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Chaos Marks CPDM Reorganisation 

By Isidore Abah

Attempts To Disrupt Elections Foiled

Mayor Spends Millions On Party Cards

Ojongmpot, Konchou Branded As Iscariots

Namange Celebrates Victory Before Elections

Unruly Militants Suspended From Party

Chief’s FCFA 300,000 Appeasement Offering Foments Trouble

Insults and catcalls rented the air; punches fell on presumed opponents and fisticuffs were exchanged, ballot boxes smashed and the result was broken jaws, swollen mouths, blackened eyes as supporters of Buea Mayor, Patrick Ekema Esunge stormed election grounds for the reorganisation of the basic organs of the ruling CPDM party.

In the broad day light of November 16, the once stately Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement, CPDM, party, reared its head in Buea, Southwest Region, not in radiance or dominion, but in self-afflicted fury.

On its head did float and flow words of pettiness engraved on placards: “Nkuete, we want Ekema list!; Ojongmpot, we want Ekema list!; Konchou, we want Ekema!, Konchoumpot (combined Konchou and Ojongmpot), we want Ekema list!.”

A group of people wanted incumbent Mayor of Buea Council, Patrick Ekema Esunge, on the list of candidates for the post of Section President in the ongoing CPDM reorganisation. And yet, Ekema’s list had been rejected.

The prickly songs rushed out of the mouths of Mayor’s followers: “CPDM, CPDM we say no to the registration without the list of our choice! No to any election tomorrow in Fako III CPDM Section, if our choice and list is not registered in Buea!” and “No CPDM in Buea without Ekema!” as the demonstrated on the eve of the elections. And true to their promises, they descended on polling stations the following day, wrecking havoc on ballot boxes in Bakweri Town, Wonyamongo, Bokova, Bonduma Gate and so on.

First, the disappointed militants had marched from the Bongo Square to the DO’s Office where police and gendarmes advised them to proceed no further.

The rejection of Mayor Ekema’s list threw Fako III Section into a chain of unpleasant events ranging from Comfort Ojongmpot, 4th Deputy Mayor; and Emmanuel Konchou, head of the Sub-divisional Committee for the reorganisation exercise, branded as Judas Iscariots; Mafany Namange celebrating victory before elections, unruly militants suspended from the party, trouble brewing out of FCFA 300,000 meant to appease militants, and the Mayor reportedly spending millions on party cards. So, has the CPDM been caught in its own trap?

Stunned

Konchou might have scratched the match head that scorched Ekema and his disciples when he published the lists of candidates vying for various positions in the Section, minus the Mayor’s list.

The announcement drove the Mayor’s followers to Independence Square, otherwise known as Bongo Square, condemning what they termed a calculated attempt by some party hierarchy to frustrate the political ambitions of Ekema.

According to the Secretary General at the Buea Council, Joseph Ewome Njie, the militants were not rioting, but carrying out a peaceful protest for what they considered an unconstitutional act, which is not enshrined in the statutes of the CPDM.

To him, the CPDM is the architect of democracy in Cameroon, but it is unfortunate that some gullible party officials are stifling democracy from blossoming even within the party.

“Two people made known their intensions to run for the Fako III Section Presidency, but only one list was validated. We want to know why. We are in a democratic State and a State of law, which even President Paul Biya has given the people the right to choose their leaders through peaceful elections.

So, why are some officials bent on denying the people the right to choose their leaders? We have evidence that the two presidential aspirants duly registered for the elections, but the list of the other person cannot be found. So, we think that there is a well calculated attempt to eliminate some candidates. We thought that the commission was out to provide a level playing field for all, so that the people could decide who they want as their leader. It is a shame,” Ewome Njie told The Post.

Another irate militant, Susan Nan Mbua, retorted: “We cannot be preaching democracy and practicing autocracy. I am an old militant of this party and, since its creation; I have never seen such an act.”
As Ekema’s followers kept on barking at the moon, so to say, his political opponent, Mafany Namange, and his own adherents were celebrating in a large convoy, hooting and tooting as they drove around town.

Hooliganism At Polling Stations

What started as a protest demonstration on Monday, November 16, became warlike the next day with excited opponents apparently associated to Mayor Ekema’s camp, exhibiting actions akin to hooliganism. In their attempt to ruin the preliminary Section elections, the “thugs”, in a mildly amusing way,went about destroying ballot boxes at Bonduma Gate (where Ekema’s candidate was defeated).

This did not deter Mafany’s fans. The ballot box was quickly replaced and voting was conducted.
“Ekema is not popular again in Bonduma here. We don’t want him,” said a militant who elected not to be named.

The tugs then proceeded to disrupt, momentarily, elections at the Public Cemetery quarter (Burying Ground) in Great Soppo, Bokova, Bakweri Town and Wonyamongo, among others. At all these places, the thugs smashed ballot boxes.

At the Bokova-Bonakanda Subsection, a certain Emmanuel Eleve Sako, who is also a Councillor in Buea, raided the polling station and destroyed ballot boxes, threatening that heads would roll, if the list of his preferred candidate was not reinstated.

After committing his act, Sako vanished into thin air when he saw a police car approaching the polling station.


The Late List

As the tongues of Ekema’s sympathisers wagged, accusing 4th Deputy, Ojongmpot; the Vice-President of the Sub-divisional Re-orgaisation Commission of the exercise and Konchou of being traitors, Ojongmpot dismissed the accusation.

According to Ojongmpot, the Divisional Committee had set November 9 as the latest day for the submission of all lists by those vying for various positions within the basic organs of the party.

“Before the deadline, I contacted the Mayor that we had received several lists from aspirants, but his list was not among them. The Mayor said he was strictly following the party’s prescriptions and that he was going to submit his list in due time.

It was only on November 14 that the Mayor called me when I was in Bwassa training polling agents, that we should meet. We met at a Barrister’s Chambers in Buea.

I was with Dr. Ngongi and the Mayor handed over his list to me. I collected the list and forwarded it to the Divisional Committee, which has the mandate either to accept the list or reject it. The Mayor submitted his list late,” Ojongmpot stated.

Troublesome FCFA 300,000

To douse the tension among the rioting militants, Chief Johnson Njoke Njombe of Wokaka handed over FCFA 300,000 to militants, advising them to look for a drinking spot and chill their tempers, while waiting for a lasting solution to be sought. Instead of tempers chilling, the slush money seemed only to fuel the tempers.

Reports say, following the chaos that developed during the reorganisation exercise in Buea, the party hierarchy has suspended some unruly militants, amongst them; Barrister John Kameni, Chiefs Johnson Njoke Njombe, Njie Mandenge and John Efande Lyonga, who is also the 2nd Deputy Mayor of Buea.
The aforementioned militants are close aides of the Mayor.

Most of the sympathisers of the Mayor are further angered by the fact that the party showed no mercy on the Mayor after having spent circa FCFA 30 million for the acquisition of party cards.

Vote of No-Confidence, Jail Terms Looms Over Mayor?

According to one of the Councillors at the Buea Council who asked not to be named, after soiling the image of the party in Buea barely two years in his mandate, workers of the Council are plotting to slam a vote of no-confidence on the Mayor, while elites of Fako Division are romoured to be strategising to have the Mayor jailed.

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