GCI Opinion: Arrest of Kumba SDF Chair by Administration Intended to Facilitate Electoral Fraud

Global Conscience Initiative has characterized the arrest and detention of the Kumba Electoral District Chair of the Social Democratic Front, SDF party, as arbitrary and a gross violation of the constitutional and human rights of Mr. Asapngu Ferdinand. Global Conscience Chief Executive said the arrest of the SDF leader by the Meme administration on Election Day was a deliberate ploy to preempt SDF militants from defending their ballots, which the administration and forces of law and order refused to protect, and thus allowed the CPDM to have a field day in rigging the elections to their advantage.

The Global Conscience Chief said Mr. Asapngu was arrested at about 5.30 p.m. on July 22, by the Commissioner of the Central Police station and detained in the office of the SDO for Meme until 11.00 p.m. before whisked to the police station where he was interrogated for hours and then detained in an office. He said by 10.00 a.m. the following day when he visited the District Chair in the police station, no charges had been proffered against him, and the state counsel had no knowledge of the detention of the political boss.

The GCI CEO said the Commissioner of police “acting on the orders of the Senior Administrator for Meme without any recourse to the laws defining his duties and responsibilities made himself vulnerable to an action against his person”. Mr. Samba has therefore urged the SDF District Chair to bring an action against the Commissioner. About the polls, Global Conscience Chief Executive said the elections in Kumba were an “absolute charade, a disgrace to elections and a categorical abuse of the democratic rights of citizens to select their representatives”.

Mr. Samba Churchill said violence, intimidations and threats characterized the elections, while some voters voted more than once. He said polling agents of some parties were beaten and chased away in some polling stations, while some others were openly intimidated. He regretted that some militants of some political parties were arrested with multiple voters’ cards, while polling agents admitted that some voters voted without National Identification papers.

In conclusion, Mr. Samba said the elections in Kumba I, II & III should be annulled and reconducted with all the necessary guarantees of fairness and transparency if the government truly has the interest of denizens of Kumba at heart. He has also called for the prosecution of fraudsters and all others arrested for electoral malpractices under existing laws as a deterrent to militants who are interested in electoral cheating.

“It is regrettable to notice that the administration of Meme and Kumba has an interest in the irregularities that characterized the polls. Their actions clearly facilitated rigging in favour of one of the political parties. The Kumba DO, Kouam David, also needs to tell the people of Kumba in particular, and Cameroonians in general, how individuals came into possession of multiple voters’ cards that they used fraudulently”, the CEO challenged.