After training trainers last week, local polling agents will be trained this week to finalise arrangements for next October 7 presidential voting.
With a permanent staff of some 200 in 31 Council areas, the election organising body in the South West Region is finalizing touches towards next week’s presidential polling.
Voting material is in place, electors cards currently distributed, personnel motivated and vote controllers trained last weekend. These assurances from an insider of the South West Regional Delegation of Elections Cameroon, who sought anonymity for security reasons, has led to the conclusion that next October 7 polling is ordained.
The new element in this year’s voting for troubled zones like the South West and North West Regions will be the introduction of polling centres. As explained by the ELECAM Board chair, Enow Abrams, when he galvanised his staff last June 22 in Buea, the polling centres will group voting stations in safer areas to escape violence- brewing opponents of the election.
Apart from the official decisions taken to protect voting this turbulent year, the staff of ELECAM has been schooled to synergise with the administration and the forces of law and order. This would be to scale up safety, ensure transparency as well as level the ground for an unblemished electoral exercise.
Worthy of note is the fact that threats on life have been mounted on ELECAM staff in both Anglophone Regions by armed groups. In the South West Region, Tchonang Elie Roger, ELECAM’s representative for Kupe Muanenguba was killed by a gang some three months ago. The ELECAM structures were burnt down by unidentified gangs including those in Dikome Balue, Toko and Wabane.
These incidents sent many of the body’s staff fleeing to safer places. But with the new impetus injected by their Board chair, most of them have returned and are carefully and tactfully working for the success of the presidential polling of October 7, 2018. To man the election in the Region, ELECAM staff was given appropriate skills last week and they are this week in the various localities to train local polling agents anticipating October 7 poll.
Although exact figures on registered voters are still to be published, this week, by June this year, some 400, 000 potential voters from the South West Region were already registered with ELECAM. Of the lot, over 9.443 were registered in 2018. By June, this year, some 381.169 voters’ cards were available for distribution. Recently, only 3.211 were still pending distribution in the region but whose owners can collect and use then even on the day of voting in their respective polling centres.