25 August 2011

Cameroon: Major Political Parties Still to Designate Candidates

Photo: Anne-Mireille Nzouankeu/ RNW
Paul Biya, the current president of Cameroon, is now 78 years old, and local youths are now saying "29 years in power is far too long".

As the 2011 presidential election fever rises in Cameroon, political parties are taking calculated steps to make concrete decisions. The major political parties, including President Paul Biya's ruling Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), the leading opposition party, Ni John Fru Ndi's Social Democratic Front and Maigari Bello Bouba's National Union for Democracy and Progress (NUDP), are still to designate candidates for the election.

The Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPDM, René Sadi, recently announced the imminent holding of the party's elective ordinary congress. This will be the moment to renew the CPDM political bureau and executive organ, the Central Committee and also select a presidential candidate. While waiting for the congress, the CPDM since November 2010 has embarked on a campaign to enable all supporters register and vote the party's candidate in the presidential election. CPDM supporters in the country and in the Diaspora have been sending motions of support and appeals to incumbent President Biya to stand as their candidate.

The SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi during a press conference in Yaounde on August 10, 2011 called on party members and Cameroonians in general to register and participate in the forthcoming elections. He announced that the party's candidate for the election will be designated during an elective convention. The political bureau of the NUDP met on August 23 in Yaounde and brainstormed on issues that will be forwarded to the Central Committee for action.

While the major political parties are still at the level of designating candidates, other parties are already in full campaign. The Alliance of Progressive Forces (APF) of Barrister Bernard Muna, Progressive Movement (MP) of Hon. Jean Jacques Ekindi, Peoples Action Party (PAP) of Hon. Ayah Paul Abine, Cameroon National Congress (CNC) among others, have already designated their candidates and are combing all the nooks and crannies of the country to encourage their supporters to register and vote. Even before the convening of the Electoral College and start of campaigns, these parties have been presenting their manifestoes to potential voters in order to woo them.

With Election Day drawing closer, more parties are expected to make their choices known. Parties of the presidential majority will have to confirm or break their alliances with the ruling CPDM.

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