Cameroonians set for senatorial elections on March 12, 2023

Cameroon is at the tail end of campaigns for the country’s Senatorial election. The campaigns will run till midnight of March 11 just before Election-Day, on March 12. The Cameroon Senate, or the Upper House of Parliament, has 100 seats, but the election will be held for 70 seats as 30 senators will be appointed by President Paul Biya. Biya has been in power since June 30, 1975, and is the second longest serving President in Africa after Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.

According to the country’s electoral management body, Elections Cameroon (Elecam), a total of 13 political parties, including the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), are contesting in the elections. CPDM, which boasts the highest number of seats in the Senate, will be looking to continue entrenching its dominance.  

The expenses for running for Senate start with a compulsory expense of candidates depositing one million CFA francs ($1,600) an amount that is often a major blockage for some political parties which are lack access to political finance sources. However, the ruling CPDM party has no problems at all with accessing political finance.

The party boasts of the best quality candidates, and most of them come from the business class. It goes without saying, therefore, that supporting the ruling party is critical for business success in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s Electoral Code (Article 284), enjoins the state to participate in the financing of electoral and referendum campaigns. This involves covering certain expenses of political parties or candidates. Political parties represented in the Senate are entitled to public funding using the formular of numerical strength. The funds are often delayed making it difficult for political parties in opposition to function optimally.

But the government is reluctant to comply with this provision for obvious reasons. No incumbent party that has been in power for decades would be comfortable with a strong opposition. Political parties cannot function without money.


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