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22/03/2018 - 22:42

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NORTH-WEST : Population Cast Votes in Relative Calm
NORTH-WEST : Population Cast Votes in Relative Calm

Supporters of the different political parties running for the legislative and municipal elections cast their votes in what most observers described as generally calm.

Polling stations in Bamenda were open as early as 6:30 am last Monday September 30, 2013 as Elecam officials could be seen busy setting up their equipment for the day’s main activity, voting. At the preventive medicine polling station A, located at the hospital roundabout neibourhood, Ma Florence was quite welcoming even as she was occupied with pasting the voter’s rolls for her polling station. She explained that the polls would only open for voting at 8 am while her other colleagues busied themselves with arranging the various ballot papers and setting the transparent ballot boxes.  Farther at the administrative garage polling station, the Elecam team chose to start the day with a word of prayer, committing the day’s toils to God. The head of the polling station cautioned his fellow colleagues to be vigilant in order to avoid any malpractices that could mar the process.At 8 am, the Nkwen cooperative union premises that was home to six polling stations divided into A, B, C, D, E and F with some 2,251 was already humming as people came in to exercise their civic duty. The open air polling stations provided enough space for those coming in to vote. Some election observers from local Ngos were already present when the first people turned out to cast their votes. With all set for the day, the early birds went forth crosschecking their names on voter’s rolls pasted on walls before proceeding to vote. Before the Elecam personnel in charge, a person presented his voter’s card and his Id card, after which he was asked to pick up one copy each of the ballot papers on the table then move to the isolation box where he placed a single ballot paper into the envelop he had been given. He would then discard of the unused ballot papers in a black plastic bag provided for by Elecam before moving on to sign and thumbprint with the black indelible ink.  At the Gttc polling station, the population came gradually with some coming on foot while others arrived on motorbikes. Even though some people were not so sure of how to go about the voting exercise, the team on hand was quite ready to give directions. According to Ambiono Luc Marie Rodrigue, Elecam head in charge at cooperative Nkwen polling station, “each time elections are organized, there are certain lapses that are figured out. That is why improvements have to be made to better the errors of the past and ameliorate the entire process. This year Elecam has done some improvements which I think are quite visible”. Improvements that Ma Florence confirmed were good as compared to previous elections. “This issue of pasting people’s names that even carry their pictures is a good thing because it facilitates work for all of us”. 
Commotion By midday, the turnout at the Nkwen cooperative union premises had doubled and some complaints were beginning to be heard. The divisional officer for Bamenda III paid a courtesy call after being alleged that some people were giving orientation to others on who to vote. But all was calm and serene when he came and left. Meanwhile, voters who had not come along with their ID cards were forbidden from casting their votes and this was quite nerve wracking for a certain Kaba Charles, Sdf councilor who insisted that they be considered for fear that he would be losing valuable votes. Before long, there were people who had their voter’s cards but whose names were absent from the voter’s rolls. They were simply told to go away, a move to which Ambiono Luc Marie of Elecam had no explanations. Tando Angela Munka, Chi Gibert, Wange Patreck were some disgruntled potential voters who were turned away because their names were nowhere to be found on voter’s rolls. At the time of this report, the commotion around the Nkwen post office had escalated, calling the attention of the gendarmerie and forces of law and order as counting proceeded after the remaining ballot papers and those thrown in the black plastic bag were set ablaze. Trends here showed the Sdf had the upper hand.

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