaign spaces of the now "consensus candidate", the comments are correct), scoops to discredit Libii, presenting it as a mole of the regime in the opposition and making him in advance endorse a possible failure of the opposition against the dictator.

We know the outcome of the operation "rallying or treason": only Muna rallies. So we go to the elections with a "Coalition" of 2 candidates against the other 6 of the opposition, all ("coalition" and "opponents") officially against the old dictator who clings. A kind of "duel to 3".

The day says: between position of acceptance and contestation of the vote.

The election apparently takes place normally in the French-speaking regions of Cameroon. The irregularities observed are the same that are still abounding in presidential elections under Paul Biya: ballot box stuffing, tampered lists, deformed vote counting, etc.

A novelty however, the whole evening is punctuated by the circulation, on the social networks, of pictures of counts of the voices (total or partial counts at the time of the taking of photographs? It is not specified), and of PV signed by candidate representatives: the majority of these photos indicate that Mr Kamto is largely in the lead in all the polling stations concerned. Results of the diaspora, where the registration rate is ridiculously low compared to the number of Cameroonians who are able to vote in the countries concerned, are also published.

They are more mixed, often with a slight lead for the dictator. A normal situation, since the electoral lists in the diaspora were filled with supporters of the dictator, while most other Cameroonians had turned their backs on these elections by not going to register. In a large country of diaspora like France, one speaks of less than 2000 voters on a population of at least 800.000 even 1 million Cameroonians who still keep their nationality and thus their right to vote.

The next day: the fastest quickdraw, but does his shot hit anyone?

The next day, in a short video on his Facebook page, video still little broadcast, the Libii candidate denounces the irregularities and very shyly calls his supporters to defend their vote. He obviously did not convince anyone unless the weak broadcast of the video explains the total lack of response to his call. He will forward this video a short statement also published on FB, where he declares himself an implicit winner, adding to try to remain credible "that remains to prove it".An affirmation therefore-unconditional- but that remains to prove ...

For its part, Mr. Kamto, strong of its status of candidate of the "coalition", in a filmed statement, suggests that he has evidence of his affirmation - without revealing them - that he has transformed the "penalty" (he claims to be victorious without formally pronouncing this word) and calls on the dictator to respect this verdict while assuring him a future without worries if he accepted. This announcement is followed by the exaltation of his supporters ... on social networks. The one that many in social networks call since the "elected president" had he thought of organizing, just after his announcement, a demonstration of joy of his supporters in the street? Maybe, maybe not. The pressure would probably have been even stronger, both on the regime and on the other candidates who had not joined him, if:

- he had added to his proclamation some images of popular jubilation (even organized, whatever, this add to the credibility of its popularity);

he had also addressed, in his declaration, as a putative conqueror, to the other candidates by, for example, extending his hand to raise the country together, & c.

Never mind, this announcement creates a wave of panic within the regime, unless it is only a minimum service. Everyone has to appreciate. The press conference of the apparatchiks of the CPDM, adorned with some partners of the "G-hungry (20)", quite silent and potiches for the occasion, gives rise to the usual oukases read on the same sententious tones of those who perform what they are told to read.

Second day after: cracks in the wall.

On the second day after the elections, things start to clear up a bit in the "opposition" camp. While some media probably close to Mr. Kamto broadcast global figures, supposed to come from 25,000 polling stations and displaying an extraordinarily short victory of Mr. Kamto on the dictator (less than 1%), none of the other candidates takes note of the victory of their competitor. On the contrary, the SDF and J. Osih suggest that it is physically impossible to have sufficient information to conclude anything. They claim to have only 20% of the results "corrected" and therefore exploitable.

Libii does not change his communication, in the face of anger over the attacks on him by Kamto's supporters. SE Matomba speaks, but to raise problems of irregularity without referring to a possible final score or any winner. Even A. Muna himself, duo of the "Coalition" speaking on his Facebook page, while reiterating his support for Mr. Kamto, still does not call him "president", but "candidate for the presidential election ". To Kamto fans who seem to have wanted to force him to openly declare that Kamto winner by broadcasting an audio capsule where he would attest to this victory, he responds with an official statement of denial. In short, none of the other candidates, whether Kamto's ally or not, endorse this proclamation of victory as evidence, which does not reinforce the "elected president" in his position of winner.

