The Constitutional Council unsurprisingly proclaimed a landslide victory for the ruling CPDM party at the 2018 Senatorial elections -an indication that the regime in place is not ready to loosen its grip on power any time soon.
However, the results are also a wake-up call for opposition parties to fasten their belts in a year which holds the key to another seven-year mandate. Journalducameroun.com takes a look at those who came out stregthened from the Senatorial election ahead of other crucial electoral appointments on the horizon.
CPDM reigns supreme
The ruling party was too strong for all its opponents sweeping all the seats across nine regions before slipping in the North West Region to surrender the seven seats to the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front. In the process, they won the West and Adamawa region which had under SDF’s belt for the past five years.
“For this new term, I think senators will be more present in the field. We have witnessed the creation of a whole ministry in charge of decentralization and the Senate represents decentralized structures. I think that Cameroonians want decentralization. So, we have a lot to do. We will work a lot with this ministry, with municipal councilors, municipalities … to make laws that are favorable to development. I think that with the help of God, it will be okay,”CPDM senator for the South West region Andrew Otte Moffa said immediately after the proclamation of the results.
Bitter-Sweet pill for the SDF
The main opposition party will certainly take time to digest another punch in the face from its eternal rival from the CPDM after losing seven seats from the 14 the won in 2013. If their grip at the Senate was weak, it has certainly been let loose this time around. However, the party can take positives from the fact that they succeeded to wrestle back their stronghold, the North West Region from the ruling CPDM party. The SDF dominated the CPDM in Boyo (62,28%), Bui (69,07%), Menchum (60,38 %) and Mezam (55%) to win the region despite CPDM’s strong show in Momo(52,63%), Donga-Mantung (59,37%) and Ngoketunja (91,92%). How will the SDF deal with the obese majority at the Senate? We have been there before. Attempts at reaching the spokesperson of the party Jean Tsomelou for comments on the results were pushed back. He preferred to remain silent.. “for the moment.”
However, Valentine Njenje Kleber an SDF councillor for the Tiko municipality whose petitition for the election to cancelled in the South West Region was thrown out earlier in the week by the Constitutional Council, said the party should not be overconcerned by the results.
“The bigger test lies ahead with the municipal and legislative elections. We must be able to go into these elections ready to challenge and win because the stakes are crucial in these elections more than the senatorial. And I think we have already started working for these elections, ” he said.
UNDP,CDU, UPC, the old brooms marking time
Political analysts were stunned when Elecam revealed the National Union for Democracy and Progress NUDP had presented Senatorial lists across the national territory. You could have forgiven the SDF for venturing on troubled waters- not the NUDP who have limited representation across the national territory. And that was reflected at the elections with nothing to show for in the ten regions.
“Our party had councilors in four regions. We competed in the ten regions, and in the ten regions we had votes. You can draw your conclusions. We confirmed our status as a national party. If you are not known, you cannot have voters where you do not have a base,” NUDP senator, Pierre Flambeau Ngayap said.
On the other hand the CDU and UPC were modest in their ambitions presenting lists in in two regions each which did not yield any fruit at the final outcome. Even the CDU’s stronghold of the Noun Division could not enable the party to rival with the CPDM in the West region while the Littoral region proved too big and strong for the party to challenge in. The UPC on their part were testing the waters for the and will not feel aggrieved by the score going by its Secretary General.
“We did not really expect to win because we did not have enough municipal councilors. We wanted was to be able to prove our legality, and that has done. We had to show everyone the true leadership of the party, which alone can present candidates for elections. ”
FSNC, UDP, the dark horses who never were
They were maybe aiming a punch in the air but they deemed it necessary to give it a go, a rightful go. Issa Tchiroma’s FSNC presented a list in their “stronghold”, the North region- but were dwarfed by their “umbrella” of the “Presidential majority, the CPDM.
“We are delighted with the more than honorable performance of the FSNC. Just the number of councilors show we can do greater things in future elections,” Issa Tchiroma said.
The element of surprise did not come either from Lawan Bako’s UDP party who had vowed to grabbed the senatorial seats in the North West region. Expected as the dark horses, they ended up being the spoilers in the North West region with their presence allegedly diverting some CPDM votes and giving the Social Democratic Front.
“We are very happy. We started with zero councilor. We had 16 in the Northwest. It’s not a day job. We tried to convince the councilors. It’s a good step ahead of the next elections,” Sixtus Ndefru, a close aid to the party’s chairman said.
The outcome of the Senatorial elections is a big indication of the work left in the hands of opposition parties who must more than double efforts with the legislative and Municipal elections presenting the bigger challenge ahead even before the Presidential election. Time to get back to work!