Presidentials: Fomunyoh Evasive On His Candidature
Says Cameroonians should hope, register and ensure free and fair elections or become defeatists.
April 13, 2004

By Hoves Loh, Cameroon Tribune

Many who rushed for last Thursday's press conference in Bamenda by Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Africa regional director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) were anxious to hear him set records straight on his speculated candidacy for Cameroon's Presidential elections next October. This was in the backdrop of recent press reports on controversies surrounding his choice by the coalition of the nation's opposition political parties. Comewhatmay, 48-year-old, Dr Fomunyoh of Northwest extraction left many suspended on the issue. In all, he emerged as a good speaker who masters democratic trends in Africa and wished Cameroonians to get the best out of the 2004 presidentials. "I am not around with any public agenda for the presidentials. Nothing about my mission here was done with any such calculations. I have not thought of becoming part of the opposition coalition. However, as a son of the soil, I don't need groundwork because I have always made contributions to the democratization process in Cameroon. To get involved in partisan politics I will have to take off my NDI card. For now I continue to contribute to the democratization process in Africa and hope that Cameroon will become the flag bearer of democracy."

About the possibility of free, fair and transparent elections in the country, Dr Christopher Fomunyoh was categoric, "Cameroonians have no choice but believing that it can happen." He told pressmen that it was necessary to look at possibilities even as he acknowledged obstacles. On registration apathy ahead of the elections, he was concerned with government's encouragement of citizens to register and expressed need for political parties to take their responsibilities and cause greater registration and enthusiasm by militants else they become defeatists. Dr Fomunyoh is a believer in the fact that citizen participation in elections is a vital element of democracy.

The NDI staff acknowledged that it would not be easy convincing his organization to monitor the presidential elections especially as NDI's recommendations after the 1992 presidential polls in the country were ignored. He expressed the need for Cameroon to keep their sons and daughters in the diaspora interested and involve in the political system.

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh also believes in a "serious anglophone problem" in Cameroon and is on public record that it needs to be dealt with .He also hopes that the problem has to do with improving the welfare of the people and not fragilise them and thinks that it is all about the need for a level ground or an open system where all can compete for victories. Dr Fomunyoh believes in elections as the sole way to confer legitimacy, as an _expression of human rights and that elections are an invaluable tool to avoid conflict or vital in conflict resolution. And, on the elements of democracy he says the political will of leaders is necessary and a consensus on the rules of the game.

© Cameroon Tribune