In an interview with NewsWatch in Yaounde, Ndansi who is also National Youth President of the NUDP began by thanking authorities of the state for acknowledging the necessity of creating an independent electoral body. However, while appreciating the efforts of Elections Cameroon, he also observed that “ELECAM’s work was characterized by a plethora of shortcomings”.
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According to Ndansi, the 2013 ballot in Cameroon was no different from previous polls. Observing that the electoral process starts from registration to the day of voting, he pointed to what he described as the glaring faults of the recent polls. “If we can ameliorate issues on the day of registration but cannot do so on the day of voting, it means the process is not complete and when any one part fails to function well, the entire system crumbles”.
Ndansi Elvis also highlighted inadequacies with the biometric system that had touted voter register with one electoral card per member of the electorate. “We discovered that there were names of people that had two voters’ cards. Even ELECAM as well as the German company to which Cameroon sublet the contract, failed to do the job while using the taxpayers’ money”.
In his opinion, for the process to have been completely biometric, there was supposed to have been a central filtration system that would detect and eliminate all who attempted to register more than once. “The fact that voters with multiple electoral cards were identified means that the filtration system failed. That is an indication that even at the level of registration, the biometric system did not succeed by even up to 80%”.
ELECAM and CPDM on voting day
Ndansi Elvis castigated the elections management body ELECAM for appointing militants of the ruling CPDM as representatives at polling stations. “You had the president of the polling station appointed by ELECAM which is merely an arm of the government that used the elite of the village who are all sub section presidents of the CPDM as well as elite from elsewhere belonging to the CPDM imported by ministers and the like”. As Ndansi went on to reveal, of all the opposition parties that submitted the names of their militants so they could be appointed to similar posts, the request of none was granted with “Misaje being a visible example”.
He also faulted ELECAM’s choices on other grounds: “How can you take a butcher from the slaughter house in Misaje and put in the polling station, calling him the representative of the administration? What does he know about administration?” Ndansi questioned.
The NUDP National youth president insinuated that once the polling station had been thus constituted, it became a terrorist group vis-à-vis all those who showed up to vote. “They terrorized the voters; everybody there was a member of the elite, everybody was an influential person – no voter could speak. Even the polling agents of other political parties were suppressed”.
For Ndansi, all these also facilitated the rigging machinery that was put in place by the CPDM; it was easy for ballot boxes to be stuffed and for some ballot papers not to be given to electors. It was also easier for people to continue campaigning at polling stations while the ballot papers of some political parties could be bought at just a few metres from polling stations. “The entire rigging machinery that used to be in place in the days of the National Elections Observatory (ELECAM’s predecessor) was still operational - nothing had changed”.
The way forward
Though luck did not simile on Ndansi, he maintained that this electoral setback is temporary. “I am very comfortable with the pain and adversity I am currently going through; such difficulties will provide me with the experience that I need to achieve my dream” he said.
Ndansi however recognized that there were certain things he failed to do and vowed to correct his mistakes come 2018. “Winners never quit; I am on track - all I need to do is recognize that there are some things I did not do during this campaign which would have given me better results. So I need to focus more on the areas where I went wrong, the lessons that I learnt, the experience that I acquired. Then I will work on all these issues to make it better in 2018”.
“No one ever loses an election and says he is happy”, he observed. “I am not happy but I am not discouraged. I remain a positive person who thinks that he can use adversity as a stepping stone to success”.