Candidates for Cameroon’s legislative and municipal elections officially began campaigning on over the weekend for a vote scheduled to take place on 9 February.
The exercise has been boycotted by some opposition parties. But President Paul Biya’s party is working tirelessly to secure a majority in the 180-seat National Assembly.
The election is seen as a key test for Paul Biya who won re-election controversially in 2018. Despite the official start of the campaign, the final list of candidates for the legislative and municipal elections has not yet been published.
Originally planned to happen in 2018, the exercise was postponed twice for lack of funds and over separatist violence in the country’s north and southwest regions.
Bertrand Tatsinda, a politicians said: “You see, those who call for a boycott are on the other side of the story. But they are the Cameroonians, we will make sure to explain these issues to other Cameroonians so that even those calling for boycott can live in a country at peace, in a country where the institutions really work.”
For his part, Banda Kani, candidate for opposition “New People’s Movement” (NMP) called for people to turn out and to defend their franchise. “The other issue is the issue of fraud and the message is clear: we have come to tell the people of Douala 2 to stand up and be prepared, and to defend their vote by all means.
“So if someone or someone has fun trying to defraud, they will find people from Douala 2nd on their way. That’s the message we’re here to deliver tonight.”