ELECAM : Effective Reception of Electoral Material Begins

The Director General of ELECAM, Mohaman Sani Tanimou says their priority is to render branches operational. Just a day after the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (MINATD) signed documents with Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) officially transferring all electoral material to ELECAM, the institution??s officials are already on the field to verify the state of the material handed over to them before collecting. The Director General of the General Directorate of Elections in ELECAM, Mohaman Sani Tanimou in an exclusive interview to Cameroon Tribune in Yaounde yesterday, January 21 said

the institution??s technical team headed by the Deputy Director General of Elections, Dr Erik Essousse had to begin working with MINATD officials on the state of electoral material proper as well as the computer software and hardware to be transferred to ELECAM head office in Bastos, Yaounde. This only concerns electoral material found in the Ministry, Mr Mohaman Sani disclosed, stating ELECAM officials throughput the Regions would work with the local administration in the same like. Reliable sources in ELECAM said the Minister of State in charge of MINATD, Marafa Hamidou Yaya yesterday signed an order instructing Regional Governors to hand over the electoral material in their respective areas of competence to ELECAM. As to the implantation of ELECAM throughout the national territory, Mohaman Sani said the institution is hiring buildings as well as receiving others from the administration and local councils. He specified that the institution already has accommodation structures in 30 out of the 58 Divisions and 220 out of the 360 municipal councils in the country. Some of the buildings are current being given a befitting face lift. With regard to the recruitment of officials to head the Divisional and municipal branches of ELECAM and senior staff, the Director General of Elections stated that this has been done in seven out of the 10 Regions of the country with the success rate of 70 percent. The recruitment of staff in the institution??s field branches will be completed between March and April 2010, Mohaman Sani declared and said should the institution have the needed financial means, the recruitment could even be done in two weeks.
Reassuring News From ELECAM
After months of suspense, there is some good news to write home about Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the body that shall henceforth be charged with organising elections in Cameroon, replacing the Ministry of Territorial Administration and the National Elections Observatory decried, rightly or wrongly, for all electoral pitfalls in the country. Last Tuesday, the Director General of Elections Mohaman Sani Tanimou and the Minister of State, Minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation Marafa Hamidou Yaya appended their signatures on documents formally handing over all elections paraphernalia from the Ministry, the erstwhile de factor organizer of elections, to ELECAM . That act, sealed the official transfer of electoral operations to ELECAM. That the handing-over was carried out with the Prime Minister and Head of Government as official witness is no accident. On the contrary by that solemn presence, the executive branch simply wanted to endorse the process and re-state its commitment to ensuring that the decision to devolve the organization of elections in the country into the hands of a neutral body is an irreversible one and a process government will continue to support until the new body goes fully operational. Ordinary citizens, civic organizations, non-governmental organizations overseeing governance as well as numerous stakeholders, least of which are not anxious political parties and potential office-holders, were getting rather worried over the snail speed ELECAM had taken in respect of the chronogramme taken to get itself fully operational. Tuesday??s ceremony was, therefore, most welcome, even if it came many months after ELECAM was supposed to have formally launched its activities, as the sole actor in electoral matters, ranging from the acquisition of material, registration of voters?? to the material organization of elections. This new posture of ELECAM is really re-assuring news for the vast array of stakeholders in Cameroon??s electoral process, especially as some important elections are already in the works. Even more re-assuring is the announcement by officials of the directorate general of elections that their immediate concern now is to ensure the effective presence of ELECAM, in the very near future, in all the 58 divisions and the 360 municipalities in the country. In this optimistic note, the revelation that ELECAM has already secured safe accommodation, in some 80 per cent of its targeted objectives and identified about 70 per cent of back-up personnel, is also good cause for joy. ELECAM is definitely in a good take-off posture. But its effectiveness and respect will be fully encapsulated only if it rises up to the numerous challenges it will face in organizing free, fair and impartial elections. With all the necessary financial, material and human resources at its disposal, the different actors and stakeholders are waiting anxiously for its first steps and actions in the organization of elections, beginning first and foremost, with establishing a credible voters?? register.

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