4 August 2008

Cameroon: Opposition Says NEO Report is Fallacious

Some opposition parties have described the National Elections Observatory, NEO, report for the 2007 twin elections as misleading.

Opposition chieftains took great exception to report that NEO published at the end of a two-day General Assembly on July 31.The report, which NEO Chairman, Francois Xavier Mbouyom, presented at a press briefing, says the 2007 twin elections were largely free, fair and transparent.

It notes that the elections were no doubt mired in irregularities, but holds that such shortcomings were not enough to affect the final outcome of the polls.In reaction, the UPC Secretary General, Augustin Frederic Kodock, quietly dismissed NEO report as a prevarication.

To him, the fraud and bare-faced rigging that took place in his native Nyong and Kelle constituency of the Centre Province took away whatever was going to be free, fair and transparent about the elections.

Without going into details, Kodock said the CPDM used the buying of votes, intimidation and outright violence to rig the polls in that constituency.The elections, to him, were everything but free and fair.

"I am not sure that NEO Chairman is talking about the same elections I witnessed," cut in Garga Haman Adji, the Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy and Development, ADD.

He said the NEO Chairman only expressed his opinion. In reality, he went on, the elections were rigged from crash.

He said the fact that only 4.6 million out of a population of over 18.5 million people registered, completely eroded the credibility of such the elections.He added that the elections were marked by selective registration, multiple voting and cannot, in anyway, be called free and fair elections.

To him, any election in which the consciences of voters were bought cannot be free and fair.Speaking to the press shortly after the publication of the report, the NEO member for the Northwest Province, Ntumfor Nico Halle, said even though the elections had imperfections, there was a positive evolution of the country's electoral process.

To him, the elections were better than previous ones. Like every human endeavour, Ntumfor Halle said Cameroon's electoral process is still looking for perfection.The general report on the conduct of the 2007 legislative and municipal elections was published in the presence of diplomats, politicians and other stakeholders at the Yaounde Azur Hotel last Thursday.

Addressing the General Assembly that began, Wednesday July 30, NEO boss, Mbouyoum, said the outfit was still necessary given that the ELECAM will only be put in place in six months.He said NEO members will soon be going to the field to ignite the revision of electoral registers.

During the meeting, NEO members received the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation who is in the country.

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