Cameroon: Elections Convened Within Appeasement Context

President Paul Biya has convened the municipal and legislative elections for February 9, 2020.

It is already clear that election of councillors into Cameroon's 360 local councils and 180 Members of the National Assembly will take place on February 9, 2020 following the decree of the Head of State on November 10, 2019 calling electors to the polls for the two elections. The convening of the twin elections following two consecutive extensions of the terms of office of Members of the National Assembly and municipal councillors voted in the twin elections of September 30, 2013 comes within the context of appeasement of the political and social climate. President Paul Biya concerned about peace, security, welfare and general development of Cameroon, organised the Major National Dialogue from September 30- October 4, 2019. It was an occasion for Cameroonians both at home and in the diaspora and from across the political, economic, social and cultural spectrums of the society to freely express themselves on the way they wanted the country to move ahead and get out of the raging crisis in the North West and South West Regions. Pertinent recommendations came out of the dialogue which Prime Minister, Head of Government, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute chairperson of the event forwarded to President Paul Biya. Then came immediate appeasement measures as President Biya on the last day of the dialogue on October 4, 2019 ordered the discontinuance of legal pursuits Military Tribunals against 333 persons who were arrested for acts committed within the framework of the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions. A few days later, he ordered the release of the President of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), Professor Maurice Kamto and some of his supporters arrested and detained in connections with violence and non-respect of the regulations in force. The just-cited appeasement measures were intended to thaw the tense political and security atmosphere in the country, a condition sine-qua non for the organisation of peaceful, transparent, fair and credible municipal and legislative elections whose results are accepted by the key actors. Before the decree of November 10, 2019 convening the two elections, there was still suspense as to whether the two elections will take place. This is because despite the release of people detained in connection with the crisis in the North West and South West Regions, peace and normalcy have not yet returned. Considering that one of the key recommendations on the Major National Dialogue was a special status for the English-speaking North West and South West Regions, some political pundits were of the opinion that the special status was first of all to be created before elections. The elections organising institution, Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) on October 20, 2019 in conformity with provisions of the Electoral Code published the electoral registers at the Council branches for potential electors and other political actors to consult and request

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