The biometric voter registration drive for 2024 in Cameroon has gone underway, with officials of the elections managing agency (ELECAM) hoping to take the voter registration figure to 7.5 million in total. The body says it registered 368, 119 new potential voters in 2023.
This is the last full-cycle voter registration exercise before the central African nation holds general elections constitutionally scheduled for 2025. In principle, the country is set to have four elections next year. They are Municipal Council, National Assembly, Presidential and Regional Council polls.
Cameroon’s electoral law, in Section 74, states that voter registration shall be an annual exercise which runs from January 1 to August 31 very year. In an election year, the exercise cannot run full-length as it automatically ends whenever the President of the Republic convenes the electorate for a given election.
In 2025, the electorates of National Assembly and Municipal Council elections are expected to be called way before August, meaning the voter registration exercise will end before the traditional August 31 deadline.
“I know this is the last year that we have up to eight months to enroll our names on the voter’s register. I don’t like last-minute rushes. So, I just decided to enrollment my name on the register now,” said Joel Mvogo, a young Cameroonian who was registered by a mobile team from ELECAM on January 4. That day, the 2024 voter registration exercise was officially launched by the Director General of Elections at ELECAM, Dr Erik Essousse, who led a caravan to various public squares in the capital Yaounde to enroll new voters.
In an interview after launching the exercise, Essousse said like in 2023, their ambition this year is to enroll more women, young people who have attained voting age, as well as persons living with disabilities.
While expressing optimism that their target will be reached because of the level of mobilisation of ELECAM staff, he urged other stakeholders in the electoral process such as civil society organisations, leaders of political parties and the mass media to support ELECAM in its drive.
“We want to swell up the voter’s list by registering people who have just reached the age of voting which is 20. Like in the past, we expect the media to accompany us by encouraging all young Cameroonians who have reached voting age to show up and register,” said Essousse.
“With over 7 million people already in our registry, our objective this year is to hit the 7.5 million threshold, and why not even surpass it,” he added.
As part of the launch, enrollment teams were dispatched to all the seven districts of Yaounde. Makeshift registration booths were set up at various locations in the city as citizens desirous of enlisting their names on the voter’s registry, had the chance to do so.
In other administrative regions of the country, the exercise has also gone underway with ELECAM regional delegates promising to increase the registration figures in their respective jurisdictions.
One major issue hindering massive voter registration in Cameroon has been the lack of ID cards.
ELECAM’s Chairman, Abrams Enow Egbe, in 2022, expressed the wish to have ID cards issuance accelerated so that many citizens will be able to register and voter in the upcoming general elections.
Source: Biometrics Update