Cameroon Campaign Group
Statement by the Chairman, Lord Avebury, January 10, 2009
The independent electoral body ELECAM was voted into law by the National Assembly at the end of 2006, providing for a transitional period of up to 18 months, during which ELECAM would assume the functions previously carried out by the Interior Ministry and the National Elections Observatory. The international community, in Yaoundé, including the UK, had urged the Government of Cameroon to press on with the implementation of ELECAM as quickly as possible.
After much delay, and after consulting political parties as required by the law, President Biya announced the names of persons appointed to ELECAM on December 30, 2008. Not a single member of the opposition parties is included, and most are high-ranking members of the ruling CDPM – see the table below. There may be challenges to the list in the courts, but in the meanwhile the Commonwealth should ask President Biya to reconsider these appointments and come up with a balanced list.
Dorothy Limunga Njeuma Political Bureau member of ruling CPDM
Cecile Bomba Nkolo Political Bureau member of CPDM
Fonkam Azu’u Samuel Central Committee member of the CPDM
Jules Nana Nschwangele CPDM Mayor of Kribi
Abdoulaye Babale Former CPDM Minister
Thomas Ejake Mbonda Former CPDM Governor
Mohaman Sani Tanimou Technical Adviser to the President of Cameroon
Elie Mbonda Director of the President’s wife’s (Chantal Biya) Foundation
Justin Ebanga Ewodo Former member of NEO (the previous weak electoral commission)
The other three members, (two men and a woman - namely Adamou Ali, Pierre Roger Efandene Bekono and Mrs. Sadou Daoudou), have no known political affiliation, but in view of the 100% loyalist composition of those with known connections, it is probable that the three are also loyal to the CPDM.
The ELECAM law also provides that members have to be persons of proven integrity. It was reported last week that four people were arrested as they tried to board a plane to the US with fraudulent documents allegedly signed by Fonkam Azu'u Samuel, for which they claimed to have paid him large bribes. For the time being, this appointment is doubly unlawful.
The European Union had agreed to provide support for the establishment of ELECAM. Until these matters are cleared up, we call for payments to be suspended.