By Tapuka Gerald, August 16, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Kumba – Kumba City Council authorities temporary withheld payments to students who performed a one month holiday job for the municipality until they registered on the electoral list.
Last Friday when the students, about 150 of them showed up to receive promised pay, they were told to register on the electoral list first before they could be paid.
It was a carefully planned act with authorities of ELECAM Meme, already having their tables set up, waiting for the students. When the students presented themselves, to their greatest surprise, those 20 and above were asked to either inscribe their names on ELECAM’s list or forfeit what was due them even though this was not the condition of the contract.
After much agitation the students succumbed to the pressure from the Kumba authorities and hurriedly line up for the exercise. Once registered, each student received the sum of 50,000 FRS from the Kumba City Council.
According to an official of ELECAM Meme, Samuel Anoke, they wanted the students to exercise their voting rights as Cameroonians since many are shying away from political activities. Responding to the students’ argument that they didn’t have to register because their vote has really never counted, Anoke said they cannot make such claims when they have neither registered nor voted. To him change starts with registration on the electoral list.
In a phone chart with the YCPDM President for Meme 1A, Mbah Humphreys Andong, he said youths have been reluctant to perform their civic duty and it was just an opportunity to engage them in the process. “If these youths don’t register and vote who would do it? He questioned. He boasted of being the master mind behind the strategy and said it is the novelty he is bringing in since his election to the CPDM governing seat in Kumba last year. The Government Delegate, Victor Nkelle Ngoh who was not available for comments was aware of it, Andong concluded.
It is the first time Kumba authorities are using such tactics to coerce prospective voters. But the Council is known for organizing holiday jobs for students for many years now.
ELECAM which is fighting for credibility is now using all forms of strategies to boost its electoral lists so that its staff can also secure their jobs. Previously it used to be the National Anti-Aids Commission that used to send representatives to every youthful congregation. Today it is ELECAM which is found in such places like University Games, 11 February, Holiday Festivals, Churches, schools etc.