Senatorial Elections 2023: Armed conflict limits campaign to Bamenda

By Bakah Derick 

After launching campaigns at the regional level in Bamenda, Senatorial Candidates in the Northwest Region have practically gone underground with no sign of engaging in divisional and subdivisional campaigns as is the case in other areas of the country. 
The Cameroon's People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) launched their campaigns in the Bamenda congress hall on Saturday 25 February 2023. Since the launch, the aspiring senators have ramined in popular hotels in town. Sources close to the party suggest that contacts with the different councilors who constitute the electorate is being made via the mayors who are the ones frequently seen in some of the hotels. 

"We cannot bring the councilors here. As you know they are far and with the conflict we cannot risk their lives by asking them to come here. We are talking to them from a distance and we are sure they will vote for us." An aspiring Senator said 
During the launch of campaigns, the leader of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) Vanigansen Mochiggle who is also outgoing Senate Vice President admitted that the crisis has been a major obstacle in the discharge of their duties. Corroborating, Hon Kinyang Nyang Georges from Bui admitted that in the last five years, he has not been home and was not prepared to go there for fear of his life. Though in serious need of contacts with councilors, the SDF senatorial team has no plan of moving out of the regional headquarters in search for votes. According to Senator Ajuoh Ngam Honore, they are counting on the media to reach their electorate. He rejected our remark that many of them will "disappear' to Yaoundé after the campaign launch indicating that they will only return to the nation's capital for the opening of the parliamentary session. 
For over six years, accessing divisional headquarters away from Bamenda require extra courage and efforts; a challenge many of the politicians are not ready for. For Senators, their fears are further exacerbated by the murder of their colleague Senator Barrister Henry Gamsey Kemende in January 2022 in Bamenda. 

Local administrators access divisional headquarters through bulletproof vehicles or helicopters. Attacks on administrative and military convoys have been repeatedly reported in the region. 

Senatorial Election campaigns took place in the Northwest Region in 2018 under very similar conditions. Those fighting for the creation of a new country including the region ordered a ghost town in show of discontent with the activity. The city was generally locked on voting day though traditional voting days are always marked by partial resumption of economic activities with largely restricted movements. 

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