Cameroonian youth, like other nationals of voting age (20 years +), will be called upon to go to the polls severally this year to decide on the choice of the leaders for the next five and seven years. As a matter of fact, the electoral consultations rumble off on March 25, 2018 with the selection of Senators and will, all things being equal, continue with that of Parliamentarians, municipal authorities and the President of the Republic; obviously in any order deemed necessary by the guarantor of the country’s constitution.
Actively participating in choosing these officials or aspiring to occupy any of the posts, is no doubt a civic responsibility and constitutional right of any citizen. Failure to do so or doing so without any hindsight or precaution could constitute a serious drawback to good living and a sense of belonging; ingredients for a jointly-developed and mutually-beneficial Cameroon.
The Head of State’s reminder to youth during his Youth Day address on February 10, 2018 on the need for them to actively participate in the upcoming elections shouldn’t be waved with the back of the hand. In fact, everybody knew several elections are awaited this year. Singling out youth, like President Paul Biya did to say, “As you know, 2018 will be an important election year. You all who will be aged 20 years and above will be able to - or rather should - exercise your right to vote. By voting, you will be performing an act of responsible citizenship and, thus, participating in forging your destiny,” speaks volumes. Deep thought is vital here!.
The youth who constitute a non-negligible proportion of the voting population should cheerfully consider the Presidential beckon as a recognition of their prowess and a call for responsible citizenship. Knowing who they are and what they want in the short, medium and long terms will greatly determine the type of choices they would make in the elections.
For, “forging your destiny” as the Head of State underlined, requires foresightedness and accountable action. Chickening out on acts that determine their future or in other words failing to act in shaping their destinies, can only herald regrets tomorrow. This is avoidable!
The Presidential call should equally be understood as a reminder for youth to actively play their roles as political actors and not allow themselves to be used by power-hungry politicians for their selfish gains. Politics, they say, is a game of interest and once people as numerous and talented like Cameroonian youth fail to capitalize on their strength, they reduce themselves to simple tools in the hands of politicians.
Making use of their full potential in the choice of those to rule them therefore passes through massively registering on electoral lists, collecting their voters’ cards and effectively voting when the time comes. Doing so willingly equally gives them the latitude to unilaterally decide on whom to vote for depending on their conviction which is largely based on what the person presents as manifesto. The youth too, who meet the criteria for one election or the other, can as well rightly table their candidatures and canvass for votes within and without their circles.
Luckily, registration on electoral registers is still ongoing in all nooks and crannies of the country. Youth can even seize the opportunity served them on the platter of gold by elections management organ (ELECAM), through its proximity registration strategies, to get their names enlisted on the electoral registers.
They equally need to bear in mind that time is ebbing out on this process. Once the universal suffrage elections are announced, the ongoing voter registration process will stop automatically. And anyone who would not have registered then will be a spectator when the time comes to elect the President, Parliamentarians and municipal authorities.
No time therefore to waste in making the choice. Tomorrow may be late in shaping the destiny. A clarion call indeed for action now to avoid tomorrow’s regrets!