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Cameroon bishops urge massive participation in ongoing biometric voter registration

Categories Biometrics News  |  Elections  |  ID for All
Cameroon bishops urge massive participation in ongoing biometric voter registration

Catholic bishops under the banner of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) have launched a fervent appeal to all Cameroonians of voting age to show up for a nationwide biometric voter registration exercise currently unfolding in the country.

The prelates made the call in a statement issued last weekend at the end of their weeklong conclave in Yaounde.

Speaking for them, the President of NECC and Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Bamenda, His Grace Andrew Nkea, said the bishops are inviting Cameroonians of 20 years and older to register massively, and in good time, on the electoral register, in order to fulfil their civic duty during the forthcoming elections.

Speaking further on the issue in an interview he granted to state broadcaster CRTV, Nkea stated: “The Justice and Peace Commission of the NECC has identified three key areas where emphasis must be laid on as far as the upcoming elections are concerned. The first is to sensitize Cameroonians on the importance of massively registering and voting during the general elections.”

For a country estimated at 30 million citizens, Cameroon still suffers from a high level of voter apathy given that many young people are disinterested in registering to vote. They say the system in place is corrupt and does not allow their votes to count.

It remains to be seen how positively Cameroonians will respond to the bishops’ call but analysts see it as a strategic and timely one given the influence they wield in the country.

The call adds up to other efforts led by some stakeholders in Cameroon’s electoral process aimed at ensuring that more citizens register to vote. In the past few weeks, some civil society advocates and leaders of political parties have been vocal on traditional and social media platforms about the need for Cameroonians to register to vote in order to engender the change they want to see.

The elections management agency (ELECAM) has since the start of this year been deploying mobile teams in public places to enroll citizens who have attained voting age. As of March 31, the agency said it had registered 144, 817 new potential voters since the biometric voter registration process was launched on January 4.

ELECAM has set a target to take the total number of potential voters on the voter’s roll to more than 7.5 million by the end of the current voter registration cycle on August 31.

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