Tuesday July 21, 2015, marked a turning point in the leadership of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) following the appointment of a new Director General of Elections (DGE) by a Presidential decree. According to the decree signed by the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, Abdoulaye Babale who before July 21, 2015, was one of the ELECAM’s Electoral Board members replaces Mohaman Sani Tanimou, for a 5-year tenure of office.
The atmosphere at ELECAM Head office in the Bastos neighbourhood in Yaounde, yesterday July 22, 2015 was unperturbed as the staff went about their normal duties though in a marooned manner. A senior staff, who refused to be named, posited that work goes on normally at the head office of the independent structure charged with the organisation, management and supervision of elections and referendums in Cameroon. Our source said as at yesterday, they had not received any instruction from either the incoming DGE or the former boss but work continues given that ELECAM still has enormous challenges to get new voters registered on the electoral list before the August 31 deadline.
On how the appointment was greeted at ELECAM’s Head office, nobody was willing to comment on grounds that it was the decision of the President of the Republic. In some of the offices visited by this reporter at the ELECAM head office, the staff was seen reading Cameroon Tribune that carried the appointment decree while others were also overheard commenting among themselves on the appointment. As at press time, it was not certain when the new Director General of Elections would assume office. Our anonymous source said they do not know the procedure since the out-going DGE was the pioneer whose mandate was extended. In effect, Mohaman Sani Tanimou held the position since 2008.
Meanwhile, a separate Presidential decree also signed on July 21, 2015, extended the mandate of some six members of ELECAM, namely Bishop Watio Dieudonneacute;, Tsanga Delphine, Titi Nwel Pierre, Tiku Tambe Christopher, Nsangou Issofa and Mohamadou Boubakar for another four years. Speaking to Cameroon Tribune on telephone, Mr Tiku Tambe Christopher noted that things will never be the same again at ELECAM following what he described as the “best decree” of the President appointing a man of high integrity who cannot afford to undermine the Board. The Board, he added, also has a responsibility to help him succeed.