The Deputy Director of Elections at ELECAM, Abdoul Karimou, has refuted claims that there are polling stations at the presidency.
He was responding to questions from reporters on claims by some political parties that there are polling stations set up at the presidency.
“There Are No Polling stations at presidency” says ELECAM Deputy Director
“If there are polling stations at the presidency, Paul Biya, who is also a candidate in the October 7 election and his family would have been voting there instead of taking the pains to move and cast their votes at the Bastos Bilingual Primary School,” Karimou said.
In a Press briefing at ELECAM headquarters in Yaounde on August 10, Mr Karimou said ELECAM was surprised about the unfounded information circulating that they had created polling stations at the Presidency and Chiefdoms of traditional rulers.
The briefing came on the heels of the publication of the list of Presidential candidates for the October 7 poll.
The Deputy Director of Elections also said ever since the new Electoral Code went into force prohibiting the location of polling stations in areas considered not accessible to the public, such polling stations in chiefdoms and palaces were removed.
He reiterated that “as of today, there are no polling stations at the presidency, in chiefdoms or palaces across the country.”
He, however, admitted that there are polling stations in the military barracks. He argued that military barracks are public places where some military personnel and their families do stay and they have a right to cast their votes.
He also stated that the polling stations in military barracks will be organised like all other polling stations across the country and will not be manned by military personnel, but rather by accredited ELECAM officials.
“Apart from the fact that voting is done in secrecy, all the political parties competing at the election are expected to have their designated representatives in all the polling stations,” he added.He remarked that the history of past elections in the country have shown that no candidate wins with a landslide around the military barracks.
He disclosed that there are 25,200 polling stations spread across the country, while Cameroonians in the diaspora will vote in 56 polling stations located in Cameroon’s diplomatic missions across the world.
Abdoul Karimou said the electoral kits to be used at the polling stations as of that August 10, were being moved to secure places near the polling stations.
He noted that the nine candidates, who successfully went through the scrutiny of the Electoral Board, will each have the same quantity of ballot papers of about 6.5 million.
“Pre-printing work for the production of the campaign and ballot papers of the various candidates is ongoing” he stated.
He assured reporters that ELECAM would have no problem to add candidates who could not make it after the scrutiny of the Electoral Board on the list if their complaints at the Constitutional Council come out in the candidate’s favour.
He equally stated that production of voters’ cards were for newly registered and those who had changed their residences.
Such cards are currently being distributed by the various ELECAM branches across the country.
Meanwhile, old voters in possession of their cards are expected to simply move to their former polling stations, verify their names on the list and cast their votes.
One measures being taken to ensure that voting takes place in the Northwest and Southwest Regions where the Anglophone Crisis is deepening, Abdoulkarimou admitted that the unfortunate situation is raising serious security concerns.
He said while Government has the responsibility to ensure security, the duty of ELECAM is to organise free and fair elections.
He said for polling stations located in the troubled areas to be displaced, there must be an administrative declaration to that effect.
He said the election body will work with the Government structures concerned to ensure that people, who want to exercise their voting right at the October 7 Presidential poll, do so in the two regions.
Abdoul Karimou disclosed that electoral registers of seven regions out of the 10 have already been tidied and pending only the appropriate moment as provided for by the law to be published.