Several other exits, both pro-Kamto and anti-Kamto, defend or indignant against his exit the day before. In the meantime, there is still no popular demonstration of rejoicing at Mr. Kamto's victory. Prudence against the known savagery of the regime and its "forces of disorder"? Tactical choice to challenge "in appeasement"?Method (street demonstration) unsuitable for the "elected president"? Everyone will have their opinion.

One conclusion, however, is clear: in the camp of the forces that have always called for change, there is a clear divide as to the unconditional support for Mr. Kamto in this election. A fracture that for the moment benefits the CPDM and its old leader.

On the third day after the elections: What to do?

As the days go by, in the absence of both political and popular movements, a kind of weariness could pick up the people who mobilized during the campaign, and send them back to "go about their business," which means becoming indifferent again. .

On the other hand, the very bad management of the impossibility of finding a consensus between the main candidates and especially between Kamto and Libii, seems to have awakened the horrible demon of tribalism that the RDPC-Biya regime has cleverly maintained after the 'Ahidjo and the French colonial regime.A tribalism whose sad fruit today comes in "for or against a Bamileke in power?", Far behind what should, logically, concern an elector in a Greco-Roman democracy as we have imported in Africa, to know "for or against popular interests, sovereignty and anti-imperialism"?

It is important to extinguish the embers of this despairing tribalism, refocusing on the essential, namely to push out of power this regime that has lasted too long, that has impoverished us for decades and that digs every day deeper the chasm into which he plunged Cameroon. In other words, to focus on the enemy and the misery of the Cameroonian people, rather than focus on a victory (perhaps real, perhaps fictional) of one of the opponents and lots of divisions and frustrations that this eventual victory provokes.

What counts today, in addition to undermining Mr. Biya's power, is to reconcile the country with himself, and in particular Anglophones with the rest of Cameroon, by the urgent organization of an Inclusive National Dialogue, which will be much easier with Mr Kamto's victory.But that must also, anyway be demanded with determination, even if Mr. Biya proclaimed himself a winner and would install by force in power at the end of this umpteenth hold up. In the latter case, this Dialogue would then be followed by a political transition, the only one able to put in place the institutions and laws necessary for the emergence of a true democratic system. Position that until now, the Cameroon Patriotic Diaspora movement and its local partner in Cameroon Stand up For Cameroon have been defending for months. And these two organizations, as well as all the Cameroonians who did not participate in this election, are clearly ready to contribute to the resistance that will undoubtedly be necessary to block this electoral hold-up.

It is therefore up to Mr. Kamto, C. Libii, J. Osih, A. Muna, SE Matomba, F. Ndifor and their supporters, to take up again the chorus of an Inclusive National Dialogue followed by a political transition, even after a masquerade like that of 07/10. At any time, anything is possible, even after an election. And in this rallying strategy, which must end the alarming rise of tribal populism on all sides, Mr. Kamto's position is decisive, since everything crystallizes around him. If he considers himself invested with this heavy mission to relieve Cameroon, it is primarily for him to gather and not to cleave around his person to coordinate the actions of change. It is up to him to make contact with his former competitors so that together, failing to have chosen one of them, they determine, with the forces that did not take part in the masquerade, a common strategy to prevent keeping Mr. Biya in power. In this decisive position, he will finally be indispensable, to stand out from the dictatorial practice of the regime, which has never proved the least victory of Paul Biya except by artificial numbers and thus to show the beginning of the change in practices. to bring in time the material elements of his victory. This will then complete the agreement of all the declared actors of change who have not yet joined and who will then, with this irrefutable material evidence, support it and defend its victory until the seizure of power.

Otherwise, knowing that the old dictator will not be allowed to hunt without resistance, Kamto could bear the responsibility of a new October 11, 1992.

All actors of the must join, at least sectorially on this subject, the CPD and Stand up for Cameroon in the fight for a National Dialogue, unmistakable the subject of gathering around which Cameroonians and all the forces of democracy of the Nation, all trends except those of dictatorial power, can and will come together to rebuild this country torn apart on all sides and all subjects by a bloodthirsty dictatorship.

Tomorrow is another day. And this analysis could already be obsolete. But I doubt it, at least for the next few days.

Reporter: Sandjo Maxime